Preview: UEFA Champions League Final

Nate Hornung

Written by: Nate Hornung

Last Updated:

Read Time: 6 minutes

The UEFA Champions League has finally come down to their final two teams who will go head to head on June 10th, 2023, in Istanbul, Turkey to crown a champion. We’ve got a preview of the UCL Final for you here, where we will talk all about the following:

  • UEFA Champions League Format
  • Past Champions & Records
  • 2023 UCL Final

Let’s break it down!

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UEFA Champions League Format

Qualifying Rounds

The UEFA Champions League is the most prestigious tournament in all of European football. It has more importance than just a league trophy, because this tournament is a competition of the best teams across all European football leagues.

The competition consists of several qualifying rounds for lower tier clubs to make it into the group stage. There is a preliminary round with four teams and the winner advancing to the first qualifying round.

The 1st qualifying round consists of 34 teams going head to head, with 17 winners advancing. The second qualifying round has 26 teams, split into the Champions Path (20 teams) and the League Path (6 teams). Once again, these are head to head matches, with the winners advancing to the third qualifying round.

The 3rd qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League has 20 teams, with 12 in the Champions Path and 8 in the League Path. Ten winners advance to the playoff round.

The Playoff round hosting 8 Champions Path teams and 4 League Path teams in head to head games. The winners advance and become part of the 32 teams qualifying for the UEFA Champions League Group Stage.

Group Stage

The Group Stage consists of 8 groups of 4 teams drawn randomly. Teams square off against the other three teams in their group, both at home and on the road, for a total of 6 group stage games per team.

These matches are spread out throughout the year, as they take place amongst regular league games and other in-season competitions.

After all the group stage games have been played, the 8 group winners, and 8 group runner-ups advance to the Knockout Stage.

Knockout Stage

The Knockout Stage of the UEFA Champions League consists of 16 teams who face off in 2 head to head matches, one home and one on the road. Each leg is part of a two game series that is decided on total aggregate score. The matchups are drawn randomly, much like the groups.

Once a winner is decided, whether it be on aggregate score, or via a tiebreaker, that teams advances to the next round. Now, this is bracket style play, but the bracket is not set.

This is because each round the matchups are drawn at random and not set beforehand. Teams do not know who they will play next round until they advance.

We have the Round of 16, the Quarterfinals, and then the Semifinals, and eventually, we get to the UEFA Champions League Final match.

UCL Final Match

The Final match of the UEFA Champions League is just one game on a pre-determined site. There is no aggregate score, or home and away leg, so teams are forced to bring their A-game to a winner-takes-all contest.

If no winner is decided after 90 minutes, teams play two 15 minute periods of Extra Time, with stoppage time added. The full 30 minutes plus stoppage time is played no matter what. There is no golden goal to finish it off. Teams have the full time of both extra time periods to try and take the lead.

If after both Extra Time periods there is still no winner, the game is then decided on Penalty Kicks.

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UCL Past Champions and Records

Club Records

The Champions League has been played every year since it’s beginning in 1955.

Here is a list of clubs with the most UCL Titles:

  • Real Madrid (14)
  • AC Milan (7)
  • Bayern Munich (6)
  • Liverpool (6)
  • Barcelona (5)

Real Madrid is clearly the most dominant UCL team of all time, and also the UCL Defending Champions. They have double as many titles as the 2nd most club. This speaks volumes to the rich history of the organization and the devoutness of the Front Office and Technical Staff to make it possible. Not to mention the players for their performance on the pitch.

With 14 Titles, Real Madrid also have appeared in a record 17 UCL Finals. The next closest are AC Milan and Bayern, both with 11 appearances.

Juventus leads all clubs with the most UCL Runner-Up finishes with 7. They also have two titles to go along with it.

Atlético Madrid unfortunately hold the record for most UCL Final appearances without a title. They have made the final three times, in 1974, 2014, and 2016, but have fallen short each time.

National Records

Broken down by country is another fun way to look at the UCL Champions. This gives us perspective on the most dominant leagues in Europe. Below is a list of the most UCL Titles by nation.

  • Spain (19)
  • England (14)
  • Italy (12)
  • Germany (8)
  • Netherlands (6)

Although Ligue 1 is considered one of the Top 5 European Football leagues, they do not appear on this list. In fact, France only has one UCL title, coming all the way back in 1993 by Marseille. The country’s most recent UCL Final appearances include Runner-Ups by Monaco in 2004, and Paris Saint-Germain in 2020.

The list changes slightly when just discussing UCL Final appearances.

  • Spain (30)
  • Italy (28)
  • England (25)
  • Germany (18)
  • Portugal (9)

Italy has the most Runner-Ups as a nation with 16. Next up are Spain and England both with 11, and then Germany with 10.

Belgium, Greece, and Sweden are the only countries to make a UCL Final but not win the Title. All of these countries only have 1 appearance each.

Now, it’s time to discuss the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final.

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2023 UEFA Champions League Final

The 2023 UCL Final is set to kick off on June 10th, in Istanbul, Turkey. After 32 teams entered Group Stage, we have finally made it down to our final two teams, and it should be an incredibly exciting final with some big name players.

We have one team from Italy looking to capture their 4th overall UCL Title. This is their 6th finals appearance overall, and their first since they won it in 2010.

On the other side, we have a team from England making just their 2nd UCL Final appearance but also their 2nd in just three years. Back in 2021, this team was beaten by Chelsea, but two years later they are back in the final and looking to bring home their club’s first UCL Championship.

Let’s get into it.

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Inter Milan vs Manchester City

Matchup Information

  • Venue & Location: Ataturk Olympic Stadium (Istanbul, Turkey)
  • Date: Saturday, June 10th, 2023
  • Kick Off: 3:00pm Eastern
  • Broadcast: CBS

Betting Odds

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Moneyline (90 Minutes)

  • Inter Milan +550
  • Draw +380
  • Manchester City -230

To Lift the Cup (Win in any manner)

  • Inter Milan +350
  • Manchester City -450

Total Goals

  • Over 2.5 (-140)
  • Under 2.5 (+114)

UCL Final Best Bets

Under 2.5 (+114) BetOnline

I understand why this line appears this way. Manchester City’s offense is stacked with big names. Erling Haaland is tearing up the EPL this year, Bernardo Silva had two goals in the 2nd leg of the semifinal against defending Champion, Real Madrid. Not to mention Kevin De Bruyne, who is without a doubt one of the elite midfielders playing today.

It’s no surprise that goals are to be expected.

However Inter Milan can hold their own on defense. They typically play a formation including wing-backs that get forward on the attack, but also help on the defensive side. When defending a team like Man City, Inter Milan will surely roll with 5 in the back like normal.

Historically, we have seen the past three UCL Finals result in 1-0 victories. Defense wins championships in this tournament. We’ve also had the past four title matches go under this 2.5 number.

I predict a 1-0 or 2-0 Man City victory. I think they are overall the much more talented squad, and I think Inter will struggle to find scoring chances against City’s back line.

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What is the UCL?
UCL stands for UEFA Champions League. This is the most prestigious annual tournament amongst the top European Football Clubs.
Is the UEFA Champions League played every year?
Yes, the UCL takes place every year throughout the team’s regular season schedule.
How do teams qualify for the UCL?
There are multiple ways to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. It is mostly based on a team’s performance in the previous year in their home nation’s league. Thirty-two teams qualify for the Group Stage, with 16 advancing to the Knock-Out Stage.