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Opinion

Would Wembley be the best stadium to produce a UCL thriller?

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Roar Rookie
10th May, 2021
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While UEFA ponders shifting the 2020-21 Champions League final to the historical Wembley Stadium because of the UK government’s travel restrictions on current host Turkey as it battles with COVID-19, let’s take a look back at the seven times Wembley has played host for the most-awaited club fixture.

The marvellous stadium has hosted the most finals of the biggest championship in club football.

7. Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Bayern Munich (2013)
This was the only all-German final in UEFA Champions League history, giving rise to the term Der Klassiker, or German Clasico. The Bavarians bested their league rivals in a dramatic encounter. Having fluffed his lines on a number of occasions, Arjen Robben finally found the back of the in the 89th minute, all but sealing victory for Bayern Munich. As if to pour salt onto the wounds of their rivals, Bayern went on to win their first-ever treble a week later and have since then established a monopoly over the Bundesliga.

6. Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United (2011)
This is definitely one of the most memorable Champions League finals ever witnessed. From Pep Guardiola beating Sir Alex Ferguson, Lionel Messi solidifying his status as the best player to grace the football pitch with a performance worthy of man of the match and David Villa putting in his best shift as a Barcelona player to Eric Abidal lifting the trophy after battling cancer, it was an unforgettable night in Catalonia.

5. Barcelona 1-0 Sampdoria (1992)
The old Wembley was just as kind to Barcelona as the new one. With Johan Cruyff at the helm the Barcelona dream team bought home their first-ever European Cup – the last edition of the European Cup before the format was changed – courtesy of a Ronald Koeman goal in the 111th minute. The Blaugrana became the first Spanish side to lift the cup since Los Blancos’ last triumph in 1966.

4. Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge (1978)
Club Brugge became the first Belgian team to reach the final of the European Cup and was hoping to lift the trophy for the first time, but Liverpool had other plans. The reigning champions stepped on the field with the motive of defending their crown, and they did so successfully. Kenny Dalglish scored the only goal of the match from a Graeme Souness pass, which was enough to make Liverpool the first British team to retain the trophy.

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3. Ajax 2-0 Panathinaikos (1971)
The Dutch giants were appearing in their second European Cup final. Having lost the 1969 Final 4-1 to AC Milan, the team was determined to not let this opportunity for silverware slip from their hands. Ajax took the lead in the fifth minute when Dick van Dijk struck the back of the net. At the end of 90 minutes the scoreline read 2-0 in favour of Ajax. It was a comfortable victory over the Greek side and an historic night for Dutch Football.

2. Manchester United 4-1 Benfica (1968)
Ten years after the Munich air disaster that shook the whole world, the Red Devils were hungry for the title that would mark the culmination of their years of rebuilding. After a 90-minute close encounter Manchester United scored three goals in seven minutes – the scorers were George Best, Brian Kidd and Bobby Charlton – in extra time to complete the 4-1 thumping of Benfica to become the first-ever English club to win the European Cup.

1. Benfica 1-2 AC Milan (1963)
Benfica had been running riot in the European Cup. They were making their third consecutive final appearance, having won the 1961 and 1962 editions. Their top striker, the legendary Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, was in red-hot form. Much to the disappointment of Benfica fans, his opening strike was not enough to keep AC Milan from taking home the coveted prize for the first time in their history thanks to a brace from Jose Altafini, which completed the Italian giant’s comeback in the final.

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