The Greatest Finals Of The Champions League Era

The Greatest Finals Of The Champions League Era

The Champions League has long been heralded as the epitome of European football and is possibly the greatest competition the planet has to offer. No other tournment has seen such epic finals, with many games going down to the wire.

Keen fans and punters alike revel in the closeness of a great final and just like the best online bonuses like the ones that you can find here, picking a winner could have you reaping the rewards. From all those great games, we’ve counted down three of the best finals the Champions League has ever created to help relive some great memories. 

2014: Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid

Derbies are some of the best games of football you will ever see, and to have one in a final like this was a one-in-a-million game for Madrid fans.

In front of over 60,000 fans at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, the game was extremely tight and saw Atletico take the lead with a 38th-minute header from Diego Godin.

It looked like that was going to be enough to seal the deal right up until the 93rd minute when Ramos headed home the equaliser to take the game into extra time.

The closeness of this derby proved just what a dominant city Madrid was when it came to football, but this was where the fairy tale ended for Atletico fans was.

Not only did the game not need to go to penalties but Real showed their might in a three-goal blitz from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo that saw them win the League in a truly inspiring comeback that was left to the last minute.

One of the great derbies in football, the greatest last-minute comebacks, and the top three finals of Champions League history.

1999: Manchester United v Bayern Munich

In a game where you just felt like the football gods were rooting for the Red Devils, this final will never be seen as 90-plus minutes of great football — far from it in fact. But the final few minutes were something of pure legend.

As Bayern took the lead in the opening minutes, United seemed to visibly slump as they were bullied, outclassed and outplayed for the next 80 minutes.

The game should have been over many times as Bayern continued to dominate but were continually denied by the post and crossbar. They do say that some football games are decided by inches.

Finally, in the first minute of extra time, Man United remembered they were in a European final and Teddy Sheringham sparked a truly inspiring comeback with an equaliser.

The tides turned, the gods had their way and Ole Gunnar Solskjær sealed the deal two minutes later to hand United their famous treble — the first by an English team.

2005 AC Milan v Liverpool

The Miracle of Istanbul could go down as the greatest final of any sport let alone in European football. Milan were heavy favourites after downing PSV Eindhoven 5-1 on aggregate, the Reds managing just one goal against Chelsea. And being down by three at halftime only cemented their position after a breathtaking example of dominance by Milan.

Paulo Maldini struck in the very first minute to rattle the Red’s defensive before a brace from Hernan Crespo in the 39th and 44th minute seemed to put it all out of Liverpool’s grasp. What that halftime team talk comprised of must have been something special, because a different team emerged for the second half.

Steven Gerard led by example and pulled one back for the Reds in the 54th minute, and he kicked off an incredible six minutes of Liverpool history.

Vladimir Smicer made it 3-2 just a couple of minutes later and the game was on. Alonso netted the equaliser in the 60th minute to have the 70,000-capacity stadium on its feet. The last 30 minutes was scoreless, as was extra time so penalties decided the 2005 final.

Both teams had plenty of experience winning titles on penalties but as Liverpool’s Jerzy Dudek saved Andriy Shevchenko’s shot, the Reds took it out 3-2 and the Miracle of Istanbul was born.