At the beginning of the 1992-93 season the European Cup was rebranded as the Champions League, giving us a sample size of 19 Champions League finals to use in our analysis. In that period there have been two German champions and three English. Will Bayern Munich make it a level game? Or can Chelsea record their first ever European triumph?
The natural assumption for a cup final of such magnitude is that it will be a tight and nervy affair. But the statistics don’t necessarily back up this idea.
There have been a total of 49 goals in the 19 Champions League finals, at an average of 2.58 goals per game. 10 of the 19 have produced three or more goals while nine have had two or fewer, suggesting that the 2.5 threshold is an accurate barometer. Over 2.5 can be backed at odds of 2.00 and Under 2.5 is 1.80.
The goals have also been extremely evenly split between the first and second 45 minutes of games. 25 first half goals and 24 second half goals have been scored in the 19 finals.
In that same period, only three matches have been goalless at half-time. Making the odds of 1.42 on there being more than 0.5 first-half goals particularly appealing and the 2.70 on more than 1.5 goals in the opening 45 minutes also tempting.
Bayern Munich will this weekend become the first team in Champions League history to play in the final at their home stadium. Roma were the last side to do so in the old European Cup: losing to Liverpool on penalties that night.
A number of teams have, however, played Champions League finals in their own countries. Manchester United lost at Wembley last year, but Borussia Dortmund won in Munich and Juventus triumphed in Rome previously.
It’s an admittedly small sample size but they do fall in favour of the ‘home’ team, who can on this occasion be backed at odds of 1.45 to lift the trophy.
Upon going through the statistics of the past 19 finals I was astonished to learn that there had not been a single extra time goal in any of the Champions League finals played since its renaming. The last extra-time goal came in the final tournament known as the European Cup when Ronald Koeman’s solitary strike was enough for Barcelona to beat Sampdoria.
Five of the last 19 finals have been level at the full-time whistle and on each occasion the match has been settled on penalties with neither side scoring in the extra 30 minutes played. Keep an eye on the In-Play markets and look to back the 0-0 scoreline if the game goes to extra-time.
Next Goal The Winner
Analysis of the 19 Champions League finals to date tells us that scoring the first goal is of paramount importance. Of the 18 teams to score the opening goal of the game – there is one goalless draw in our data – 14 have gone on to lift the trophy, with just four sides turning the tie on its head.
Chelsea are priced at odds of 2.55 to score the first goal this Saturday evening and Bayern Munich are a 1.48 shot to break the deadlock. It is 6.00 that The Blues score first and win the match in 90 minutes and 2.05 that The Bavarians do so.