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Champions League

The UEFA Champions League is an annual international inter-club football competition between Europe's most successful clubs, regarded as the most prestigious club trophy in the sport.

Originally known as the European Champion Clubs' Cup, the competition began in 1955/56 using a two-leg knockout format where the teams would play two matches, one at home and and one away, and the team with the highest overall score qualifying for the next round of the competition. Entry was restricted to the teams that won their national league championships.

The format and name were changed in 1992/93, and now the competition consists of three qualifying rounds, one stage of group competition (where teams play each other in the style of "home-and-away" or "regular season" competition), and then four rounds of knock-out finals. Qualification for the competition is decided by teams placing in their domestic league championships on a quota system, with countries with stronger domestic leagues allocated more teams. The current Champions League titleholder automatically qualifies for the group stage.

Clubs that play in stronger domestic leagues also enter at later stages of the competition. For example, the three strongest domestic leagues, as rated by UEFA, place their champions and runners-up directly into the group phase, and their third-and fourth-place teams enter at the third qualifying round (unless the club was promoted to the group phase by winning the previous year's Champions League).

Real Madrid CF has won this competition nine times. The next most successful teams are A.C. Milan (6 titles), Bayern Munich, Ajax and Liverpool (4 titles).

Formerly, the Cup Winners' Cup (between winners of the national cup competitions) was played, but national cup winners now play in the UEFA Cup (since 1999).

Champions League winners

Season Stadium Winner (total wins) Finalists Score Remarks
2003/04 Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen
2002/03 Old Trafford, Manchester AC Milan (6) Juventus 0-0 3-2 in penalty shootout
2001/02 Hampden Park, Glasgow Real Madrid (9) Bayer Leverkusen 2-1  
2000/01 San Siro, Milan Bayern Munich (4) Valencia 1-1 5-4 in penalty shootout
1999/00 Stade de France, Saint-Denis Real Madrid (8) Valencia 3-0  
1998/99 Camp Nou, Barcelona Manchester United (2) Bayern Munich 2-1 2 late goals by MUFC
1997/98 Amsterdam ArenA Real Madrid (7) Juventus 1-0  
1996/97 Munich Borussia Dortmund (1) Juventus 3-1  
1995/96 Rome Juventus (2) Ajax Amsterdam 1-1 4-2 in penalty shootout
1994/95 Vienna Ajax Amsterdam (4) A.C. Milan 1-0  
1993/94 Athens A.C. Milan (5) FC Barcelona 4-0  
1992/93 Munich Olympique Marseille (1) A.C. Milan 1-0  

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