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).
|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|| |