UEFA Champions League & Europa League Betting Offers and Free Bets 2018
The richest and most prestigious club football tournament in the world attracts billions of pound in revenue with individual teams able to earn well over £30 million each year from the competition. This means some of the best odds and highest value betting promotions can be found for Champions League and Euorpa League matches.
We have selected the top Champions / Europa League offers from the UK’s top bookies to save you having to trawl the best prices and deals. On this page you can find descriptions of the very latest and long term regular European Cup offers throughout the year. We also list information about the Champions League format, European Cup history, previous winners, stats and more.
The offers below can be claimed by all customers, visit our home page if you would like to see a list of match specific enhanced odds price boosts for new customers. For a list of standard sign up free bets and bonuses click here.
Latest Champions / Europa League Promotions
2017/18 Schedule and Fixtures
2018 Champions League Final
|? v ?||Saturday 26th May||Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex (Kiev)|
Champions League Format
After a lot of initial chopping and changing the Champions League qualification format has remained unchanged since 2008. Teams either qualify directly or enter into pre-knock-out rounds for a place in the final 32.
Automatic qualification is dependent on the UEFA coefficient ranking of that countries league combined with league position. The league winners of the top 12 ranked European Leagues qualify directly. The runners up from the top 6 ranked league and the third placed teams from the top three leagues also qualify directly, this makes 21 of the 32 teams.
The third placed teams from the 4th and 5th highest UEFA ranked leagues enter the play off (also known as the 4th qualifying round) along with the 4th placed teams from the top three leagues. The remaining placed enter the 3rd Qualifying round, this includes the champions of leagues ranked 13-15th, runners up of leagues ranked 7-15th and the third place team of the 6th highest league.
Qualification takes place in two steams. The Champions stream is a knock out between the league winners of the 16th to 54th UEFA ranked league, these enter between the 1st round to the third round bases on rankings. From the ten teams left in the play off’s five will directly progress to the final 32.
The non-champions stream contains the rest, i.e. the runners up, third and fourth placed teams, that do not directly qualify. Teams again enter a t different stages dependent on league ranking. The 5 remaining teams after the play off’s join the 5 teams from the champions stream in the final 32. This makes 31 teams, the final place is given to the winner of the previous years Champions League. The previous winner of the Europa League joins the non-champions qualification stream at the play off stage.
2018 / 2019 Qualification Changes
Prior to the start of the 2016/17 campaign it was announced the Champions League qualification format will change for the 2018/19 season. This will now see the top four teams for Germany, England, Spain and Italy automatically qualify for the group stages with no play offs.
This will no doubt make it harder to qualify for teams not from the top four leagues in favour of more historically recognised teams. This will also be coupled with a further dramatic increase in prize money.
I’m sure UEFA would say this is designed to increase the quality of the competition but in actuality it all comes down to cash. UEFA know they can sell TV rights for more money if Man United are playing instead of FC Rostov. This move is also designed to temper the idea of a new European Super League that would directly compete with the Champions League.
There is talk that the Champions League group stages may soon change to two groups of 16 but for now the final 32 are still split into 8 groups of 4.
Teams are divided into four pots based on their own UEFA coefficient sores and each group has one team drawn from each pot. At this stage there is a protection to prevent teams from the same country being drawn together.
Clubs play home and away ties with three points for a win and one for a draw. After 6 matches the top two teams progress to the knock-out stages, the third placed team is parachuted into the final 32 of the Europa League and the fourth place team is eliminated. If teams are tied in points it goes to goal difference and then to results against.
The group stages take place between September and December, there is then a break until February until the knock-out stages commence, this matches the winter break taken in many European countries.
At the final 16 stage the country protection remains in place, meaning teams form the same league are not drawn together. Teams play two legs, home and away, with the overall winner on aggregate going through. Away goals count, this means if a match is drawn over two legs the team with the most goals away from home will go through. If teams are equal on away goals the tie will progress to extra time and penalties.
Both the quarter and semi-finals follow the same format although at this stage the draw is completely random as any country protection is removed.
The final takes place in mid-May each year at a venue chose prior to the start of the season. This is intended to be a neutral venue although in several instances in the past a finalist has ended up playing at their home stadium.
|1991||Red Star BVelgrade||Bari|
Most Successful European Cup Teams
|Real Madrid||12||2016-17, 2014, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1966, 1956-1960|
|AC Milan||7||2007, 2003, 1994, 1990, 1989, 1969, 1963|
|Bayern Munich||5||2013, 2001, 1974-1976|
|Barcelona||5||2015, 2011, 2009, 2006, 1992|
|Liverpool||5||2005, 1984, 1981, 1977, 1978|
|Ajax||4||1995, 1973, 1972, 1971|
|Inter Milan||3||2010, 1965, 1964|
|Manchester United||3||2008, 1999, 1968|
|Nottingham Forest||2||1980, 1979|
|Red Star Belgrade||1||1991|
Most Successful British Teams
|Team||European Cups||2nd Place||Played / Won||% Wins|
|Liverpool||5||2||181 / 102||56.35%|
|Manchester united||3||2||261 / 145||55.56%|
|Nottingham Forest||2||5||20 / 12||60%|
|Chelsea||1||1||144 / 73||50.70%|
|Aston Villa||1||0||15 / 9||60%|
|Leeds United||0||1||39 / 21||53.84%|
|Arsenal||0||1||199 / 101||50.75%|
History of the European Cup / Champions League
In similar fashion to the European Championships the creation of a Europe wide club competition was largely delayed for political reasons brought about by the second world war. By the mid 1950’s most other continents had a national club competition and as with the origin of the Euros it was the French that pushed through a European Club Cup.
Smaller tournaments existed both before and after WWII but these were restricted, such as the Challenge Cup between teams in the Austro-Hungarian empire and the Latin Cup in which Mediterranean clubs competed.
After a visiting the South American Championship of Champions two journalists at the French publication L’Equipe championed the creation of a similar tournament in Europe. This eventually culminated in the creation of the European Champions of Clubs’ Cup in 1995.
Initially 16 clubs competed in a knock-out cup. The first European Cup saw Scottish champions Hibernian compete but at this time the English FA banned the English champions Chelsea from entering. The first final was held in Paris in 1955 and was won 4-3 by Real Madrid.
The following year in 1956 Manchester United decide to enter the Cup against the advice of the FA. This did nothing to dent the dominance of Real Madrid who won consecutive titles in 1956. In 1957 on of the biggest ever strategies in football occurred to the Manchester United squad. Flying back victorious from a semi-final against Red Star Belgrade the club plane crashed during a fuel layover in Munich, the resulting fire killed 23/44 on board including many of the ‘Busby Babes’. It took Manchester United over ten years to recover from the disaster.
Real Madrid continued to dominate in the early days winning all of the first five European Cups to 1960. Benfica then won two consecutive titles before AC Milan won in 1963 followed by Inter Milan in 1964 and 1965 and Real Madrid again in 1966.
1967 saw the first ever British Champions in Celtic that started a 15 year spell of British success in the European Cup. Manchester United won the cup in 1968 ten years after the Munich disaster. This was followed period of Dutch success in the early 1970’s that included Celtic beaten by Feyenoord in the 1970 final before Ajax won three European Cups on the bounce between 1971-1973. It was Bayern Munich’s turn next as they won the cup three years back to back from 1974-76.
The most successful manager in European Cup history, Bob Paisley, lead the most successful British club in Europe, Liverpool, to their first title in 1977 beating Borussia Monchengladbach in Rome 3-1. Liverpool won the title back to back beating Real Madrid 1-0 at Wembley in 1978 before Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest became the only team to win the European Cup more times than their own domestic league winning back to back in 1970 (Vs Malmo) and 1980 (Vs Hamburg).
Liverpool took the crown back in 1981 beating Real Madrid 1-0 in Paris before Aston Villa got in on the act winning their first an only title in 1982. Hamburg won in 1983 before Liverpool grabbed their fourth crown with a 1-0 victory over Roma at their home stadium in Rome.
The Heysel disaster in 1985 saw British clubs banned from Europe for 5 years. Disruption in the Liverpool section of the stadium in the final against Juventus led to a wall collapsing killing 39 mainly Italians. The match carried on but Liverpool lost 1-0 on the night.
The vacuum left by the absence of English teams meant no one dominated with 6 clubs winning the following 7 titles up to 1992.
The Champions League
In 1993 the old European Cup was changed to the Champions League. The money and prestige that went with this has helped to make the competition one of the most watched and most valuable in the world.
Marseille won the first and only title for a French team in 1993. They were banned the following year and stripped of their Ligue 1 title following match fixing allegations against their chairman, Bernard Tapie.
AC Milan won in 1994 followed by Ajax in 1995, Juventus in 1996 and Borrusia Dortmund in 1997. In 1998 Real Madrid won their 7th title after a 32 year gap. This was also the first year that non-champions were allowed entry to the competition.
Manchester United won their second title in 1998 beating Bayern Munich 2-1 with two injury time goals. They were the first team to win the cup having not been Champions of their own league, they also still hold the record for winning the cup with the fewest victories, five.
Real Madrid began a new era of dominance winning in 2000 and 2002, Bayern won in 2001, Milan got their 6th crown in 2003 and Porto were victors in 2004. Liverpool won their 5th European Cup in 2005 beating AC Milan on penalties in Istanbul following a 3-3 draw. This is cited as the most exciting ever European final with underdogs Liverpool down and out 3-0 down at half time, they scored 3 goals in 7 minutes during the second period and went on to win the shoot-out.
The last ten years or so have been dominated by Italy, Spain and England. Barcelona have emerged as the new dominant force winning in 2006 (Vs Arsenal), 2009 (Vs Juventus), 2011 (Vs Manchester United) and 2015 (Vs Juventus). Real Madrid not to be outdone claimed ‘La Decima’ winning the European Cup for the 10th time in 2014 beating rivals Atletico in the final.
AC Milan got revenge on Liverpool beating them in the 2007 final and Bayern Munich became the only German team to win since 2001 by beating rivals Borrusia Dortmund in the 2013 final at Wembley.
Real Madrid Dominate Again
The 2016 final was held at the San Siro in Milan in a repeat of the 2014 final between local rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Madrid took the game on penalties to win the trophy for an amazing 11th time leaving Atletico heart broken yet again. The 2017 final was played at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff but it was Real Madrid, and Ronaldo in particular, who dominated yet again, beating Juventus to win their second title in a row, and 12th in total.
The 2018 Champions League final will be played in the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, Kiev Ukraine. With no less than 5 English teams in it this time (Man United qualifying as 2016/17 Europa League winners) plus Celtic, there has never been a better chance for a UK team to take back the world’s biggest club football trophy.