UEFA Champions League Summary 2021/22

Real Madrid clinched their 14th Champions League title on May 28th as they edged past Liverpool in Paris. Vinicius Junior’s goal was enough to separate the two sides, however, Los Blancos were indebted to Thibaut Courtois’ heroics, with the Belgian managing to thwart Jurgen Klopp’s men on multiple occasions.

Despite their illustrious history in the competition, Real Madrid did not start match as favourites with top football betting sites such as 10Bet and Fansbet heavily favouring the Reds ahead of kick-off. Although they are the most successful team in the history of this competition, Carlo Ancelotti’s side were also largely overlooked in the outright market at the start of the season with the likes of Manchester City and Bayern Munich being priced up as favourites by the majority of online bookmakers.

Real Madrid’s path to the final was far from straightforward with tournament favourites Manchester City, Chelsea and PSG having all been eliminated by the La Liga outfit. Their comeback victory over Pep Guardiola’s side was particularly eye-catching with Karim Benzema striking in extra time to secure their place in the showpiece event. Ancelotti’s men had been trailing for the majority of the contest, however, the introduction of Rodrygo completely turned the match on its head.

Liverpool enjoyed a far simpler path to Paris, with the Reds having seen off unexpected semi-finalists Villareal across two legs. They also ousted Italian giants Inter Milan and Benfica en-route to the final.

Despite being tipped for success at this year’s tournament by many pundits, Bayern Munich crashed out at the quarter final stage, whereas the quietly-fancied Atletico Madrid ended their involvement amid a bad tempered contest with Manchester City.

Biggest Surprises

The aforementioned Villareal produced a number of shocks throughout the 2021-22 Champions League with Unai Emery’s men edging past both Juventus and Bayern Munich. Although their passive first-leg performance against Liverpool was completely out of character, they did manage to give the Premier League side a few scares at El Madrigal.

Benfica were another side who weren’t expected to reach the last eight, however, the Portuguese outfit deservedly beat Ajax to book their place in the quarter finals.

Although they failed to reach the knock-out stage of the competition, minnows Sheriff Tiraspol were arguably the story of the group stage. They beat eventual champions Real Madrid at the Bernabeu and also took three points off Shakhtar Donetsk. They became the first Moldovan outfit to reach the group stage having beaten Red Star Belgrade and Dinamo Zagreb to book their place amongst Europe’s elite.

Top Players

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema ended the tournament as top goal-scorer ahead of Robert Lewandowski and Sebastian Haller. The latter produced the highest xG per 90 minutes with teammate Dusan Tadic producing the highest number of crosses (47). Benzema also fired in the most shots with Mo Salah, Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane also making the top five. RB Leipzig’s Andre Silva ended with the most shots per 90 minutes (4.64), however, he netted just three times for the Bundesliga outfit.

At the other end of the field, it’s no surprise to see that Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois made the most saves (56) and ended the competition with five clean sheets alongside Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy. Benfica’s Odisseas Vlachodimis also enjoyed a fantastic tournament and made 34 saves throughout the course of the competition.

Liverpool’s Fabinho’s made the most tackles (24), with teammate Virgil Van Dijk winning the most aerial duels. Real Madrid duo Dani Carvajal and Eder Militao made the most blocks and interceptions respectively whereas Villareal’s Raul Albiol completed the most clearances (53).

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