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Football: Who will be the new king of Europe?

Football is the game that is most passionately followed by fans all over the world. Be it the FIFA World Cup or the Premier League, avid fans know all there is to know about the teams and the competition.

As for Champions’ League, even the most ordinary of fans cherish their team’s win or mourn their loss as if it’s the last time they would be doing that! So what makes Champion’s League different than the rest of the leagues in the football world?

First of all, the UEFA Champions’ League is the most prestigious club event in football, just like the World Cup football is for international teams. It was first held in 1955 when the top football clubs in Europe played against each other to determine who the best was. At that time, the event was known as the European Cup, and the name (as well as the format) was changed to UEFA Champions’ League 20 years back.

The winner of the final earns a berth at the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup as well as 2012 UEFA Super Cup, making the victory more meaningful than any other.

This year, the final will be played between the German club Bayern Munich and the English club Chelsea, at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany tonight. Bayern Munich has the edge here since they have been into the grand finale on more occasions — eight — as compared to Chelsea’s two appearances. Bayern have even lifted the trophy on four occasions whereas Chelsea has gone back empty handed twice.

Barcelona may not be in the finals this year, but Lionel Messi stays on top of scorers’ list with 14 goals this year. He is followed by Mario Gómez of Bayern Munich, who struck the ball 12 times past the goal line. Real Madrid’s duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are on the third and fourth positions with 10 and seven goals respectively, but they can’t add to their tally as their team was knocked out in the semi finals by eventual finalist Bayern Munich.

Didier Drogba of Chelsea has five goals to his credit and he might be able to add to the tally in the final, which will be played at Bayern’s home ground in Munich.

So far 21 teams have managed to win the Champion’s League, with 12 clubs doing so on more than one occasion. Spanish club Real Madrid has emerged as the most successful with nine victories, and that’s why Spanish clubs have dominated the winners’ list with 13 wins.

Although many teams have won the event back to back, no club has managed to win two titles in a row ever since the tournament changed name and format in 1992. Bayern’s last win came in 2001 when they downed Valencia on penalties, while Chelsea will be looking for their maiden win in the mother of all victories. Let the best team win tonight.