English clubs continue resurgence in Champions League

Tom White and Pete Fabianski, PA
·3-min read

Chelsea joined Liverpool and Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals to continue the Premier League’s recent resurgence in the competition.

The trio’s advancement means England has provided eight quarter-finalists over the last three seasons, twice as many as any other nation in a period which includes 2019’s final between Liverpool and Tottenham.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how the top nations compare on Europe’s biggest stage.

Battle for supremacy

Champions League quarter-finalists by season: Premier League v LaLiga
The English and Spanish leagues have battled for Champions League supremacy (PA graphic)

Those last three years have seen the Premier League wrest the upper hand back from LaLiga, despite City fighting a lone battle in last season’s last eight.

Prior to 2000, there was no dominant nation – only the Bundesliga, in 1997-98 and 1998-99, and Serie A in the latter season sent more than one team to the quarter-finals simultaneously.

Spain and England then emerged as the dominant leagues, with three Spanish quarter-finalists for four years running as the Premier League also had multiple representatives.

England claimed superiority between the 2006-07 and 2010-11 seasons, averaging more than three quarter-finalists per season with four teams in both 2007-08 and 2008-09 – the only league ever to hit this mark, having done so again in 2018-19.

Barcelona and Real Madrid sparked a Spanish resurgence as the only representatives from the same country in a 2012 quarter-final line-up featuring one team apiece from England, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal and Cyprus – APOEL enjoying their best run in the competition.

Gareth Bale, right, scores for Real in one of two all-Madrid finals in the 2010s
Gareth Bale, right, scores for Real in one of two all-Madrid finals in the 2010s (Nick Potts/PA)

The next six years saw Spain constantly provide three representatives, Atletico Madrid swelling the numbers on four occasions in between appearances for Malaga and Sevilla. The two Madrid clubs met in the 2014 and 2016 finals.

England had only six quarter-finalists in total in that six-year stretch, Manchester United with two appearances plus one each for Chelsea, City, Leicester and Liverpool.

The two Manchester clubs then joined 2019’s finalists in the last eight as the pendulum swung back the other way, with last season providing a wide-open field before Barca missed out this season for the first time in 14 years to diminish Spain’s traditional representation.

Bayern lead German challenge

Champions League: most quarter-final appearances
Bayern Munich and Barcelona have the most Champions League last eight appearances (PA graphic)

Germany’s Bundesliga has been the next most represented league in recent years, with Bayern Munich have reached at least the quarter-finals in 11 of the last 13 seasons and winning the competition twice in that time.

They have been joined by a second German club in six of the last nine years – Borussia Dortmund on four occasions, with the pair meeting in the 2013 final, plus Wolfsburg in 2015-16 and RB Leipzig last season.

Bayern are level with Barcelona for the most last-eight appearances in the Champions League era, reaching that stage in 19 out of 29 seasons – in Barca’s case, that includes participation in the final groups under a previous format in 1993-94.

Bayern Munich celebrate beating rivals Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final
Bayern Munich celebrate beating rivals Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 final (Martin Rickett/PA)

Real have reached 17 quarter-finals, winning seven titles in the Champions League era including four in the five years to 2018.

Manchester United are the most regular English representatives with 14 appearances to Chelsea’s 10, Juventus splitting the pair as the only other club in double figures with 12.

Eight English clubs in all have reached this stage, with Leeds’ 2000-01 appearance helping match the record of Spain and Germany.

Deportivo La Coruna, Villarreal and Sevilla are the other Spanish clubs to have reached the last eight while Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke, Werder Bremen and Kaiserslautern complete the Bundesliga contingent.