Spanish fans had to endure a bit of a nightmare during the European Championships in France; getting taken apart by Italy in the round of 16 left many saying that Spain’s golden era is over. Whereas that might be true on the international stage, Spain still dominates when it comes to club football and this year see’s Spain represented by 5 clubs in the Champions League.
The usual suspects will be there and Barcelona and Real Madrid will be the favourites as there is every chance of another all Spanish final. See the betting lines for all the Champions League teams’ odds.
Last year saw both Real Madrid AND Sevilla take Europe’s top two crowns with Real taking a record 11th European Cup and Sevilla taking an unprecedented 5th Uefa Cup title (more remarkably their third in a row).
In the last five seasons Spanish clubs have accounted for 70% of the winners across the two competitions. With victories for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla all combining to confirm La Liga’s dominance on the European club stage in the last five years.
This season, Villarreal are added to the mix after a fourth place La Liga finish for the club from the Castellon province.
Silverware has been lacking in Villarreal’s trophy cabinet, Semi-finalists during the 2005/06 Champions League campaign remains their best performance to date on the European stage (although they have won two Intertoto cups, 03, 04).
Not a lot is expected of Villarreal as first they have to come through a tricky qualification match against Monaco. Get through that then we will see an abundance of Spanish influence in the group stages.
German, English and Italian clubs will be looking for the pendulum to swing in their favour, particularly the Premier League sides who are under pressure and face the prospect of losing their automatic fourth qualifying spot after some disappointing results on the European stage in recent years.
However, all fingers point to another La Liga victory in Europe. Barcelona’s squad has not been weakened with Messi, Neymar and Suarez all looking likely they will continue last season’s fine form. Real Madrid are no fools either and Gareth Bale has looked more and impressive during his time with the ‘Merengues’ and Atletico just seem capable of grinding down oppositions when it matters most.
Domestically La Liga is still king, good luck the rest of Europe, you’re going to need it.