• Home
  • /
  • Football
  • /
  • Champions League Final: Has It Become Easier To Win A Treble?

Champions League Final: Has It Become Easier To Win A Treble?

Champions League Final: Has It Become Easier To Win A Treble?
By Eoin Harrington Updated
Share this article

As the Champions League final approaches, Manchester City are on the verge of making English football history.

Only one English side has ever won the treble of Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League and, after an imperious campaign, City have the opportunity to add their name to that list on Saturday night.

The Champions League is the final piece in the puzzle and, should City beat Inter Milan in Istanbul, they will join an exclusive group of European clubs who have completed the treble.

But recent trends suggest that - for continental clubs, at least - the treble may no longer be the elusive feat it was once seen as.

READ HERE: Evan Ferguson Has Intriguing Answer To Inter's Lukaku-Dzeko Dilemma

Champions League final: Manchester City on verge of historic treble

When Manchester United won the treble in 1999, they were the first team from one of Europe's major leagues (England, Spain, Italy, or Germany) to achieve such a feat.

Only three clubs prior to United had won a treble including the European Cup. Celtic were the first to achieve it in 1967, while Dutch sides Ajax and PSV matched them in 1972 and 1988 respectively.


In the first 50 years of the European Cup's history, these remained the only four sides ever to have won the famed treble.

And, in the past 15 years, it has been done five times - possibly six, if Manchester City can add the Champions League to the Premier League and FA Cup they have already won in such style.

READ HERE: Report: Barcelona To Announce Signing Of Man City Star Straight After CL Final



Barcelona (2009 and 2015) and Bayern Munich (2013 and 2020) have both won the treble twice in recent years. City's opponents on Saturday, Inter Milan, became the first Italian side to win the treble the last time they won the Champions League, back in 2010.

It is curious that a feat which was achieved at a rate of less than once a decade in the first 50 years of the European Cup has now been achieved five times in the last 15 years.


There seem to be two root causes here.


The first is that, as the biggest clubs in Europe become even bigger and increase their squad sizes and output, they have become far better equipped to tackle multiple competitions in one season.

A glance at the results of the DFB-Pokal, Coppa Italia, and FA Cup finals of recent years shows a dramtic upturn in finals played out exclusively between the biggest clubs in each country, clubs who are simultaneously locked in battles at the high end of the table, with less chance of minnows winning - or even reaching - the finals.

Chelsea's win in the 2012 Champions League final is the most recent occasion where a club has won the competition for the first time (Photo: Shutterstock)

The second is that there has been a downturn in the amount of teams winning the European Cup for the first time. Since the European Cup became the Champions League in 1992, the vast majority of victors have been repeat winners.

Take the decade before that switch, for example. Eight of the 11 finals directly preceding the "Champions League era" were won by teams claiming their maiden European crown. Since 1992, that has only happened three times (it will be four if City win on Saturday night).


The last ten Champions League titles have been shared between just five teams, meaning the vast majority of the clubs who win the European Cup are coming back and winning it again. The bigger clubs are becoming harder and harder to stop and, when that is balanced against their relentless success in domestic cup competitions, it leaves the league title as the final missing piece of the puzzle for most clubs.

Despite the ease with which the "big six" now seem to succeed in the FA Cup, has nonetheless remained elusive for English teams. Since 1999, Manchester United have come close in 2008 and 2009, while Liverpool were agonisingly close to a quadruple in 2022.

Even before United's iconic treble in 1999, Liverpool had come close, winning the league and European Cup in 1977 before being halted by United in the FA Cup final.

United could not halt their Manchester counterparts in this year's cup final, leaving their bitter rivals City on the brink of matching their greatest ever achievement.

None of the above statistics are intended to discredit the prospective on-field achievement by Manchester City this weekend. Pep Guardiola's side are utterly ruthless, and the Champions League crown has been coming to them for quite some time. Even if they do not win it this year - and it feels as though they are destined to - they will in the coming years.

There are, of course, questions about the dealings behind the scenes at the Etihad, but their squad have played out this season impeccably, and a treble would be a worthy reward for their efforts.

But there is a trend emerging here. This would be the sixth treble in just 15 years - an average of just over one every three years. Contrast that with less than one per decade in the entire preceding history of the European Cup, and it's clear to see that something is changing.

SEE ALSO: Greatest Champions League Finals: Manchester At Midnight In Moscow

Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are subscribed now!

Share this article

Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com