Spanish clubs have completed a European clean sweep in 3 of the last 4 seasons by winning all of the UEFA club competitions. That remains a possibility this season after Atletico Madrid won the UEFA Super Cup in August. However with holders Real Madrid suffering a humiliating Champions League exit against Ajax last week, the chances of a repeat this season look slightly slimmer.
Manchester City are the current favourites to win the Champions League while Chelsea and Napoli lead the market in the Europa League. However there is still strong Spanish participation in both competitions and if recent history is anything to go by, it would be crazy to write off the five La Liga teams left in European action heading into a crucial week in which they will all be aiming to secure Quarter-Final places.
La Liga dominance of European competitions
Spanish clubs have won:
- 7 of the last 10 Champions Leagues (all of the last 5)
- 5 of the last 10 Europa Leagues (4 of the last 5)
- 9 of the last 10 UEFA Super Cups (all of the last 5)
- 14 of the last 15 European trophies
- 70% of the European competitions in the past 10 years
While great teams have come and gone throughout the history of European club competitions, a period of such domination by just one country is unprecedented. The 2010’s have belonged to clubs from La Liga and the success of Spanish sides on the continent remains the biggest thorn in the side of the Premier League’s claim to be the strongest in the world.
The stats largely speak for themselves and in the past five years, only Manchester United’s 2017 Europa League win has denied Spain a total clean sweep of all the trophies on offer. The relatively recent change to allow Europa League winners into the following season’s Champions League has certainly perked Premier League interest in Europe’s secondary competition though and the latter rounds of this season’s Europa League could be fascinating with plenty of strong sides remaining.
6 in a row? – Atleti & Barça targeting Madrid Final
Real Madrid have won the Champions League in 4 of the last 5 seasons. They won’t be winning it this term but Atletico Madrid and Barcelona both head into their matches this week as favourites to progress to the Quarter-Finals and potentially make it 6 straight Champions League triumphs for Spanish sides.
Atletico Madrid have a 2-0 advantage to take to Turin for their 2nd Leg against Juventus after an excellent display in the Spanish capital. If any side is suited to protecting a 2-0 1st Leg lead in Europe you would think it would be Atleti and they have hit form after an unconvincing start to the campaign. Atleti can currently be backed at 8/1 with William Hill to win the trophy for the first time and should they reach the Final, they will have home advantage at the Wanda Metropolitano.
You can read all our predictions and betting tips in our Juventus vs Atletico Madrid match preview here.
Barcelona though are in at 4/1 with bet365 and are second favourites behind Man City following some high profile exits last week as both PSG and Real Madrid crashed out in dramatic circumstances. For all their dominance of Spanish football, Barca have tended to crumble on the big European stage in recent seasons with some heavy away defeats leading to early exits. They received a favourable last 16 draw against French side Lyon and will be firm favourites to progress when the sides meet again at Camp Nou this week for the 2nd Leg of that tie which is goalless from the first match in France.
You can read all our predictions and betting tips in our Barcelona vs Lyon match preview here.
A big week for Spain’s Europa League participants
While Real Betis fell in the last round, Spain also still has 3 Europa League participants remaining and all will feel they have a good chance of making the Quarter Finals.
Curiously, the side best placed to do that is Villarreal, who are currently in big relegation trouble in La Liga. The Yellow Submarine have been playing with a greater sense of freedom in Europe and were impressive 3-1 winners away to Zenit St Petersburg last week. It would take a huge collapse for them not to finish the job back in Iberia this week. Villarreal are still a distant 22/1 with bet365 to win the Europa League, which looks to offer decent value although they are by no means the strongest side in the competition. If they do win the competition and also go down, they could end up in the bizarre scenario of playing both Champions League and Segunda Division football next season.
The Europa League has been Sevilla’s competition since the turn of the century. They have won it a record five times and much-like Arsenal and Chelsea, find themselves trying to balance both domestic and Europa league action as they try to secure Champions League football next term. The difference though is that Sevilla fans really do get excited about the Europa League and are desperate to win it again, not just because of the Champions League reward. They have a lot of work to do though in their 2nd Leg against Slavia Prague after they were held to a 2-2 home draw last week. You have to go back to 2011 for the last time Sevilla were knocked out of the Europa League and they’ve won the competition three times since then. They are 10/1 with Betvictor to win it again this season and those odds will shorten considerably if they get through in Prague.
Finally Valencia are the third Spanish side left in Europa League and they are perhaps the strongest of the trio. After a slow start to the season, Marcelino’s side have found their feet again and they’ve been balancing three competitions well. They also have a tricky test away this week having only beaten Krasnodar 2-1 at the Mestalla but if they can advance in Russia, they are certainly a side capable of mixing it with the likes of Napoli and Chelsea later on in the competition. Valencia can also be backed at 10/1 with Coral to win the Europa League.