The History of the UEFA Super Cup

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In the wake of the upcoming 2019 UEFA Super Cup clash between Liverpool and Chelsea, let’s revise our history books and see the story behind the Super Cup trophy. The UEFA Super Cup is an annual competition that takes place before the start of each season, usually in August. Traditionally, the winner of the Champions League faces the best team of the Europa League in a match for the coveted Super Cup trophy. The current holders are Atletico Madrid!

The Beginning of the UEFA Super Cup

The idea of creating a European Super Cup came from Anton Witkamp in 1971. Witkamp was a Dutch sports editor working for De Telegraaf back then. He essentially wanted to find an ultimate way of determining the best club in Europe. This also coincided with Ajax’s golden years with Johan Cruyff as their star player at the helm.

Finally, a proposal was made that the winner of the European Cup would play against the European Cup Winner’s Cup champion to determine the best club in Europe.

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Unfortunately, the first Super Cup game, scheduled between Ajax and Rangers, was not endorsed by UEFA. The then-current UEFA president turned down Witkamp’s plea and the game went down without an endorsement. The reason for not supporting this game was because of Rangers’ fans behavior during the 1972 UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup Final. It resulted in Rangers being suspended for all upcoming European competitions.

Thus, the game played between Ajax and Rangers on 1972 was the first, although unratified, Super Cup match. Ajax defeated Rangers with 6-3 on aggregate.

The First Official Match

The Super Cup of 1973 is considered as the first official final endorsed by UEFA. It pitted Ajax versus AC Milan in a two-match final. Back then, the winner was determined after two games, a home game and an away game. Milan won the first game on San Siro by defeating Ajax with 1-0. However, the Dutch side retaliated and came back strong on their home soil and defeated the Rossoneri by 6-0.

At the time, both Ajax and Milan were held as the biggest clubs in Europe. Compared to today when Milan is struggling in the Seria A, priced at 26.00 to win the Italian League title by Betway. On the other hand, Ajax is back in the company of the strongest clubs in Europe by reaching the Champions League semi-finals last season with a very young and perspective squad. Unfortunately, their run to retain the Eredivisie started with a 2-2 draw against Vitesse.

UEFA Super Cup

Real Madrid celebrate with the trophy after defeating Manchester United 2-1 during the Super Cup final soccer match at Philip II Arena in Skopje – Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com

Changes

As mentioned earlier, the original idea behind the Super Cup was that two matches would determine the winner. Since its inception in 1973 and all the way to 1997, two matches were played. The UEFA Super Cup of 1998 was the first finals where one match was enough to determine the cup holder. The final was played between Chelsea and Real Madrid with the English squad taking home the Super Cup trophy with a 1-0 victory.

In 1992, the European Cup was renamed into the Champions League. Subsequently, the winner of the UEFA Champions League was supposed to battle the Cup Winners’ Cup holder for the Super Cup trophy. However, in 1998, the Cup Winners’ Cup was abolished and they decided that the UEFA Cup holder would take its place. Then another name change came in 2009 causing the UEFA Cup to become the Europa League. So we come to today when the best teams of the Champions League and the Europa League play against each other to determine the next holder of the UEFA Super Cup.

The two-leg format was also changed to a single tame. After this change was made in 1998, the traditional venue for the match was Stade Louis II in Monaco. It remained so until 2013 when they decided that the venue would change every year. The 2013 Super Cup match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea was played at Eden Arena in Prague. The upcoming 2019 leg will be held on Vodafone Park in Istanbul, which was interestingly determined by an open bidding process.

Most Successful Clubs

The most successful team of the Super Cup competition is Barcelona. The Spanish giant won the trophy a record number of five times, with their last coming in 2015 after a win against Seville (5-4 after extra time). Barcelona also has the most number of appearances with 9 in total.

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The second most successful club to participate is one of the original clubs to start it, AC Milan. The Rossoneri also have five titles to their name, but with fewer appearances at 7. However, Milan won their last Super Cup back in 2007 with a 3-1 victory against Seville.

The Super Cup Game of 2018

The 2018 Super Cup was held at A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn, Estonia on 15 August. It also marked the first-ever European club final held in Estonia. The participants were long-time rivals Real Madrid, the Champions League titleholder, and Atletico Madrid, the Europa League titleholder.

Atletico was the underdog of the game but they still managed to score a victory against their most hated rivals. It was 2-2 in regular time but Atletico won the match in the extended period with goals from Saul Niguez and Koke to score a 4-2 win. This was also Atletico’s third trophy as they have also won it in 2010 and 2012.

Betting Tip

The 2019 UEFA Super Cup will be the 44th edition of the coveted game. The match will take place on 14 August at Vodafone Arena in Istanbul. It will pit Champions League holders Liverpool with Europa League champions Chelsea in an all-English showdown. It also marks the first-ever all-English Super Cup since its inception.

William Hill has Liverpool at 8/11 to win the clash in regular time, whereas Chelsea are 18/5 shot to produce and upset and claim the trophy by winning in ninety minutes. With the Reds looking good in big games and boasting more experience in these kinds of matches than the rejuvenated Blues side, we are siding with Jurgen Klopp’s men here.