Why are there two legs in Champions League matches?

  • The UEFA Champions League as fans known it has existed since 1992
  • The knockout stage features two-legged ties
  • Why are there two legs in Champions League matches?

Newcastle United FC v Paris Saint-Germain: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Newcastle United FC v Paris Saint-Germain: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Visionhaus/GettyImages
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The UEFA Champions League is renowned for being the most prestigious trophy in European domestic football. Each year, qualified teams dream of winning the big jackpot and lifting the trophy at the end of it. After the group stage, matches until the final consist of two-legged ties - So, Why are there two legs in Champions League matches?

Champions League competition format

When teams have qualified for the Champions League, they will be entered into a group stage, each consisting of four teams. A team will play their three group stage opponents twice each - Once at home, once away from home. Then, the teams who finish first and second in the group stage based on points will progress to the Champions League knockout stages.

In the knockout ties, all rounds excluding the final are played using two legs, with the aggregate score being calculated across the two legs. Depending on the draw, a team could play home or away in the first leg, then vice versa in the second leg. Generally, it is seen as an advantage to play the away-leg first but UEFA have attempted to rectify this, eliminating the away goal rule in 2021/22.

So, why are there two legs in Champions League matches?

Why are there two legs in Champions League matches?

The simple answer is so that each team will play at home in one of the two legs. This excludes the need for UEFA to organise neutral stadiums for knockout ties but the final is played in a neutral stadium, since the final is only a one-legged tie.

Borussia Dortmund All-time Scoring Leaders in Champions League History

When away goals were counted in Champions League matches, it could be argued that the reason for two legs was to encourage attacking football, particularly in the away round of the two-legged tie. However, two-legs provide a fairer chance for both teams to produce quality football and it keeps the suspense across an aggregate scoreline.

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