The rest of the world’s Super Bowl is back

Opening image of new behind-the-scenes series on the UEFA tournament. Photo Courtesy of UEFA Champions League.

By Paige Albright

Boston University News Service

The Champions League Tournament has started for the 2024 season, with the first matches of the round of 16 taking place on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Teams participate in a two-game series, each getting the chance to play on home soil, to determine who moves on in the tournament. The competition will run until early June when the final two teams compete at a neutral site for the Champions League trophy.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is comprised of both National programs and the European Football Leagues, totaling 32 member leagues and 25 national associations. The Champions League (UCL) is a tournament of the winners from each European football league, meaning the top teams from each professional football league in participating countries will compete to decide the “champion of all professional football.”

The tournament is highly competitive and well-watched, with viewership coming from all across the world. Last year’s final reported 450 million viewers, larger than the record-breaking number for this year’s Super Bowl, 123.4 million viewers. However, while the UCL is the most-watched yearly broadcast, the most-watched sporting event in history was the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in which 20% of the population, or 1.5 billion people, watched the final.

In the first matches of the round of 16, defending champions Manchester City defeated F.C. Copenhagen 3-1, and Real Madrid defeated RB Leipzig 1-0. The next matches took place the following day, when Bayern Munich took on S.S Lazio and Paris Saint Germain faced Real Sociedad. Bayern was unable to answer Lazio after Bayern defender Dayot Upamecano was issued a red card which led to a Lazio penalty. Many fans and media were surprised by Bayern’s defeat, however the team is currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak. In the other game on the slate that day, PSG kept Real Sociedad at bay with a 2-0 performance.

Both Manchester City and Real Madrid are the favored winners of the contest this year. Jude Bellingham, the young Real Madrid and England star, was an important addition to the team and has helped the team become a real contender for this year’s title. Recent concerns have risen from Manchester City’s team as star forward Jack Grealish was recently injured. However, in a recent statement, the team said the injury is “not as bad as we first feared.”

This Tuesday, Inter Milan defeated Atletico Madrid 1-0 on home turf. Inter Milan reached the tournament finals last season, but they could not answer Manchester City’s offense, ending their tournament as runner-up. Dutch league frontrunners PSV faced Dortmund in a close match ending in a 1-1 tie. In Wednesday’s games, Barcelona tied with Napoli, with both sides’ goalkeepers recording impressive saves during the match, and Arsenal was defeated by underdogs FC Porto, 1-0.

Matchday two will start in mid-March, where matches are based on results from matchday one. Teams who played at home will be on the road for the second leg of matches with quarterfinal spots up for grabs. 

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