The 2019/20 Champions League was placed on hold back in March due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Fast forward four months, and Europe’s top-tier competition is finally gearing up for its eagerly awaiting return! However, the elite tournament will have a very different look, and feel, about it when it resumes later this week!
Whilst the last four round of 16 ties will be played behind closed doors at the originally schedule venues, the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the final will all be played as single-leg fixtures in Lisbon, Portugal. The games – which will be played behind closed doors, of course – will be split between Benfica’s Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica and Sporting Lisbon’s Estádio José Alvalade.
Paris Saint-Germain, who are one of the favourites in the Champions League final odds, Atlético Madrid, RB Leipzig, and Atalanta have all already booked their place in Portugal and will be joined by the winners of Real Madrid vs Manchester City, Lyon vs Juventus, Napoli vs Barcelona, and Chelsea vs Bayern Munich.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at one of the venue’s given the honour of hosting the remainder of the tournament – including the illustrious final!
Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica
Officially known as the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, the Estádio da Luz is a multi-purpose stadium, which is mostly used for football, in Lisbon. The 64,642-seater venue is the home of 2019/20 Portuguese Primeira Liga runners-up Benfica, and the Portuguese national team.
Having officially opened its doors in 2003 – holding a friendly match between Benfica and Uruguayan club Nacional – the massive stadium, which is the biggest in the country, is no stranger to hosting major events. Less than a year after it opened, the Estádio da Luz held two Euro 2004 games. The first being Portugal’s infamous 6-5 win on penalties over England in the quarter-finals. The host nation returned to the new stadium for the final, and it looked certain to be a celebration for Portugal on home soil. However, Greece, who were massive outsiders at the beginning of the tournament, had other ideas and nicked a 1-0 victory!
This won’t be the first time the Estádio da Luz has hosted the Champions League final, either! The Lisbon ground also hosted the 2014 final between bitter rivals Real Madrid and Atlético. Diego Godín’s goal in the first half looked to have been enough to win it for Atlético. However, Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos equalised in the 93rd minute, and it went down hill for Atlético from there as Real Madrid ended up 4-1 winners after extra time.
The Estádio da Luz will host RB Leipzig vs Atlético, and Atalanta vs PSG, in the quarter-finals on August 12th and 13th, before hosting a semi-final the following week, and the main event on August 23rd.
Whilst it’s a shame that İstanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium will no longer have the honour of hosting this year’s final, the Estádio da Luz is more-than a fitting venue for the tournament, and we’ll look forward to it returning to Turkey next season!