Given that the finals of both the Europa League and the Champions league are upon us, it’s as good a time as any to discuss why the Europa League is currently better than that of the Champions League.
To preface, it’s fair to say that a lot of people may be disgruntled by this and maybe for good reason. Likely believing that the Europa League players aren’t fit to clean the boots of those in the Champions League. However, I’m here to tell those Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City fans that it’s very possible that the Champions League may be equal to that of the Europa.
The Champions League has, for a long time, been the undisputed king of the European football scene. Boasting the best teams and players from the best European leagues. Each playing each other in a knockout competition in order to be crowned Europe’s best.
Sounds great right? Well, hear me out.
Although it’s great watching the best teams in the world each other, the competition has lost a lot of its character in previous years. Character that’s been picked up by their younger brother. Because of this, the regularly named “younger brother”, the Europa League (previously the UEFA Cup) has taken its place as the most exciting international competition in Europe.
With the Europa League finishing its arguably strongest season yet, we’re looking at why the league as a whole trump that of the Champions League. Still, although both leagues have had their fair share of breathtaking moments this year, with the upcoming final against Ajax and Manchester United tomorrow, one can’t help but look back at what really makes the smaller European competition great.
So for now, we’re not focusing on the teams in the final and Stockholm and Cardiff, respectfully. Instead, going beyond the Google Livescore and delving into the 7 reasons why the Europa League is currently better than the Champions League.
Vying for the carrot
For the last few years, the Europa League has provided some substantial added value to those in the competition. Throwing another reason to really put your best team forward and foregoing the Europa Leagues relative irrelevancy when it comes to European competitions. Because there was a time when many of Europe’s bigger clubs would see the competition as the undesirable and somewhat redundant younger brother of the Champions League; which is full of galáctico’s and the glamour of the elite competition.
Instead, what’s happening now is, there is more on the line for those in the Europa League. Because for the team that reaches and then wins the final, gets rewarded with not only sums of money that can merely be desired by the regular people of everyday society. But they get an automatic spot in the group stages of the next season’s Champions League.
Essentially, this raises the stake of the competition and in doing so, it raises the level of skill, excitement and desire to win.
Fun for the fans
For fans, there can often be an air of fear when travelling to the lesser known and smaller cities of Europe. Creeping into the dark corners, not knowing what type of person or rival supporter you might come across.
Fortunately, now it’s a different story. With teams and fans from all over Europe relishing the chance to travel to other parts of the continent. Frequently being called the “stag-do cup”. Travelling to places like Prague, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Vienna, Lisbon, Budapest, Sevilla and many more make for great times ahead. Some of the best cities in Europe are competing in Europa league. So if anything, it can merely be another city you can tick off the map.
Take into consideration the talent you get to watch, the high standard of the game and the memories with friends, it’s easy to see what all the talk is about.
A genuine talent pool
When you look at all of the biggest players who play at the biggest clubs in the world, what do you see?
You see a person who’s put in the hard yards. They’ve worked their way up through youth teams, loan spells and transfers to get to the point they’re currently at. Putting in countless hours of training, sacrifice and discipline to reach the point of fame, money and excess… The point where many want to end up.
Well, these people didn’t get there overnight. And likely, they didn’t start off at those clubs. Sure, clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid, Juventus and countless others have famed academies for youngsters. Yet they can only churn out a limited number of graduates. And even as a graduate, there’s no guarantee that your youth team will sign you as a professional.
So what happens?
These talented players often go to smaller teams to perfect their craft. Best case scenario, the best of the youth talent will likely go to those clubs that are maybe slightly below the elite and instead compete in the Europa League.
Teams like Ajax, Schalke 04, Lyon and the rest and renowned for having top young talent. Many of whom will likely move onto bigger and better things. Meaning, if you watch the Europa League, you’re looking at the genuine future of football.
Champions League is stagnant and easy to predict
For a long time, the Champions League has been filled with the world’s best teams. Among those, there are a few absolute elite teams, that vie for top spot every year. From this, comes a certain predictability.
Sure, there might be the odd explosive team that defies odds, having a great season, peaking in the Champions League (AS Monaco). However generally, it’s a safe bet to say that the top four teams in Europe will likely be Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus… With possibly the odd upset.
That’s the problem.
Yet with the younger brother, you’ll more than likely be surprised by the final scores.
Hard, gritty and explosive
One of my biggest quarrels with the current Champions League, is that it’s lost a lot of its toughness. A good excuse for this is that they have all of the talent and pace that they don’t have to be kicking chunks out of each other. I you want to see that, watch the English Championship, instead.
Still, a common complaint about modern football is that it’s soft and full of prima donna’s and divers. Which yes, it does exist in all facets of the game, unfortunately. But one cannot say that the Champions League is something of a Mecca.
Compare this to the Europa League and it’s something of a different story. Like stated previously, this unsportsmanlike conduct does still occur. But on a lower level. Instead, teams are ready to go in hard for the ball and look willing to spill blood for their team. Adding to this, the league is fast and skillful, to the point where talent looks about on par with the elite.
Which leaves the Europa being just as fast paced and explosive as the champions league, in addition to being hard, gritty and great to watch.
Exciting – more matches and more goals scored
An easy statistic to analyse when comparing the Europa League and the Champions League is the amount of matches and the amount of goals scored. It’s an easy statistic to reassure you that what you’re watching is actually worth it.
If you’re a football nut, then the Europa League is likely for you. Featuring 196 matches, in contrast to the Champions League’s 118, you surely get more bang for your buck. But if that isn’t enough, then you’ll be glad to hear that the Europa League typically scores more goals too!
In the end, I think it’s fair to say the real winner is the football fan. With games being played constantly throughout the season, you’ll have a non-stop conveyor belt of matches to watch and if you’re lucky, attend.
But since we’re comparing the Europa League and the Champions League… Again, it’s fair to say that with the Europa League, the football fan wins. Watching great youthful players, playing for teams in cities you might not know much about; going in hard, playing a high caliber of football, scoring goals and genuinely unpredictable. It’s a football fans dream.
So if nothing else, next time you see that there’s a Europa League game on, give it a watch! And don’t forget to tune into watch Ajax from Amsterdam take on Manchester United in Stockholm in the final. I’m sure it’ll be worth it.
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