Champions League: Barcelona and Bayern Munich are already champions

Form is temporary, class is permanent. It’s one of the most popular football clichés, used to distinguish between short-term fluctuations in performance and underlying skill which affects long-term output. It’s a term normally applied to individual players, but it also applies to clubs, especially in cup competitions where dreams are made and destroyed (apologies, clichés are so entrenched in football once you start speaking about the subject it’s hard to avoid them) over 90 minutes.

With this in mind, I’d like to propose a way to measure the success of top European teams, based simply upon performance in the Champions League over five year periods (already explained here and here). Here’s how it works:

Clubs get a certain amount of points for reaching a certain stage in the Champions League.

  • 5 points for winning the competition
  • 4 points for losing the final
  • 3 points for going out in the semi-finals
  • 2 points for going out in the quarter-finals
  • 1 point for going out in the round-of-16
  • 0 points for going out before this stage

By adding up a club’s total amount of points attained over a five-year period, it is possible to see how successful a clubs have been over that period.

The winner in the 2009-2013 period which finished last season was Barcelona, with 19 points. This reflects Barcelona’s two wins and three semi-final appearances in the last five years, and matches the overall perception that they have been the best team over the last five years. Bayern Munich were second, with 16 points, and Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid all got 11 points.

Going into next season, for the 2010-2014 period Barcelona and Bayern Munich both have 14 points. The only other club capable of overtaking them is Real Madrid, with 10 points. Barcelona (particularly with the signing of Neymar) and Bayern Munich (particularly with the appointment of Pep Guardiola) both just stronger than last season, and are regarded as the two strongest clubs in Europe. We can say with reasonable certainty they are the two dominant teams of the early 2010’s.

rank club 2009-2013 2010-2014
1 Barcelona

19

14

2 Bayern Munich

16

14

3= Chelsea

11

8

3= Man United

11

7

3= Real Madrid

11

10

6 Inter

9

8

7 Arsenal

8

5

8 Lyon

6

5

9 Milan

5

5

10= Borussia Dortmund

4

4

10= Schalke

4

4

10= Porto

4

2

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