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Pacesetters stake early claim for glory

Published: Thursday 5 November 2009, 11.55CET
Talking point: Six teams qualified for the knockout phase of the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League on Matchday 4, and recent history suggests that one of them is likely to win the competition.
Pacesetters stake early claim for glory
Red is the colour, and Matchday 4 is the crucial one for recent UEFA Champions League winners ©Getty Images

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Published: Thursday 5 November 2009, 11.55CET

Pacesetters stake early claim for glory

Talking point: Six teams qualified for the knockout phase of the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League on Matchday 4, and recent history suggests that one of them is likely to win the competition.

Six teams qualified for the knockout phase of the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League on Matchday 4, and recent history suggests one of them is likely to win the competition.

One in seven chance
Results over the last week have ensured FC Girondins de Bordeaux, Manchester United FC, Chelsea FC, Olympique Lyonnais, Sevilla FC and FC Porto are all certain of a place in the last 16, and statistics show that one of those teams is likely to be the winning side at the 22 May 2010 final at the Santiago Bernabéu. All but one of the last four editions of the UEFA Champions League has been won by a side that sealed their passage to the knockout phase after four games. The only exception was AC Milan in 2006/07, and even then they went into the final two matchdays needing only one more point to be certain of progressing.

Red tide
With two French sides already through to the last 16, might that nation produce their first winner since Olympique de Marseille in 1993? Matchday 4 qualification looks to be a powerful omen, but so – during the last five campaigns – is colour, with all of the last five European champions having at least a bit of red in their kits. The combination of those two indicators is good news for United, Sevilla and (if burgundy counts as red) Bordeaux. Science or witchery? You decide.

Matchday 4 qualifiers by season (eventual winners in bold):
2009/10: Manchester United FC, Chelsea FC, FC Girondins de Bordeaux, Olympique Lyonnais, Sevilla FC, FC Porto
2008/09: FC Barcelona, Sporting Clube de Portugal, Juventus
2007/08: Manchester United FC, Arsenal FC
2006/07: FC Bayern München, Liverpool FC, PSV Eindhoven, Valencia CF, Olympique Lyonnais, Real Madrid CF
2005/06: FC Barcelona, Arsenal FC, Olympique Lyonnais, Real Madrid CF

What other factors do all recent UEFA Champions League winners have in common? Click below to tell us your favourites and we will see which ones hold water.
Last updated: 05/11/09 19.18CET

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