Real Madrid will defend the UEFA Champions League title in the 2014-15 season, with the final scheduled for the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on June 6.
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The bookmakers are having difficulty deciding which team should be favourites to win the 2014-15 Champions League, Stan James
siding with Real Madrid at 7/2 ahead of Bayern Munich at a best-priced 4/1.
But other firms, such as William Hill
, have Bayern at the head of the market, while Betfred
are unable to separate the duo at this stage and are happy to lay 4/1 about both clubs who contested one of last season’s semi-finals, Real prevailing 5-0 on aggregate.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side did, of course, go on to complete ‘La Decima’, an unprecedented 10th European Cup success, but had a close shave in the competition’s first ever final between two teams from the same city.
Atletico Madrid were ahead entering stoppage time, but Sergio Ramos snatched a last-gasp equaliser with a header from a corner and Real went on to run out 4-1 winners in the extra half hour.
As La Liga champions, Atletico will also be back for another tilt along with Barcelona, while Athletic Bilbao complete the Spanish contingent and go into the play-off round along with the likes of Arsenal, Bayer Leverkusen, Napoli and Porto.
Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin (left) vies with Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo during the UEFA Champions League Final in Lisbon on May 24 2014 (Getty Images)
Arsenal have been drawn against Turkish club Besiktas, playing the second leg at home, but with Napoli and Athletic Bilbao having been paired together it means either Spain or Italy will lose one of their contenders before the group stage.
Germany could have four representatives in the group stage with Bayern definitely joined by Borussia Dortmund and Schalke while Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea are also guaranteed to be involved through to December.
Two clubs each from Italy, France and Portugal are also confirmed as going straight into the group phase namely Juventus, Roma, Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco, Benfica and Sporting Lisbon.
The 22 certain to participate in the round-robin phase are completed by Shakhtar Donetsk, CSKA Moscow, Ajax, Galatasaray, Anderlecht, Olympiakos and Basel.
UEFA Champions League 2014-15 schedule (all kick-off times BST):
Tuesday August 19
19:45 Besiktas (Turkey) v Arsenal (England)
19:45 Copenhagen (Denmark) v Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
19:45 Napoli (Italy) v Athletic Bilbao (Spain)
19:45 Red Bull Salzburg (Austria) v Malmö (Sweden)
19:45 Steaua Bucharest (Romania) v Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria)
Wednesday August 20
19:45 Aalborg (Denmark) v APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus)
19:45 Lille (France) v Porto (Portugal)
19:45 Maribor (Slovenia) v Celtic (Scotland)
19:45 Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia) v BATE Borisov (Belarus)
19:45 Standard Liège (Belgium) v Zenit St Petersburg (Russia)
Play-off round second leg
Tuesday August 26
17:00 Zenit St Petersburg v Standard Liege
19:45 APOEL Nicosia v Aalborg
19:45 BATE Borisov v Slovan Bratislava
19:45 Celtic v Maribor
19:45 Porto v Lille
Wednesday August 27
19:45 Arsenal v Besiktas
19:45 Athletic Bilbao v Napoli
19:45 Bayer Leverkusen v Copenhagen
19:45 Ludogorets Razgrad v Steaua Bucharest
19:45 Malmo v Red Bull Salzburg
August 28 – Group-stage draw
September 16-17 – Match day 1
September 30-October 1 – Match day 2
October 21-22 – Match day 3
November 4-5 – Match day 4
November 25-26 – Match day 5
December 9-10 – Match day 6
December 15 – Last-16 draw
February 17-18 – Last-16 first leg
February 24-25 – Last-16 first leg
March 10-11 – Last-16 second leg
March 17-18 – Last-16 second leg
March 20 – Quarter-final draw
April 14-15 – Quarter-final first leg
April 21-22 – Quarter-final second leg
April 24 – Semi-final draw
May 5-6 – Semi-final first leg
May 12-13 – Semi-final second leg
June 6 – Champions League Final in Berlin