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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There is an early difference of opinion among the bookmakers for which of the 77 competing teams should be favourites to win the 2014-15 Champions League, Ladbrokes
siding with Real Madrid at 4/1 ahead of Bayern Munich at a best-priced 9/2.
But other firms have Bayern at the head of the market, while bet365
are unable to separate the duo at this stage and are happy to lay best odds of 9/2 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 be back for another tilt along with Barcelona, while Athletic Bilbao complete the Spanish contingent and go into the play-off round in August 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)
Like Spain, England and Germany will have four representatives with Bayern joined in the group phase 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.
Scottish champions Celtic will need to come through three two-legged ties if they are to take their place in the group phase once more and saw off their initial opponents KR Reykjavik of Iceland ultimately with ease, 5-0 on aggregate.
UEFA Champions League 2014-15 schedule (all kick-off times BST):
16:00: Aktobe (Kazakhstan) v Dinamo Tbilisi (Georgia) (1-0)
17:00: HJK Helsinki (Finland) v Rabotnicki (Macedonia) (0-0)
17:00: Ventspils (Latvia) v Malmo (Sweden) (0-0)
18:30: Steaua Bucharest (Romania) v Stromsgodset (Norway) (1-0)
19:00: Maribor (Slovenia) v Zrinjski Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina) (0-0)
19:45: St Patrick's Athletic (Republic of Ireland) v Legia Warsaw (Poland) (1-1)
July 29-30 - Third qualifying round first leg
AEL Limassol (Cyprus) v Zenit St Petersburg (Russia)
Dnipro (Ukraine) v Copenhagen (Denmark)
Feyenoord (Netherlands) v Besiktas (Turkey)
Grasshoppers Zurich (Switzerland) v Lille (France)
Standard Liege (Belgium) v Panathinaikos (Greece)
Qarabag (Azerbaijan) v Red Bull Salzburg (Austria)
Aalborg (Denmark) v Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)
Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia) v Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldova)
Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria) v Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)
Debrecen (Hungary) v BATE Borisov (Belarus)
HJK Helsinki or Rabotnicki v APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus)
Sparta Prague (Czech Republic) v Malmo or Ventspils
Maribor or Zrinjski Mostar v Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
Legia Warsaw or St Patrick's Athletic v Celtic (Scotland)
Aktobe or Dinamo Tbilisi v Steaua Bucharest or Stromsgodset
August 5-6 – Third qualifying round second leg
August 8 – Play-off round draw
August 19-20 – Play-off round first leg
August 26-27 – Play-off round second leg
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