Into yet another final, Real Madrid stand alone as the most successful club in Champions League history. The Merengues have 11 titles to their name, but stand on the precipice of making history if they can beat Juventus in Saturday's final (live, 2 p.m. ET on FOX).
Ever since the tournament rebranded in 1992, no team has successfully defended their Champions League title. Many have tried. They've all failed. A grand total of four teams have come close, making it all the way to another final after winning it the previous year. Here's how it went down for those four squads.
A.C. Milan — Won 1993/94 Champions League
Milan went undefeated in their group and shut out Monaco in the knockout stage to make the final of the 1993/94 season. Barcelona awaited in Athens, where Fabio Capello's men put forth a masterclass effort. Milan entered the final all out of sorts, with injuries and suspensions leaving them looking like easy pickings for mighty Barcelona.
That's not how it played out at all, though. Even with Marco van Basten out injured, Milan dominated. Daniele Massaro scored a brace before halftime and Milan cruised to a 4-0 victory against Johan Cruyff-managed Barcelona.
Where it went wrong for Milan
Astoundingly, Milan managed to make their third consecutive Champions League final. Having won the year before, Milan were angling to become the first team to go back-to-back. They survived a two-point penalty levied against them in the group stage for crowd disturbances and advanced out of Group D. After taking care of Benfica and PSG in the knockout stages, Milan were set to face Ajax in the final in Vienna.
The two battled to a stalemate for 85 minutes, until Patrick Kluivert broke the deadlock. With precious little time to find an equalizer, Milan were forced to settle for being runners-up.
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Ajax — Won 1994/95 Champions League
As Milan's quest to win back-to-back titles came up short, Ajax's had just begun. The Dutch powerhouse flew through Group D in 1994/95, winning four matches and drawing two. Interestingly enough, Milan played in their group. That meant the two teams were very familiar with each other when the final rolled around.
Perhaps boasting a psychological advantage from their pair of 2-0 wins in the group stage, Ajax saw off Milan to win their first major European title since the early '70s.
Where it went wrong for Ajax
Ajax came painfully close to winning back-to-back titles, but couldn't come up with the goods in the end. The Dutch side dominated their group and beat Dortmund and Panathinaikos to reach the final against Juventus.
The Old Lady went up early in the match but Ajax managed to equalize in the second half. Neither team would break through again in regulation or extra time, leaving it to spot kicks to determine the victor. Juventus went perfect with their penalty kicks as a pair of misses doomed Ajax, who lost 4-2 in the shootout.
Juventus — Won 1995/96 Champions League
The Old Lady secured their second title with the shootout win against Ajax. They won their group earlier in the competition and then took down Real Madrid in the quarterfinals before beating Nantes in the semis. In the final, Fabrizio Ravanelli scored in the 13th minute before Ajax tied it up in the second half. In the shootout that would follow, all four of Juve's penalty-takers converted their attempts as the Old Lady claimed the title.
Where it went wrong for Juventus
The third team in three years with a chance to defend their crown, Juventus followed the script A.C. Milan and Ajax wrote before them: Losing in the final. The Old Lady booted Rosenborg in the quarters before demolishing Ajax in the semis. The two-time defending Bundesliga champions Dortmund awaited Juve in the final.
Karl-Heinz Riedle scored a first-half brace for BVB, while Lars Ricken answered Alessandro Del Piero's goal in the second half. The scoreline would hold as Dortmund would go on to win, 3-1, for the first -- and only -- Champions League trophy.
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Manchester United — Won 2007/08 Champions League
United won an all-English Champions League final in 2007/08, outlasting rivals Chelsea in a penalty shootout. Cristiano Ronaldo gave United an early lead, only for Frank Lampard to find a Chelsea equalizer before half time. The two teams held firm as the 1-1 scoreline dragged all the way through extra time, setting up the penalty shootout.
Down a man after Didier Drogba's red card, the Blues were in a position to win the title in the shootout after Ronaldo missed his kick. Chelsea captain John Terry slipped on his attempt, though, and United capitalized to win the shootout 6-5.
Where it went wrong for Manchester United
Rome played host to the 2008/09 Champions League final, where United would unsuccessfully defend their title. United narrowly won their group that season but beat Inter, Porto and Arsenal to reach the final for a second consecutive season. Unfortunately for United, they ran into a rampant Barcelona side.
Pep Guardiola managed Barca, which boasted an attacking trio of Thierry Henry, Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi. Eto'o opened the scoring in the 10th minute as Messi put the match on ice with a goal in the 70th. The win gave Barcelona an unprecedented double as well as continued the trend of defending one's Champions League title proving to be seemingly impossible.
Real Madrid — Won 2015/16 Champions League
Now into another Champions League final, Real Madrid are the latest team to take a crack at defending their crown. They knocked off crosstown rivals Atletico in a shootout a season ago, and face a stiff test on Saturday in Juventus. Will they be the team that finally breaks through and can win back-to-back titles? We'll find out soon enough.