Betting Special: Spain expected to provide the Champions League winners once more

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Spain have dominated this competition for the last four years, although this year there could be a serious challenge from England and even France

The return of the Champions League provides us not only with the chance to find out who is the best team in the continent but also to get an idea of which nation has the most dominant teams in Europe.

In recent years of course it has been Spanish clubs who have made the headlines in the competition with La Liga providing the last four winners in Real Madrid and Barcelona, with Atletico Madrid also making the final in two of the last four years.

bet365's intriguing market for winning nation unsurprisingly has Spain as the favourites once more with the Iberian nation priced at 13/8 (2.62) to provide the winner. Spanish clubs have won the Champions League on 17 occasions, more than any other country and five more than the second most successful nation in Italy.

Mario Mandzukic Juventus Real Madrid Champions League

Seven years haved passed since an Italian side last lifted the trophy though, with Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan the last team to triumph on the European stage. The Nerazzurri are not in this year's competition, with last season's beaten finalists Juventus joined by Napoli and Roma in representing Italian interests and the price of 10/1 (11.00) for a side from Italy to win shows that the Serie A contenders are relative outsiders.

The most serious challenge to the Spanish domination of this competition looks set to come from England, with bet365 offering odds of 7/2 (3.50) for a Premier League side to be crowned champions of Europe. Both clubs from Manchester will feel they have the squad and the manager to progress into the latter stages of the competition while Chelsea, the last English side to lift the trophy back in 2012, will expect a good showing in the Champions League. Liverpool and Tottenham are also in the group stages, but it remains to be seen if any English side can compete with those in the top tier of European football.

GFX STATS UCL WINNING NATION

Germany, meanwhile, are priced at 5/1 (6.00) with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund providing extremely solid representation along with newcomers RB Leipzig who remain something of an unknown quantity at this level. Bayern are second favourites for the title along with Barcelona and just behind Real Madrid, while Dortmund have consistently reached the latter stages in recent years.

For their part, France are priced at 6/1 (7.00) and the main hope will be PSG, whose astronomical investment in the transfer market this summer was based almost entirely on the club's desire to progress on the European stage. Given the signings of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Dani Alves, PSG must be considered serious Champions League contenders, while last season's semi finalists Monaco will do extremely well if they come close to repeating their run to the last four. 

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