76 teams participated in the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League from UEFA's 53 member associations. Each association enters a certain number of clubs to the Champions League based on its league coefficient which takes into account the performance of its clubs in European competitions from 2001–02 to 2005–06.; associations with a higher league coefficients may enter more clubs than associations with a lower league coefficient, but no association may enter more than four teams. All UEFA associations are guaranteed to have at least one team qualify, with the exception of Liechtenstein, which competes in the Swiss league system, but has no team in the Swiss Super League. One new nation entered their league champion in this year's tournament: Montenegro, following the dissolution of Serbia and Montenegro. The champions from San Marino and Andorra also entered from this year onwards. Below is the qualification scheme for the 2007–08 Champions League:
Associations 1–3 (Spain, Italy, and England): 4 teams
Associations 4–6 (France, Germany, and Portugal): 3 teams
Since the title holders (Milan) qualified for the Champions League 3rd qualifying round through their domestic league and entered the group stage automatically, their spot in the 3rd qualifying round is vacated, and the following changes to the default access list are made:
The champions of association 16 (Switzerland) are promoted from the second qualifying round to the third qualifying round.
The champions of associations 23 (Denmark) and 24 (Hungary) are promoted from the first qualifying round to the second qualifying round.
First qualifying round: (28 teams)
28 champions from associations 25–53 (not including Liechtenstein)
Second qualifying round: (28 teams)
14 winners from the first qualifying round
8 champions from associations 17–24 (Bulgaria, Israel, Norway, Austria, Serbia, Poland, Denmark, and Hungary)
6 runners-up from associations 10–15
Third qualifying round: (32 teams)
14 winners from the second qualifying round
7 champions from associations 10–16 (Romania, Scotland, Belgium, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Turkey, Switzerland)
3 runners-up from associations 7–9 (Netherlands, Greece, Russia)
6 third-place finishers from associations 1–6
2 fourth-place finishers from associations 1–3 (Milan, the fourth-place finishers from Italy, as holders, qualify automatically for the group stage.)
The calendar shows the dates of the rounds and draw.
29 June 2007
Draw for first and second qualifying rounds
17–18 July 2007
First qualifying round, first leg
24–25 July 2007
First qualifying round, second leg
31 July–1 August 2007
Second qualifying round, first leg
3 August 2007
Draw for third qualifying round
7–8 August 2007
Second qualifying round, second leg
14–15 August 2007
Third qualifying round, first leg
28–29 August 2007
Third qualifying round, second leg
30 August 2007
Draw for group stage
18–19 September 2007
Group stage, Matchday 1
2–3 October 2007
Group stage, Matchday 2
23–24 October 2007
Group stage, Matchday 3
6–7 November 2007
Group stage, Matchday 4
27–28 November 2007
Group stage, Matchday 5
11–12 December 2007
Group stage, Matchday 6 1
21 December 2007
Draw for first knockout round
19–20 February 2008
First knockout round, 1st leg
4–11 March 2008
First knockout round, 2nd leg 2
14 March 2008
Draw for remaining rounds
1–2 April 2008
Quarter-finals, 1st leg
8–9 April 2008
Quarter-finals, 2nd leg
22–23 April 2008
Semi-finals, 1st leg
29–30 April 2008
Semi-finals, 2nd leg
21 May 2008
Final in Moscow, Russia
1 Group D teams played their Matchday 6 fixtures on 4 December due to Milan's participation in the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan on 13 and 16 December.
2 As both Milan and Internazionale use the Stadio San Siro as their home pitch, and both were scheduled to play at home for the second leg of the first knockout round, Internazionale's home leg against Liverpool was postponed by one week to 11 March 2008.
The draw was held on Friday, 29 June 2007 in Nyon, Switzerland. The draw was conducted by UEFA General Secretary David Taylor and Michele Centenaro, UEFA's head of club competitions. The first leg matches were held on 17 July and 18 July, while the second legs were played on 24 July and 25 July 2007.
The draw was held on Friday, 29 June 2007 in Nyon, Switzerland. The draw was conducted by UEFA General Secretary David Taylor and Michele Centenaro, UEFA's head of club competitions. The first leg matches were played on 31 July and 1 August, while the second legs were played on 7 August and 8 August 2007.
The draw was held on Friday, 3 August 2007 in Nyon, Switzerland. The draw was conducted by UEFA General Secretary David Taylor and Giorgio Marchetti, UEFA's director of professional football. The first leg matches were played on 14 August and 15 August, while the second legs were played on 28 August and 29 August 2007. Winners in this round qualified for the group stage, while the losing clubs entered the first round of the UEFA Cup. Due to the death of Antonio Puerta, the second leg of Sevilla's game against AEK Athens was postponed until 3 September.
Location of teams of the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League group stage. Brown: Group A; Red: Group B; Orange: Group C; Yellow: Group D; Green: Group E; Blue: Group F; Purple: Group G; Pink: Group H.
The draw was held on Thursday, 30 August 2007 at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. The draw was hosted by Pedro Pinto and conducted by UEFA General Secretary David Taylor and Michele Centenaro, UEFA's head of club competitions. The matches were played between 18 September and 12 December 2007.
The top two teams in each group advanced to the knockout stage, and the third-placed teams entered the round of 32 of the UEFA Cup. Based on paragraph 6.05 in the UEFA regulations for the current season, if two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are applied to determine the rankings:
higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question;
superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question;
higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question;
superior goal difference from all group matches played;
higher number of goals scored in all group matches played;
higher number of coefficient points accumulated by the club in question, as well as its association, over the previous five seasons.
From the last 16 through to the semi-finals, clubs play two matches against each other on a home and away basis with the same rules as the qualifying rounds applied. In the last 16, group winners play runners-up other than teams from their own pool or nation.
The draw for the first knockout round was held on Friday, 21 December 2007 in Nyon, Switzerland. The draw was conducted by UEFA General Secretary David Taylor and Giorgio Marchetti, UEFA's director of professional football.
The draws for the quarter-finals and semi-finals were both held on Friday, 14 March 2008 in Nyon, Switzerland. The draw was conducted by UEFA General Secretary David Taylor and Rinat Dasayev, the ambassador for the final in Moscow. Unlike the first knockout round, teams from the same group or country may be drawn together from the quarter-finals onwards.
The first leg matches were played on 19 February and 20 February, while the second legs were played on 4 March and 5 March 2008. Due to a stadium clash with Milan, the second leg of Internazionale's game against Liverpool was held on 11 March.
The 2008 UEFA Champions League Final was played on 21 May 2008 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. The final was contested by Manchester United and Chelsea, representing the first time the final had been contested by two teams from England.
United won the match 6–5 on penalties after the game had ended in a 1–1 draw. Cristiano Ronaldo had given the eventual victors the lead after 26 minutes, only for Frank Lampard to equalise immediately before half-time. Ryan Giggs came on as a substitute late in the second half to make his 759th appearance for Manchester United, a new club record. Early in extra time, Giggs had a shot cleared off the Chelsea goal-line by John Terry, whilst Chelsea twice hit the Manchester United woodwork. A melée involving most of the 22 players ensued mid-way through the second half of extra time, with Didier Drogba being sent off for a slap on Nemanja Vidić right in front of the referee.
The scores level at full-time, the match went to penalties. Chelsea took the upper hand in the third round of the shoot-out as Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty was saved by Petr Čech, handing John Terry the chance to win the cup with Chelsea's fifth penalty. However, Chelsea's captain lost his footing as he went to kick the ball, and his shot hit the post. Ryan Giggs stepped up for United's seventh penalty, and scored, before Edwin van der Sar saved the following kick from Nicolas Anelka to crown Manchester United as the champions of Europe for the third time.
Manchester United's 1–0 victory over Barcelona in the semi-finals was their 12th consecutive home victory, a record surpassing Juventus' ten set between the 1995–96 and 1997–98 seasons
Liverpool's 8-0 victory over Besiktas was the widest goal margin in the history of the competition.
The final between Chelsea and Manchester United was the first all-English final in the history of the European Cup and the third ever final between two teams from the same country.
This season was the first season in the competition's history that four teams from the same country reached the quarter-final stage (England's Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United). This feat was repeated by the same teams in the 2008–09 season.
For the first time in Champions League history, a nation's clubs (England's) were only eliminated by each other. Arsenal were eliminated by Liverpool, who were beaten by Chelsea, who were defeated by Manchester United in the final.
Schalke 04 qualified for the quarter-finals of the European Cup for the first time since 1958–59.
Milan's 0–2 loss to Arsenal in the second leg of the first knockout round was the club's first ever defeat to English opposition at the San Siro.
Lazio goalkeeper Marco Ballotta became the oldest player to ever play in the Champions League when he was fielded in the match against Real Madrid on 11 December 2007. Aged 43, he was three years older than the previous record owner, Alessandro Costacurta, who was 40 when he played for Milan against AEK Athens in November 2006.
Bojan Krkić was the first ever scorer in the Champions League to have been born in the 1990s, when he scored the only goal in Barcelona's 1–0 quarter-final first leg win against Schalke 04. He is also the second youngest scorer in the Champions League behind Ghanaian forward Peter Ofori-Quaye, then-playing for Olympiacos.
^McNulty, Phil (22 May 2008). "Champions League final". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 26 May 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2008. He slipped in his run-up on turf made treacherous by a torrential downpour and sent his kick against the upright.