April 3, 2018 / 10:19 AM / 3 months ago

Soccer: Nearly one third of Champions League matches one-sided - survey

BERN (Reuters) - Nearly one third of matches in this season’s Champions League have been one-sided, ending in a difference of three goals or more, according to a survey by a Swiss-based institute.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg - Besiktas vs Bayern Munich - Vodafone Arena, Istanbul, Turkey - March 14, 2018 Bayern Munich’s Sandro Wagner celebrates scoring their third goal REUTERS/Murad Sezer/File Photo

The CIES Football Observatory analysed results in 29 European competitions - 27 domestic leagues plus the Champions League and Europa League - and found that the number of “very uneven” games had increased in 20 of those compared to last season.

“This analysis reveals the general trend towards competitive imbalance in European football,” it said.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has said that lack of competitive balance was the biggest issue facing European club football.

The flagship Champions League has become increasingly dominated by a handful of elite clubs while many domestic leagues have turned into one-horse races, such as the Bundesliga where Bayern Munich are cruising towards a sixth successive title.

The CIES study said the Champions League had the highest number of games ending in a difference of three goals or more at 29.5 percent, compared to 21 percent at the same stage last season.

Of Europe’s five biggest domestic leagues, the figure was highest in the English Premier League at 21.9 percent and was lowest in the Bundesliga at 11.1 percent, down 5.6 percent on last season despite a number of high-scoring games involving Bayern Munich.

The figures for the other big five leagues were 19.8 percent in Serie A, 17.9 percent in La Liga and 17.6 in Ligue 1.

A relatively small percentage of Europa League games, 16.1 percent, were uneven while the Russian league had the least number of unbalanced matches at 10.5 percent, the report said.

Writing by Brian Homewood in Bern, editing by Ed Osmond

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