The UEFA Champions League returns on Friday night, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus having to turn around a 1-0 deficit against Lyon to reach the season-ending mini tournament in Lisbon.
It is a brand new format that will be in place from the quarter-finals onwards, due to safety concerns and time constraints caused by the global pandemic, where matches will be played on neutral ground and a winner decided on the night.
There are still four last 16 ties to be finished before then, though, featuring some of the biggest names in world football.
Lyon won the first leg at Parc Olympique Lyonnais thanks to Lucas Tousart’s first-half goal while Juve defender Matthijs de Ligt was off the field receiving treatment for a head injury, and know a goal in Turin would leave their hosts needing to score three.
The visitors might well feel confident of getting that important away goal, too, with Maurizio Sarri’s side having more or less stumbled over the line in Serie A. The Bianconeri did win their ninth Italian title in a row – the last time they didn’t pick up the scudetto it was with a squad featuring Luca Toni and Alessandro Del Piero – but only by a point having lost four times after lockdown.
In fact, Juve have only won twice in their last eight outings, but they are at least better practiced than their opponents on Friday, who have only played one competitive fixture since early March with the Ligue 1 season being cancelled during lockdown. That was a Coupe de la Ligue final against Paris Saint-Germain last weekend, which finished goalless after extra time and was won by PSG in a shoot-out.
In short, then, this one is extremely finely balanced and could go either way. Not that the winner will have it easy in the next round, with either Manchester City or Real Madrid lying in wait.
The games will come thick and fast now, interwoven between UEFA Europa League fixtures happening in Germany, with the showpiece final due to take place on Sunday 23rd August. Juventus vs Lyon kicks off at 8.00pm BST on Friday 7th August.
Read on to find out how you can see all the action, in the best possible quality, wherever you are in the world.
Watch a Champions League live stream for free
Football fans in Austria, Canada, Germany and Japan get the chance to watch the UEFA Champions League for free. DAZN has the rights to show the Champions knockouts and a whole host of sports in these territories, and, best of all, DAZN offers a 1-month free trial. So long as you’ve not used yours already, then you can fill your boots.
Sadly the DAZN free trial isn’t available to those outside these regions. If you are a DAZN customer but travelling abroad, you’ll need to sign up to a VPN service to make sure you can access the DAZN Champions League live stream wherever you are.
It’s also worth noting that there are free streams on terrestrial channels such Match TV in Russia, if that’s where you happen to be. You can find a full list of the world’s broadcasters with rights to show the live Champions League football here.
Watch the Champions League anywhere in the world using a VPN
We’ll look at the TV and live stream options for UK and USA-based Champions League fans below, but even after spending all that money on a subscription you’re still not going to be able to watch the knock-out stage from another country.
There are certain territories where the Champions League football is free to watch (you can find a full list of the free Champions League broadcasters here along with the pay channels too). So, if you’re away in one of these places, you may just need to tune in on your hotel TV or find a local bar.
Anywhere else and you’ll want to get yourself a VPN instead. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) can spoof an IP address which is local to the server you’d like to access. That way your service provider will think you’re in the correct country to do so and allow you to watch the Champions League on your subscription as if you were back home.
VPNs are also as useful for banking as they are at trying to watch video content or accessing websites people in your location are not supposed to do. They encrypt the data passing between you and the server, so that the information remains private.
So, whether you want to watch live football, enjoy another country’s Netflix library or just keep your browsing data private, then a VPN is well worth considering.
There are many VPN providers out there, with some more reliable and safe than others. As a rule, we’d suggest a paid-for service and would recommend the following:
You can get three months free when you sign up to a year-long plan, bringing VPN access to smart devices including the Amazon Fire TV Stick, laptops, TVs and both Android and iOS mobiles and tablets. Express also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Which comes in at as little as $2.99 (£2.29) per month and features 24/7 assistance
Once you’ve made your choice, all you need to do is sign in to your VPN service through whichever device you’d like to use to watch the match. When prompted to select a server, you need to pick one which is based in the country whose content you’d like to access. Then navigate to the relevant video streaming app or website and you’re in.
You can find a full list of the world’s broadcasters with rights to show live the Champions League football here.
Watch the Champions League live the UK
Rights to show the UEFA Champions League in the UK belong to BT Sport, whose long-term deal to broadcast all matches from UEFA club competitions means you’ll also be able to watch the Europa League.
Juventus vs Lyon kicks off at 8.00pm BST and is live on BT Sport 2. There is no 4K coverage, but read on below to find out how to get other Champions League games in Ultra HD – including Man City vs Real Madrid – via the BT Sport Ultimate channel.
BT Sport for existing BT TV customers from just £10
Upgrading to all four BT Sport channels is no big deal if you’re already a BT customer. Those with BT TV already can access the channels for £10 per month. BT Broadband customers can enjoy the BT Sport app and watch on the go for the same price.View Deal
New BT broadband and BT TV customers will gain access to the coverage free of charge, while it costs £10 each month for existing customers. Sky TV users can also add BT Sport to their existing package from £25 a month, but that will not include any 4K viewing.
However you subscribe to BT Sport, though, you will get access to streams via the BT website and BT Sport app, so you can watch on the move within the UK or from abroad, using a VPN.
Watch the Champions League live in 4K
You can watch the Champions League in 4K HDR, beamed at 50fps on BT Sport Ultimate, channel 433. If you’re hooked up specifically on the BT TV platform then it’s also available in with Dolby Atmos sound.
Games are also available, minus the Atmos, for Virgin Media customers who subscribe to the BT Sport Collection. You can enjoy it in 4K HDR on channel 555.
BT Sport Ultimate is not available on the Sky TV platform but anyone with an Xbox, PlayStation, Apple TV or a Samsung TV can watch the Champions League in 4K HDR using the BT Sport app with the BT Sport Monthly Pass for just £25. No contract required.
BT Sport Monthly Pass for £25 per month
Enjoy the Champions League, FA Cup, Premier League and more in 4K HDR, all contract-free through the BT Sport app on games consoles, Apple TV and Samsung TVs. You do not need to be a BT customer and can opt out at any time.View Deal
The other option is to give yourself over to BT entirely and, right now, there’s a very reasonable BT Sport/Broadband/BT TV deal on offer. It doesn’t bring the very fastest speeds nor the most channels either but it still allows you to watch BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport 3 and BT Sport 4 with access to the 4K HDR streams through the BT Sport app.
BT Sport, BT TV and BT Broadband for £35 per month
This very reasonable triple threat offer includes line rental, an HD-enabled YouView box, four BT Sport channels and access to the 4K HDR coverage through the BT Sport app on compatible devices. It’s a 24-month contract with a set-up cost and a 36Mb fibre connection. View Deal
Those on Virgin Media will need the Virgin V6 box and a 4K TV to make sure they’re getting the action at maximum resolution. With the basic Big Bundle, BT Sport is £18 per month but all five BT Sport channels, including Ultra HD, are included on the larger TV packages which start at £57 per month. More details on Virgin Media TV bundles.
Watch the Champions League live in the USA
UEFA Champions League fans in the States are lucky enough to be able to watch some of the European football action free on Spanish language network Univision. The rest, you’ll have to pay for and the rights are shared out between Univision Deportes Network and Turner Sports.
Take a look at the schedules on their website to work how to follow your favourite team, and don’t forget to use a VPN if you’re watching from abroad.
Champions League Fixtures
All times shown in BST.
Friday 7th August
Juventus vs Lyon, 8.00pm – BT Sport 2
Manchester City vs Real Madrid, 8.00pm – BT Sport 1 / BT Sport Extra 1 / BT Sport Ultimate
Saturday 8th August
Bayern Munich vs Chelsea, 8.00pm – BT Sport 1 / BT Sport Extra 1 / BT Sport Ultimate
Barcelona vs Napoli, 8.00pm – BT Sport 2
Wednesday 12th August
Atalanta vs Paris Saint-Germain, 8.00pm – BT Sport 1 / BT Sport Extra 1
Thursday 13th August
RB Leipzig vs Atlético Madrid, 8.00pm – BT Sport 1 / BT Sport Extra 1
Friday 14th August
Napoli / Barcelona vs Chelsea / Bayern Munich, 8.00pm – BT Sport 1 / BT Sport Extra 1
Saturday 15th August
Real Madrid / Manchester City vs Lyon / Juventus, 8.00pm – BT Sport 2
Tuesday 18th August
Semi-final 1, 8.00pm – BT Sport 2
Wednesday 19th August
Semi-final 2, 8.00pm – BT Sport 2
Sunday 23rd August
Final, 8.00pm – BT Sport 1 / BT Sport Extra 1 / BT Sport Ultimate / BT Sport YouTube