Champions League Final 2023; how many finals have been played at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium?

Is the UEFA Champions League Final 2023 the first footballing final to take place at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium

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The UEFA Champions League 2023 is one sleep (or sleepless night should that be) away, with many Manchester City fans expected to make their way over to Istanbul to hopefully pick up the third, and most elusive so far, trophy to their collection this season. Things won’t be easy though - they face an Inter Milan side that have been dark horses throughout the tournament.

The venue, Atatürk Olympic Stadium, is no stranger to football finals either - in fact, the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final is not the first it has held either. Built between 1997 and 2002, the original purpose of the stadium was to make an official bid for the 2008 Olympic games, however their bid ultimately lost to Beijing. That, however, did not deter UEFA from considering it a 5-star sports complex - a title allowing the stadium to host UEFA finals.

Which it did, and the stadium’s very first UEFA Champions League Final is one that has forever gone down in Liverpool folklore. It was here in 2005 that the “miracle of Istanbul” occurred, as Liverpool beat AC Milan on penalties, despite being beaten at half time by three goals. That event has forever been etched in Liverpool’s rich footballing history, and was even made into a film - “One Night In Istanbul.”

The stadium was also set to host the 2020 UEFA Champions League final, however as this was occurring during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the final was moved to the  Estádio da Luz in Lisbon. The stadium owners and Turkish FA were assured they would get the 2021 iteration, but again with the pandemic still occurring, the game was moved to Portugal once again, this time at the Estádio do Dragão in Porto.

The stadium is currently used by Fatih Karagümrük, a team that plays in the top division of Turkey’s Süper Lig since their return. However, they have to accommodate for international music tours too - such as U2’s 360° Tour in 2010, which saw an attendance of 54,278 fans.

How do I get to the Atatürk Olympic Stadium from Istanbul airport?

This weekend will be the second time the Atatürk Olympic Stadium will host a Champions League Final (Credit - Atatürk Olympic Stadium)This weekend will be the second time the Atatürk Olympic Stadium will host a Champions League Final (Credit - Atatürk Olympic Stadium)
This weekend will be the second time the Atatürk Olympic Stadium will host a Champions League Final (Credit - Atatürk Olympic Stadium)

Ah… I see we’ve found a Manchester City fan luckily enough to have a ticket to the UEFA Champions League final! Though we are unsure if official Manchester City fan clubs are organising shuttle services, we can provide you with three options on how to get from the airport to the stadium.

For those with access to a car, Uber or happy to pay local taxi drivers, it’s a 33 minute trip by car down the O-7 but be aware - there are tolls in effect driving directly to the stadium. By public transport, you can catch a train from İstanbul Havalimanı (Peron 2), which is 30 minutes walk away, and then catch:

H-3 from Gümrük to Masko 1, then from there crossing over to Masko and catching the M9 to Olimpiyat. Hop off at Olimpiyat and from there it is a 10 minute walk to the stadium. In total, you’re looking at a 1hr 30 minute trip including walking to İstanbul Havalimanı.

You can buy train tickets at many train stations from a ticket agent or a Trenmatik ticket machine.

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