Photo: Arsenal vs Sevilla by Kieran Lynam (CC BY 2.0)

Ahead of the Champion’s League last sixteen Mary Phillips looks at the teams who favour callow ambition and those who value December to May.

Today in the Champions League there are a number of top teams sporting several remarkably young, and in some cases remarkably mature players. Back in 2009, Arsenal played Greek side Olympiacos Piraeus in a record breaking match with an average age of just 20.9 years. The Gunners still hold the Guinness World Record for the Youngest average age of a football team in the Champion League. With this in mind, here is a quick look at some of the Champions League teams with the youngest and oldest players today and we also provide you with some helpful travel tips in case you will decide to attend any of their matches.

Belgium side Anderlecht is presently the Champions League’s youngest team with the player’s ages averaging out at 22.7. The squad includes 16 year old Youri Tielemans and 19 year olds Dennis Praet, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba. With their lack of experience, Anderlecht has so far failed to impress, but the side is likely to get stronger as the young players mature.

Anderlecht is the first Brussels’ municipality and the capital city of Belgium is always full of travellers, mostly businessmen. That is why hotels rates are pretty high. However, this city offers a plenty of cheap but nice B&Bs. Delicious traditional Belgian breakfast is almost always included.

World renowned Dutch team Ajax is celebrated for its youth academy; however in recent years, the young players promoted to the side’s main squad have had less immediate success than their predecessors including Dennis Bergkamp and Rafael van der Vaart. This being said, Lucas Andersen and Viktor Fischer, both 19, are expected to make a difference in the near future. The average age of the current Ajax side is just 23.3.

Want to see Amsterdam youngsters in action? As Amsterdam is well-known for being an alternative city with a lot of young inhabitants, a good low-cost accommodation idea could be for example hospitality exchange. It’s free, you can meet interesting people and you are staying at a local’s place, that means he or she can give you all insider tips you may need.

The Italian side Juventus is home to a number of more mature players with, at present, the oldest squad in the Champions League. The average age is 28.6 and includes keepers such as Marco Storari and Gianluigi Buffon as well as centre back Andrea Barzagli and midfielder Andrea Pirlo. Juventus’ youngest player is Paul Pogba at 20 years of age. The side is currently enjoying success within the league.

Turin is an important Italian city with a loy of accommodation opportunities. If you don’t want to spend too much, our advice is a short term room or flat rental.

The incredibly successful English side Chelsea also boasts one of the oldest teams in the Champions League with an average player age of 28.1. The oldest of the side are keepers Mark Schwarzer at 41 and Henrique Hilário at 38, alongside celebrated players Frank Lampard at 35 with John Terry and Ashley Cole at 33. Chelsea’s youngest current player is 21 year old Tomáš Kalas.

As we all know, hotels are quite expensive in London, but have you considered a hostel? That is definitely a good option. London is full of well-equipped, clean and nice hostels, so you’ll be able to find a good one maybe even near to the stadium.

Turkish side Galatasaray also has a mature squad with an age of 28.1 averaged out between the players. The team’s oldest talent is Didier Drogba at 35 years old, closely followed by 32 year old Gokham Zan. The youngest on the side is presently 18 year old Ibrahim Coskun.

If you are hoping to see Galatasaray in action, Istanbul offers you many opportunities. You can check hotel listing websites like this one in order to find hotels and other accommodation options in Istanbul for reasonable prices.

It is evident that age and experience alone do not necessarily determine the success of a team, however both of these factors combined with skill, flair and good tactics really do make the difference.