The Champions League last-16 second legs are finally here and there are some mouthwatering ties to get stuck into.
As it stands, most of the ties are nicely poised with six teams holding slender one-goal leads after the first legs. The two exceptions came in Bayern Munich’s 3-0 procession over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Atalanta’s 4-1 thrashing of Valencia.
But, as one-sided as they were, those results got us thinking about the best and worst results for this current last-16 crop during the Champions League era. After all, with each of them coming from Europe’s top five leagues, that’s bound to throw up a few surprises, right?
Well, let’s take a look.
Best result: 4-1 v Valencia (February 19, 2020)
Given that this is Atalanta’s debut Champions League campaign, it should come as no surprise that their most emphatic win in this competition was the recent 4-1 thrashing of Valencia. Atalanta have scored 70 goals in Serie A so far this season, at least 10 more than any other team, and that attacking prowess was proudly displayed as they dismantled the Spanish side — all but sealing their place in the quarter-finals.
Worst result: 5-1 v Man City (22 October, 2019) and 4-0 v Dinamo Zagreb (18 September, 2019)
Given the level of quality in this competition, you learn to take the rough with the smooth very quickly. Atalanta have done just that, falling to 5-1 and 4-0 defeats to Manchester City and Dinamo Zagreb, respectively, in what was a very difficult start to the group stages for them. Of course, they recovered to win two of their final three games and have destroyed Valencia since, so all’s well that ends well.
Best result: 5-0 v Malmo (22 October, 2014)
Atleti are better known for their defensive solidity and ability to grind out results nowadays — as Liverpool found out during their recent round-of-16 first leg — but over the years, they have been prone to dishing out the odd walloping. Malmo felt the wrath of their attacking force back during the 2014/15 group stage, falling to a 5-0 defeat thanks to goals from Koke, Mario Mandzukic, Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin and Alessio Cerci.
Worst result: 4-0 v Chelsea (21 October, 2009) and 4-0 v Borussia Dortmund (24 October, 2018)
Even with their air-tight defence, Atleti have still been on the end of some resounding defeats too. Their heaviest in the Champions League to date were 4-0 defeats to Chelsea in 2009 — then managed by Carlo Ancelotti — and Borussia Dortmund in October 2018, a game which saw Jadon Sancho score his first-ever Champions League goal. Next up for Los Colchoneros is a trip to Anfield and given Liverpool’s record at Anfield on European nights, Simeone will be crossing his fingers this list isn’t added to.
Best result: 7-0 v Celtic (13 September, 2016)
After years of underachievement on the continent, Barcelona have been one of the real juggernauts of the Champions League over the last 15 years. Whether it has been under Frank Rijkaard or Pep Guardiola, many a team has fallen under the weight of their brilliance, but none more so than Celtic, who were crushed 7-0 at the Camp Nou back in 2016. Of course, Lionel Messi helped himself to a hat-trick against the Scottish giants, while a Luis Suarez double and further goals from Neymar and Andres Iniesta sealed the deal.
Worst result: 4-0 five times, most recently v Liverpool (7 May, 2019)
Despite their immense pedigree, Barcelona don’t always get it their own way in the Champions League and, surprisingly, have fallen to 4-0 defeats on no fewer than five occasions. The most recent of those embarrassments needs no introduction, however. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re bound to know about Liverpool’s miraculous 4-0 comeback in last season’s semi-final second-leg, with Barca throwing away a hard-earned 3-0 lead from their previous clash. Divock Origi’s heroics, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s genius and, according to some, pure witchcraft were all on show that night as the Blaugrana sunk to new depths under Ernesto Valverde.
Best result: 7-0 v Shakhtar Donetsk (11 March, 2015) and 7-0 v FC Basel (13 March, 2012)
Bayern are sitting pretty this year with their 3-0 lead over Chelsea from the first leg but that’s nothing compared to their most emphatic victories in the Champions League. The perennial German champions have dished out two 7-0 lashings in this competition down the years, first to FC Basel in 2012, then to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2015 under Pep Guardiola. Both were in round-of-16 second leg ties so, Chelsea, you have been warned.
Worst result: 4-0 v Real Madrid (29 April, 2014) and 4-0 v Barcelona (8 April, 2009)
Bayern have enjoyed plenty of famous European nights but have also had to endure some pretty miserable ones, especially against Spanish opposition. Both Real Madrid (in 2014) and Barcelona (in 2009) have thumped the Bavarians 4-0 down the years, with that legendary front three of Messi, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o getting on the scoresheet during the latter.
Best result: 6-0 v FK Qarabag (12 September, 2017) and 4-0 v Maribor (21 October, 2014)
Back in the day, Chelsea notched up a miraculous 13-0 win over FC Jeunesse Hautcharage in the European Cup Winners’ Cup. More recently, however, they’ve been limited to the modest scoreline of 6-0, first against Maribor in October 2014 with legends Didier Drogba and John Terry finding the net, then against FK Qarabag in September 2017. Whether it be 13-0 or 6-0, Frank Lampard could use some of that inspiration during Chelsea’s upcoming second leg against Bayern.
Worst result: 5-1 v Barcelona (18 April, 2000)
Before the days of Roman Abramovich, Chelsea headed to the Camp Nou looking to defend a 3-1 lead in the 1999/00 quarter-final second leg. Although it took extra-time, things went horribly wrong for the Blues, who fell to a humiliating 5-1 defeat on the night, with the list of Barca goalscorers reading like a charity legends line-up: Rivaldo, Luis Figo, Patrick Kluivert and Dani Garcia.
Best result: 6-0 v Legia Warsaw (14 September, 2016)
The 2016/17 group stages were eventful to say the least for Dortmund, with the German club playing out two quite ridiculous meetings against Legia Warsaw. The 8-4 home win at Signal Iduna Park will live long in the memory, but it’s the 6-0 victory in Poland which stands as Dortmund’s biggest win in the Champions League to date — Arsenal duo Sokratis and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were among the scorers that night.
Worst result: 3-0 five times, most recently v Tottenham Hotspur (13 February, 2019)
Given their selling culture over the years, the fact that Dortmund haven’t suffered anything worse than a 3-0 defeat in a single game during the Champions League era is quite the achievement.
Best result: 7-0 v Olympiacos (10 December, 2003)
Years of underachievement have defined Juventus in Europe, with the Old Lady winning just two European Cup titles to date — nowhere near enough for a club of their size. While they’ve failed to lift Old Big Ears for quite some time, they’ve still managed some pretty sizable results — the biggest of which was a 7-0 demolition of Olympiacos during the 2003/04 group stages.
Worst results: 3-0 three times, most recently v Real Madrid (3 April, 2018), and 4-1 twice, most recently v Real Madrid (3 June, 2017)
Juve have been beaten 3-0 three times during the Champions League era, the most recent of which was at home to Real Madrid in the 2017/18 quarter-finals. If you’re having trouble remembering that game, think Cristiano Ronaldo overhead-kick followed by a standing ovation from the Juventus supporters.
Best result: 4-1 v Monaco (21 November, 2017)
RB Leipzig don’t exactly have a long or illustrious history but that doesn’t mean they haven’t already made waves in Europe’s premier competition. The German side’s biggest Champions League win to date is a resounding 4-1 win away at Monaco back in the 2017/18 group stages. Predictably, Timo Werner grabbed a brace that day, while now-Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita also found the back of the net.
Worst result: 3-1 v Porto (1 November, 2017) and 2-0 twice, most recently v Lyon (2 October, 2019)
So far, Leipzig have avoided a true Champions League thumping, keeping their defeats to a maximum two-goal margin. Tottenham Hotspur could do with a similar scoreline in their favour when they travel to Saxony on Tuesday night.
Best result: 8-0 v Besiktas (6 November, 2007)
The current European champions have immense pedigree in this competition and have dished out their fair share of thrashings over the years. The biggest of them all in the Champions League era was a resounding 8-0 win over Besiktas at Anfield back in November 2007 — a Yossi Benayoun hat-trick and a brace from Peter Crouch tell you all you need to know about that night.
Worst result: 3-0 v Real Madrid (22 October, 2014) and 3-0 v Barcelona (1 May, 2019)
The class of 2014 seems like an age ago now for Liverpool fans, who may have chosen to forget Real Madrid giving a side including Simon Mignolet, Joe Allen and Alberto Moreno a footballing lesson back in October 2014 with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema (x2). Their other 3-0 thumping evokes happier times, as it set up the plot for their glittering 4-0 turnaround against Barca to reach the Champions League final last season.
Best result: 7-1 v Dinamo Zagreb (7 December 2011)
Lyon are rarely an easy side to play in the Champions League, as Dinamo Zagreb found out to their peril in December 2011, falling 7-1 at home to the French side. Mateo Kovacic found the net for Zagreb that night, while Bafetimbi Gomis scored four — notching a hat-trick in just six minutes from first goal to third goal. His famous panther celebration was shown off in style on that particular night.
Worst result: 4-0 v Real Madrid (18 October, 2011) and 5-1 v Barcelona (13 March, 2019)
That thrashing of Zagreb proved to be a vital result as Lyon scraped through the group stages with just two wins that year. During that same campaign, they were put to the sword by Real Madrid, with goals from former Lyon man Karim Benzema, Sami Khedira, Sergio Ramos and an own goal from Hugo Lloris.
Best result: 7-0 v Schalke (12 March, 2019)
One of Europe’s up-and-coming tacticians, Domenico Tedesco, was given a brutal lesson by Pep Guardiola this time last year. The 34-year-old could do little as his side fell to the brilliance and proficiency of City at the Etihad. There were six different scorers that night as the hosts showed no mercy against the traveling Germans, in a match which saw City claim a 10-2 aggregate win in the last-16.
Worst result: 4-0 v Barcelona (19 October, 2016)
Of course, despite all their investment, City have ultimately failed time and again on the continent so far. The Citizens were handed a footballing lesson of their own back in October 2016 when Barcelona hammered them 4-0 at the Camp Nou — a result which obviously included another Lionel Messi hat-trick.
Best result: 4-0 v Genk (10 December, 2019)
The San Paolo is one of the hardest places to go in Europe, with Napoli often looking absolutely formidable there. Even so, their Champions League games are often tight, tense affairs and a 4-0 group-stage win over Genk earlier this season remains their biggest win in the competition to date.
Worst result: 4-1 v Chelsea (14 March, 2012)
The Partenopei haven’t truly threatened to win the Champions League for quite some time and when it goes wrong for the Italian side, it goes really wrong. Their biggest defeat in competition history was a 4-1 extra-time thrashing to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge during the 2011/12 round-of-16. Goals from Didier Drogba, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic saw Napoli throw away a 3-1 lead from the first leg.
Best result: 7-1 v Celtic (22 November, 2017)
Just like Man City, PSG have spent an eye-watering amount of money to no avail in their quest to seal a Champions League title — or even just to get beyond the quarter-finals. However, they’ve served up a few goal-fests during their time and poor old Celtic were once again the victims, going down 7-1 in Paris back in 2017 — the Scottish side had initially taken a first-minute lead through Moussa Dembele but it was all downhill from there.
Worst result: 6-1 v Barcelona (8 March, 2017)
No result reflects PSG’s Champions League failures more than their 6-1 collapse to Barcelona in March 2017. Leading 4-0 from the first leg, that second leg needs no introduction — Barca raced into a 3-0 lead, Edinson Cavani looked like he’d salvaged it for PSG, then the Blaugrana stunned the footballing world with some injury-time witchcraft. Was this the greatest Champions League comeback of all time? Or the most humiliating collapse?
Best result: 8-0 v Malmo (8 December, 2015)
Nobody does the Champions Leagues quite as well as 13-time winners Real Madrid, who have dominated this competition on multiple occasions. Their biggest win since the competition rebrand was an 8-0 mauling of Swedish side Malmo in December 2015 en route to winning the 2016 final against rivals Atletico Madrid. Four goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, a Karim Benzema hat-trick and another from Mateo Kovacic did the damage at the Bernabeu.
Worst result: 4-0 v Liverpool (10 March, 2009)
Even Real Madrid don’t get it all their own way and few have forgotten the way they fell 4-0 to Liverpool back in 2009. Steven Gerrard grabbed a brace that night, adding to Fernando Torres’ opener. Hell, even Andrea Dossena got himself on the scoresheet as Los Blancos succumb to a 5-0 aggregate hammering.
Best result: 5-0 v Red Star Belgrade (22 October, 2019)
During a difficult period for Spurs and Mauricio Pochettino, their was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, as the Argentinian masterminded the club’s biggest-ever win in this competition with the 5-0 dismantling of Red Star Belgrade, before he was eventually sacked less than a month later.
Worst result: 7-2 v Bayern Munich (1 October, 2019)
Up until recently, Spurs had done a good job in keeping things tight at home but, well, all that went out the window in dramatic fashion with that 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in October. Although Son initially gave Spurs the lead, former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry ran riot to help the Bavarians to a famous (or infamous, depending on your persuasion) victory.
Best result: 7-0 Genk (23 November, 2011)
Twice runners-up, Valencia have had their fair share of heartbreak in the Champions League, but a club doesn’t have so many near-misses in this competition without dishing out some punishment. A 7-0 thrashing of Genk in 2011 stands as their biggest Champions League win to date, with Roberto Soldado grabbing a first-half hat-trick in that one.
Worst result: 5-1 v Inter Milan (20 October, 2004)
Of course, Valencia have had some tougher times over the years, with financial difficulties restricting their squad and leading to the sale of star players. Thus, Los Che have fallen to some pretty hefty defeats, the biggest of which was 5-1 to Inter Milan at the San Siro back in 2004. Centre-forward legends Adriano, Christian Vieri and Julio Cruz were among the goalscorers that night for a star-studded Inter side.