Greatest Comebacks in Champions League History

The Champions League is seen by all fans around the world as the absolute pinnacle of football, even considered higher, by many, than international football. The best clubs from all around Europe pit themselves against each other in the ultimate tournament to see who comes out on tip. Sometimes there are upsets where the leading team in the world gets stuffed by a minnow but other times, the unexpected threatens to happen but the losing team find a way to defy the odds and come back. With this in mind we decided to list what we consider to be the greatest comebacks in the history of the Champions League. (not in order of greatness).

Deportivo La Coruna vs. AC Milan, 2004 – (Losing 4-1) Won 5-4

No doubt about this one being one of the most outrageous comebacks the CL has ever seen, trailing 4-1 from the first leg quarter final against the holders A.C Milan, Deportivo La Coruna fired back to win 5-4 on aggregate and meet F.C. Porto in the Semi’s. Beautifully orchestrated from midfield by the one and only Juan Carlos Valeron the Galicians hit the team from Italy with both barrels going 3 goals up in the first half thanks to Valeron, Pandiani and Luque, wiping out Milan’s first leg advantage. With 13 minutes remaining RCD club captain Fran struck a volley sweetly and it nestled in the back of the net to cement this comeback as one of the best ever probably paying out ridiculous amounts on football bets all over Europe.

Liverpool vs. AC Milan, 2005 – (Losing 3-0) Levelled to 3-3 & Won on penalties

No list of the greatest Champions League comebacks is complete without this one, The Miracle of Istanbul. A.C. Milan, with a star studded squad including Pirlo, Kaka, Shevchenko et all were leading 3-0 at half time and on their way to European Triumph, only, nobody thought to tell Liverpool that I was done and dusted. The reds flew out of the traps at half time and set about reducing the deficit, club captain Steven Gerrard notching the first, Smicer adding the second 2 minutes later and Xabi Alonso completing the unlikely comeback a further 5 minutes after. After both teams battled to come out on top throughout regulation and extra time, the game went to penalties. Liverpool triumphed from the spot marking this game as one of the most talked about in the history of football.

Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain, 2017 (Losing 4-0) Won 6-5

The most recent on this list and seemingly, one of the most unlikely given the score line, Barca trailed PSG 4-0 from the first leg of the Champions League last 16 and seemed to be down and out, especially when even after Barca pulled 3 goals back, Cavani scored for PSG to give them the edge on away goals. It was 5-3 to PSG when in the 88th minute Neymar curled in a pearler of a free kick, and just 2 minutes later was hauled down for a penalty and dully tucked it away. With the scores at 5-5 PSG still went through on away goals but in the 95th minute stand-in right back Sergi Roberto for Barcelona popped up in the most unlikely of positions and managed to score. Camp Nou erupted as did much of the football watching world to the biggest comeback of the last decade.

Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich, 1999 (Losing 1-0) Won 2-1

As they were prior to Alex Ferguson’s arrival, Manchester United are forever in Liverpool’s shadow in the comeback stakes with everyone remembering the Miracle in Istanbul and not many ever mentioning this game. United were second best for much of the contest after Bayern took an early lead through Mario Basler. It took until the 91st minute for United to equalise through Teddy Sheringham and level the tie. With golden goal extra time looming, uniteds late goal specialist Ole Gunnar Solskjaer popped up and scored in the 93rd minute to send the Red Devil’s fans into a rampage and claim the UEFA Champions League.

Chelsea vs. Napoli, 2012

Another often overlooked achievement is when the terrible looking Chelsea of 2012 managed to scrape themselves a UEFA Champions League Trophy. The team was serious struggling but managed to win the entire tournament and there’s no doubt that this game was the catalyst. After losing the first leg 3-1 many thought it was all over for the Blues but even after Napolie scored again, Chelsea managed to level it up at 4-4 and take it to extra time with goals from Lampard, Terry and Drogba. Salvation came in the form of Branislav Ivanovic who scored in extra time to send Chelsea through and on their way to win the whole thing!

Why Finishing 5th Could Be A Massive Blessing For Arsenal

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So Arsenal finished the season in 5th. Now the dust has settled, does it matter?

I do find it amusing that it is widely accepted that Arsenal have had an awful season. Yet despite having a “disastrous” season, we were in touching distance of Manchester City and Liverpool for the Champions League spots. If we were in crisis, then how about those two North West clubs?

Yes, between January and April we have been awful and yet we finished 5th. People need to get a grip – seriously, after a “disastrous” season most teams get relegated.

For me 5th doesn’t matter and in the cold light of day, is a blessing.

The Europa League is a joke. The sooner we agree on that the better. It’s a poorly organised competition and playing on Thursday nights is a massive burden on a Premier League season. We have two choices; take it seriously or use the kids.

For me it’s a no brainer. Play the kids. First of all it would be a great experience for them, and secondly they could do well in it. If you listen to Jose Mourinho, the repeatedly goes on and on about how much of a pain the competition is, despite wanting to win it so they get Champions League football next season.

But the message it clear – far too many additional fixtures, played on a day which severely interferes with the domestic calendar. If you want to win it then fine, but the road to success can cause major problems, and even then you’re not guaranteed to win it.

If we treat it like a European “League Cup” and play the youngsters, then we’d only have the Premier League and FA Cup to concentrate on. The Champions League has been a distraction in many ways, and a problematic one considering we don’t get further than the last 16 anyway. Why not focus on the Premier League instead? This gives us the perfect excuse.

Look at Chelsea this season. No Champions League football and they win the league. And Leicester City the season before. No Champions League football, and they win the league.

Simplistic perhaps, but if we had a real chance at actually competing for the Premier League, it would be next season.

Why Arsenal Want Real Madrid In The Last 16

Arsenal came back from the dead last night after losing their first two Champions League group games and losing three from their first four.

But wins against Dynamo Zagreb and Olympiakos in their last two group games finished off the great escape. As we’ve seen from teams like Manchester United in Europe this season, no away game in the Champions League is a formality so Arsenal deserve a huge amount of credit for winning 3-0 in Greece and avoiding the dreaded Europa League.

So for Arsenal, we have the luxury of thinking about our next potential opponents in the knockout stages. Our possible opponents include Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Wolfsburg or Zenit St Petersburg (Chelsea and Manchester City topped their respective groups so we can’t play them).

So who would you want to face?

The obvious teams that will be picked by Arsenal fans would be probably a non-Spanish side. Barcelona are phenomenal and with a striking trident of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez they would be an extremely difficult to beat over one game, nevermind two legs.

People will also point out that Real Madrid are a team we want to avoid but I disagree – I think they would be the perfect team to play.

Yes, they have an array of superstars in their ranks but for me they are a team who are more about being individuals. As a team, when Arsenal are on it they are on it (we’ve beat Bayern Munich already this season) and I believe that we play better as a unit than Real Madrid are at the moment. They have Ronaldo who is all about himself and Bale has been mis-firing this season. At the back they are suspect and I just think that with Mesut Özil in scintillating form we can cause them problems.

Maybe I’m living in a dream world, thinking back to the days when Thierry Henry ran riot at the Bernabeu and scored that sensational goal.

Another reason why we should want Real Madrid is because it’s a glamour tie. People talk far too much about wanting to avoid the big boys – but for me there’s no point in being in the competition unless you have aspirations of winning it – otherwise you might as well stay at home.

Yes, Real Madrid are a massive team but if you want to win the competition then you have to beat the best. We’re not Floyd Mayeather so shouldn’t be afraid of the big teams (except for Barcelona, obviously).

One of the reasons why I love the Champions League is those special nights against the best teams. That’s what it’s all about and I would be confident of turning them over over two legs. Arsenal have shown this season they can dig in, fight and put in a team performance when it matters.

If we perform at our best we can beat Real Madrid, but of course if we didn’t turn up then we could end up embarrassed. The two games against Bayern Munich this season sum up how Arsenal can end up.

How Do You Think Arsenal Will Do In The Champions League This Season?

So we’re in Group F with Marseille, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli.

The first thing people will talk about his yet another visit from “the man that nearly was” Gonzalo Higuain. It seems he just can’t keep away from The Emirates.

Apart from that, in the end it is a tough group.

But I’m staying positive. Arsenal have been in the Champions League for 16 seasons in a row now and most of our players are hugely experienced in Europe – and if anything we play our best football in the Champions League. Players and fans get excited and it seems to bring out the stronger performances from us.

Borussia Dortmund are probably the strongest team, with them reaching the Champions League final last season. And they still have Robert Lewandowski who is a massive player for them.

We all know Napoli lost Edinson Cavani this summer but replaced him with Gonzalo Higuain. I don’t know a huge amount about them to be honest but they did finish second in Serie A last season and only reached the first knockout stage of the Europa League.

Marseille also finished second in their domestic league and did poorly in the Europa League, failing to get out of the group stages.

So we’re in a group where the teams finished second in their domestic leagues, and we finished fourth, qualifying through a play off against Fenerbahce.

So how do you think we’ll do? Are we far too weak to get out of the group? Or will Arsene work his magic once again and we’ll managed to qualify for the knockout stages?

Personally, I love playing against the best teams and they are the games which prove to be more exciting. We strive to be the best and playing the top teams around Europe is a massive challenge.

These are the games we live for and if anything these huge European nights will give us some highlights in our season. Of course, they could be disastrous nights also but in Europe I believe we can beat anyone on our night.

How Will Arsenal Fare Against Fenerbahce?

So the draw for the playoff round of the Champions League has been done and Arsenal will face Turkish side Fenerbahce. Well will travel to Turkey on Wednesday 21st August and then play in the home leg on Tuesday 27th August.

They finished second in The Turkish Super Lig last season and I won’t pretend to know a huge amount about them and maybe some of my more educated readers can say how tough it will be for us against them.

They do have a few familiar names in their side, including Joseph Yobo formerly of Everton, and ex-Liverpool players Raul Meireles and Dirk Kuyt. I’m sure the Liverpool fans would be pleased if one of their former players managed to inflict a painful blow in our quest for Champions League football next season, with the bitterness over the whole Suarez saga.

And they also have Bruno Alves who spent a long time at Porto.

I haven’t seen Fenerbahce in action much over the last few seasons but Turkish sides can make it hard to play against them and they only missed out on qualifying on last years Champions League competition by a single goal when they lost 3-2 (on aggregate) to Spartak Moscow last season.

So how do you think we’ll fare against them? Will they make it difficult for us and could we have got an easier draw?