AC Milan 1-2 Liverpool
AC Milan 1-2 Liverpool
in ,

Remembering every side to achieve a 100% record in a Champions League group stage

Liverpool’s 2-1 win over AC Milan on Tuesday night saw Jurgen Klopp’s side join an elite list of clubs to have achieved a perfect Champions League group stage campaign, having picked up maximum points from their six group games.

That not only saw them finish 11 points clear in what was tipped to be a potential ‘Group of Death’ – alongside Milan, Porto and La Liga champions Atletico Madrid – it also ensured they would record the best ever group stage performance in the competition by an English club.

Alongside Dutch giants Ajax, the Premier League outfit are one of the newest additions to the list of European clubs to have achieved a 100% group stage record in the continent’s most prestigious tournament.

Here’s a look then at every side to have achieved that feat in the competition’s history:

AC Milan – 1992/93

While the current AC Milan side have crashed out of the competition after finishing bottom of Group B, their forebearers managed to achieve a perfect group stage campaign in the inaugural Champions League season.

It was an entirely different format back in 1992, however, with a series of preliminary rounds and play-off ties whittling it down to just an eight-team group stage, leaving those remaining teams split into two groups with the winners progressing straight to the final.

In a group containing FC Porto, PSV Eindhoven and Swedish outfit IFK Goteborg, the Serie A giants scored 11 and conceded just once as they finished comfortably clear at the summit, albeit with Fabio Capello’s side going on to lose to Marseille in the showpiece.

Paris Saint-Germain – 1994/95

For many, Paris Saint-Germain only rose to wider prominence following their high profile takeover in 2011, although they had enjoyed something of a golden period in the mid-90’s, as illustrated by their impressive display in the 1994/95 Champions League campaign.

Led by eventual Ballon d’Or winner George Weah – who netted six group stage goals – the Ligue 1 side edged out German giants Bayern Munich to top spot in Group B, going on to beat Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate in the quarter-final’s – the format having been radically altered prior to the campaign.

Embed from Getty Images

The tournament debutants would suffer a 3-0 defeat to Milan in the last four, although tasted European glory a year later after winning the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup. The wait for a first Champions League honour still goes on for the Parisien outfit, however.

Spartak Moscow – 1995/96

In what was the first Champions League campaign to see three points for a win, Russian side Spartak Moscow finished with 18 points from a possible 18 in the 1995/96 season, a narrow 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on matchday one setting them on their way to a perfect streak.

Their winning run would include two thrashings of Rosenberg in successive games, with their biggest challenge in the group having come against second-placed Legia Warsaw, as Premier League champions Rovers finished rock-bottom – David Batty and Graeme Le Saux infamously fighting each other on the pitch in the loss in Moscow.

Having romped into the quarter-finals, much of Oleg Romantsev’s side was then sold over the winter break to derail any hope of progression, as they missed out on a place in the last four following a defeat to Nantes.

Barcelona – 2002/03

Two years after failing to even get out of the group – as Leeds United progressed at their expense – Barcelona bounced back with a perfect run in the 2002/03 campaign, topping a group that contained Lokomotiv Moscow, Club Brugge and Galatasary.

The Catalan giants – with a side containing the likes of Patrick Kluivert and Luis Enrique – made light work of that kind draw to secure a place in the second group phase, where they won five and lost just once to again top the group, ahead of Inter Milan, Newcastle and Bayer Leverkusen.

Embed from Getty Images

Amid that impressive European form, a dismal showing on the domestic front had cost manager Louis Van Gaal his job, with his replacement Radomir Antic arriving in February to steady the ship, although the Serbian would see his side knocked out by Juventus in a tight quarter-final clash.

Real Madrid – 2011/12

The most successful side in the competition’s history, 13-time European champions Real Madrid were the next club to achieve a 100% record in the group stage of the Champions League, blowing away the opposition in a blistering start to the 2011/12 campaign.

Spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo – and managed by serial-winner Jose Mourinho – Los Blancos dispatched their group opponents in ruthless fashion, beating Ajax 3-0 home and away; putting four past Lyon in the Bernabeu and also thrashing Dinamo Zagreb 6-2 in the Spanish capital.

Embed from Getty Images

Those two late consolation strikes by the Croatian side were the only goals that Mourinho’s men conceded in the group, scoring 19 as they powered their way to the last-16.

After thrashing CSKA Moscow and then Apoel Nicosia in the first two knockout rounds – notably beating the latter side 8-2 on aggregate – Madrid’s winning run came to an end in the semi-final against Bayern Munich and Manuel Neuer.

Real Madrid – 2014/15

The La Liga giants are currently the only side to have achieved the feat twice, doing so three years later under Carlo Ancelotti, the Italian having guided the club to the much-coveted ‘La Decima’ the previous season.

An opening game 5-1 thrashing of Basel set the tone for another dominant group stage showing from the holders, eventually finishing 11 points clear of the Swiss side at the summit, with Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side finishing in a disappointing third place.

Ancelotti’s men would power their way to the last four after a 5-4 aggregate win over Schalke, followed by a 1-0 triumph over rivals Atletico, before they were denied a place in a second successive final as they were dumped out by Juventus.

Bayern Munich – 2019/20

The Bavarian giants have been almost faultless both domestically and in Europe in recent seasons, memorably clinching the Champions League title during the 2019/20 campaign, following a simply dominant showing right from the outset.

In a group stage campaign in which they netted 24 goals, the highlight undoubtedly came at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in which put seven past the 2019 finalists, former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry memorably netting four second-half goals as the Bundesliga side ran riot.

Embed from Getty Images

They would inflict further misery on another London side in the last-16 – beating Frank Lampard’s Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate – before a standout display in the one-legged quarter-final win over Barcelona saw them run out 8-2 winners.

In that pandemic-impacted post-season extravaganza, Hansi Flick’s side beat Lyon a few days later, before edging past Paris Saint-Germain in the final, with Kingsley Coman netting the game’s solitary goal against his former club.

Liverpool – 2020/21

It remains to be seen where Liverpool when end up in what’s been an impressive Champions League campaign thus far, although they have emerged as one of the early favourites after making light work of a tough-looking group.

Such was their dominance, the Anfield outfit had secured their progression with two games to spare, leaving AC Milan, Porto and Atletico to fight out below them for second place.

While the 2019 champions have breezed through the group, it hasn’t been all plain-sailing, the Reds showing great resilience to come from behind on matchday one against Milan to secure a 3-2 victory, while just about edging proceedings in a breathless encounter in the Spanish capital a few weeks later.

Embed from Getty Images

Ajax – 2020/21

Ajax have also marched their way into the last-16 with a remarkable and largely unexpected showing in Group C, clinching top spot ahead of Portuguese champions Sporting CP and Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund – who have dropped into the Europa League.

The free-scoring Dutch giants have produced a string of fine results thus far, setting the tone for what was to follow with a 5-1 win away in Lisbon on matchday one, while they’ve since put four past Dortmund and again thrashed Sporting – this time on home soil – in the final group game.

The surprise star of the tournament thus far has been Sebastian Haller, the former West Ham United flop having netted ten of his side’s 20 goals in the competition, becoming the first player to score in each of his first six games in the Champions League.

Credit must also go to reported Manchester United managerial target Erik Ten Hag, the 51-year-old once again enjoying success on the European stage after his previous run to the last four in 2019.

Embed from Getty Images

Bayern Munich – 2021/22

As they managed to do two years earlier, Bayern Munich have swept their way through the group stage in perfect fashion, with Julian Nagelsmann’s side coming out on top in a group containing the likes of Portuguese side Benfica and La Liga powerhouse Barcelona.

With nine goals in those six games, prolific talisman Robert Lewandowski has once again been integral for the German giants, his tally this season having only been bettered by the aforementioned Haller (10).

They set the tone for what would prove to be a devastatingly dominant group stage with a 3-0 victory at the Nou Camp, before following that up with a 5-0 thrashing of Dynamo Kyiv and then hitting four past Benfica, netting 12 without conceding in their first three group games.

It’s been pretty smooth sailing since then, with Nagelsmann and co tipped to enjoy a strong run in the knockout stages of the competition as one of the tournament favourites.

Read – Champions League Team of the Week – Matchday six

Read Also – Champions League Nights: Gerrard rescues Reds on path to Istanbul

Subscribe to our social channels:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments