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Ranking the six longest unbeaten runs in Champions League history

Bayern Munich secured Champions League success last season in record-breaking fashion, becoming the first team in history to lift the trophy after winning every single fixture in the competition.

The holders have made an ominous start to the current campaign and have now stretched their unbeaten record to 16 games, setting a new record of 15 consecutive victories in the competition before last night’s 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid.

Thomas Muller’s penalty extended their run without defeat, but how does the current champion’s sequence compare to the tournament’s longest runs without defeat.

Here are the six longest unbeaten runs in Champions League history:

Bayern Munich – 16 games*

The current holders of the competition stretched their run to an impressive 16 games by securing a point in the Spanish capital last night, with only three teams in history having ever amassed a longer unbeaten run.

Bayern became the first team in history to win the Champions League by winning every single fixture last season, breezing through the group stage in flawless fashion before overcoming Chelsea 7-1 over two legs in the last 16.

The unprecedented hiatus of the campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic saw the latter stages reformatted into one-legged fixtures, though Bayern made no mistake in thrashing both Barcelona and Lyon to reach the final – the former defeated 8-2 in one of the most remarkable results in Champions League history.

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Kingsley Coman scored the only goal of the game in the final to defeat former side Paris Saint-Germain and crown Bayern champions of Europe for a sixth time, with Hansi Flick’s side currently 16 games without defeat after securing progress from a group containing Atletico, Red Bull Salzburg and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Manchester United – 16 games

Manchester United enjoyed two sequences of 16 games without defeat at arguably the height of Sir Alex Ferguson’s glittering reign with the club, the Red Devils dominating the Premier League and emerging as perennial contenders for Europe’s biggest prize in the late nineties and early 2000’s.

United’s first run began during the 1997/98 campaign after two draws with Monaco in the last eight, exiting the competition on away goals before returning stronger the following season to lift the trophy.

Ferguson’s side were crowned as champions of Europe for the first time in over three decades as part of a historic treble-winning season, winning the Champions League in stunning style and remaining unbeaten throughout despite facing the likes of Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

The club’s run ended with a group stage defeat in Marseille during the 1999/2000 season, though they compiled another 16-game sequence just two years later.

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United’s second run remarkably lasted exactly a calendar year and started and ended with victories over Olympiakos, a shock 3-0 defeat to Maccabi Haifa ending their undefeated record.

Barcelona – 16 games

Barcelona’s 2010/11 vintage are regarded by many as the greatest club side the game has seen, a phenomenally gifted outfit containing the talents of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

It was during that triumphant campaign that Barcelona began their longest run in the Champions League without defeat, overturning a first-leg defeat to Arsenal in the last 16 before going on to lift the trophy.

The Spanish side defeated arch-rivals Real Madrid in the last four, before outclassing Manchester United in the Wembley final in a devastating display of tiki-taka.

Pep Guardiola’s side breezed through the next season’s group stages in unbeaten fashion before making light work of Bayer Leverkusen and Milan over two legs, the former memorably thrashed 7-1 at the Camp Nou with Messi scoring five times.

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The Catalans run was ended with a first leg defeat to Chelsea in the last four as Didier Drogba scored the only goal of the game at Stamford Bridge, the west London side upsetting the odds to reach the final and become champions of Europe for the first time.

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Bayern Munich – 19 games

The current Bayern Munich side are just four games away from equalling the club’s longest unbeaten run in the Champions League, a sequence of 19 games compiled between March 2001 and April 2002.

Bayern’s run began following a 3-0 loss to Lyon in the now defunct second group stage and saw the German giants go on to win the tournament in 2001, beating Manchester United – conquerors in the final two years earlier – and Real Madrid in the knockout stages before a shoot-out success over Valencia in Milan.

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The holders remained unbeaten throughout both group stages in 2001/02 before winning the first leg of their quarter-final meeting with Real Madrid, only for the Spanish giants to fight back in the return and progress as goals from Ivan Helguera and Guti ended Bayern’s run at the Bernabeu.

Ajax – 19 games

Ajax’s formidable side of the mid-nineties shares Bayern’s record of 19 games without defeat, the joint-second longest unbeaten record in the history of the Champions League.

Louis van Gaal led an exciting side which featured emerging stars such as Clarence Seedorf, Marc Overmars and Patrick Kluivert, enjoying arguably the greatest season in Ajax’s history and making a huge impression on the continent.

Ajax were crowned as champions of Europe for the first time since the club’s golden era of the seventies, completing their Champions League campaign unbeaten with Kluivert becoming the youngest ever final goalscorer to decide the 1995 showpiece against Milan.

It was a stunning success for a side who also lifted the Eredivisie without losing a single fixture, stretching their Champions League record into the following campaign before a semi-final first leg loss to Panathinaikos.

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Ajax overturned the clash against the Greeks in the second leg to reach a second successive final, though suffered final defeat to Juventus via a penalty shoot-out in Rome.

Manchester United – 25 games

Manchester United hold the record for the longest ever Champions League run without defeat, a huge 25 games stretched over two seasons between September 2007 and May 2009.

After crashing out in the semi-finals the previous season, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side enjoyed a superb 2007/08 campaign to win a Premier League and Champions League double, remaining unbeaten in Europe and defeating Chelsea on penalties in the first ever all-English final in Moscow.

Their run to success included victories over Lyon and Roma in the knockout stages, before Paul Scholes’ stunning second leg winner proved the difference in a tight semi-final against Barcelona.

United – fired by an attacking line-up including Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney – progressed through to a second successive showpiece the following season to set a new record for games without defeat, overcoming the likes of Inter Milan and Arsenal to set up another meeting with Barcelona.

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The Spanish giants prevailed in Rome as goals from Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi ended the Red Devils record-breaking run, a sequence which stretched almost two entire Champions League campaigns.

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