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UEFA Champions League

Top 5 underdog runs in UEFA Champions League history

Published at :June 12, 2023 at 6:10 AM
Modified at :June 12, 2023 at 6:10 AM
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Jimit Bhavsar


Only one team won the championship that season

The UEFA Champions League is the most prestigious club competition. Many big clubs like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Liverpool, and much more have won it numerous times. Real Madrid has dominated the competition, winning it 14 times. However, the beauty of the competition is that any team can win it, no matter which team.

Those teams are referred to as the "underdogs" of the tournament who win or either progress in the UCL against all odds. Today, let's take a look at the top 5 underdogs in the UEFA Champions League.

5. Inter Milan - 2022-23

Inter Milan were placed in the 2022–23 UEFA Champions League group stage with FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Viktoria Pilzen. Inter managed to finish second in the group with 10 points.

Inter Milan beat Porto, Benfica, and AC Milan en route to the final of the UEFA Champions League. The biggest challenge was to beat AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League semifinal. Overall, Inter Milan beat AC Milan four times in 2023, which includes two wins in both legs of the UCL semifinals.

Moreover, Inter Milan did not concede a single goal and beat AC Milan 3-0 over two legs. Inter Milan are also in the Coppa Italia finals, which sums up their season. Despite how it seems on paper, Inter Milan vs. Manchester City in the finals will be a good bout.

4. Borussia Dortmund - 2012-13

The only team that can rival Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga Back in the 2012/13 season of the UEFA Champions League, the final was "Der Klassiker" between FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Despite Borussia Dortmund losing the final, their run to the final was iconic.

Borussia Dortmund had a difficult group in the UCL with Real Madrid, Ajax, and Manchester City. Despite this, Borussia Dortmund topped the group with 14 points. Dortmund faced Shakhtar Donetsk, Malaga, and Real Madrid en route to the final. Their most difficult match was the semi-final against Real Madrid. Robert Lewandowski pulled off an excellent performance, bagging four goals in the first leg of their semifinal against Real Madrid. This ensured a captivating run despite Borussia Dortmund losing the final.

3. Monaco - 2003-04

The French team had a decent group in the 2003-04 season of the UEFA Champions League. They were placed along with PSV Eindhoven, AEK Athens, and Deportivo. Monaco finished first in the group, which included a thrashing win over Deportivo with eight goals.

Monaco faced Lokomotiv Moscow, Real Madrid, and Chelsea en route to the final. The toughest match was the Real Madrid-Chelsea match. Real Madrid led 5-1 at one point in the quarterfinals. However, Monaco did not give up and scored four goals to settle the tide. This pulled off the biggest upset in the tournament, as Monaco beat Spanish giants Real Madrid.

They then progressed to face Chelsea in the semi-finals. Monaco once again pulled off another upset as they beat Chelsea 5-3 on aggregate. Despite losing in the final against Mourinho's Porto, Monaco pulled off an iconic run in the UEFA Champions League.

2. Porto - 2003-04

Jose Mourinho has a knack for developing teams and players from scratch. This has earned him the reputation of the special one" in football. Jose's most commendable achievement includes winning the UEFA Champions League with Porto in the 2003-04 season.

The 2003-04 UCL season had tonnes of underdogs, such as Porto themselves, Monaco, Lyon, and Deportivo. Porto were placed alongside the likes of Real Madrid, Marseille, and Partizan in the group stage. They then proceeded to beat Manchester United, Lyon, and Deportivo en route to the final. Porto then dominated and beat Monaco in the final to win their second UCL title.

1. Ajax - 2018-19

The 2018-19 UEFA Champions League season was very entertaining, with many end-to-end matches. This includes the infamous Liverpool comeback against FC Barcelona as well. However, Ajax stole the show in the 2018/19 season despite losing to Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-finals.

Ajax were placed alongside Bayern Munich, AEK Athens, and Benfica in the group stage. Ajax held Bayern Munich to a draw not only once but twice. That feat is commendable in itself, but what they pulled off afterwards is more astounding. Ajax lost their first leg in the Round of 16 against Real Madrid.

The Dutch leaders did not give up and pulled off a big upset, beating Real Madrid 5-3 on aggregate. They then proceeded to beat Juventus 3-2 on aggregate in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, their iconic run ended when Lucas Moura scored a hat-trick to end their title-winning hopes.

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