It has become increasingly difficult to retain the Champions' Cup. Whereas in the first twenty years of its existence, a prolonged dominance for one club was common-place, there hasn't been a successful defence since the introduction of the Champions League in the early nineties.
The following series of consecutive wins have been achieved:
5 (1955/56-1959/60) Real Madrid 3 (1970/71-1972/73) Ajax (1973/74-1975/76) Bayern München 2 (1960/61-1961/62) Benfica (1963/64-1964/65) Internazionale (1976/77-1977/78) Liverpool (1978/79-1979/80) Nottingham Forest (1988/89-1989/90) Milan
Other series: the city of Milano won the trophy in 3 consecutive seasons (1962/63 Milan, then twice Inter), the Netherlands won it 4 seasons in a row (1969/70 Feĳenoord, then thrice Ajax), and England brought the Cup home in 6 consecutive years, the longest stretch by one country (the double wins of Liverpool and Forest were followed by Liverpool again in 1980/81 and Aston Villa in 1981/82).
In 1997/98, Juventus became the first team to lose consecutive finals; Valencia were the second team to do that in 2000/01, which also was the first final to feature both losers of the previous two finals.
The first (and so far only) time the winners of the previous two finals met in a final was 1961/62 (Benfica beating Real Madrid 5-3 in arguably the best ever Champions' Cup final). Other finals to have included two teams that had been present in the previous two finals: 1989/90 (Milan winners 1989, Benfica losers 1988) and 1993/94 (Milan losers 1993, Barcelona winners 1992).
While defending the trophy may have become harder, unbeaten winners became more and more common until the mid-nineties; the changed Champions' League format appears to have made it more difficult again. Nevertheless, unbeaten winners nowadays are more common than in the first twenty years of the tournament, in which it happens only twice. All unbeaten winners with their P-W-D-L-F-A records:
1963/64 Internazionale 9 7 2 0 16- 6 1971/72 Ajax 9 7 2 0 14- 3 1978/79 Nottingham Forest 9 6 3 0 19- 7 1980/81 Liverpool 9 6 3 0 24- 4 [away] 1983/84 Liverpool 9 7 2 0 15- 3 [pen] 1988/89 Milan 9 5 4 0 20- 5 [pen] 1990/91 Crvena zvezda 9 5 4 0 18- 7 [pen] 1992/93 Olympique Marseille 11 7 4 0 25- 4 1993/94 Milan 12 7 5 0 21- 2 1994/95 Ajax 11 7 4 0 18- 4 1998/99 Manchester United 13 6 7 0 31-16 2005/06 Barcelona 13 9 4 0 24- 5 2007/08 Manchester United 13 9 4 0 20- 6 [pen]
Note: [away] marks campaigns that involved progressing at least once on the away goals rule; [pen] marks campaigns requiring at least one penalty shoot-out.
Ajax, Liverpool, Manchester United and Milan are the only teams to have won the trophy unbeaten twice; of those four, only Ajax did not require penalty shoot-outs in either case.
Since the traditional Champions' Cup was transformed into the Champions League, no winners have managed to defend their title, a situation reminiscent of the Cup Winners' Cup Jinx: no club ever managed to defend the Cup Winners' Cup. Since the 1991/92 season, when the Champions League was introduced, the holders have reached the final on 4 occasions but always ended up on the losing side:
Milan: winners in 1993/94, lost 1994/95 final to Ajax; Ajax: winners in 1994/95, lost 1995/96 final to Juventus; Juventus: winners in 1995/96, lost 1996/97 final to Borussia Dortmund; Manchester United:winners in 2007/08, lost 2008/09 final to Barcelona.Milan and Ajax also reached the Cup Winners' Cup final once as holders, in which they faced rank outsiders (1.FC Magdeburg and KV Mechelen respectively), but failed to defend their trophy.
Below we list all clubs to have entered the Champions' Cup or
Champions League (including qualifiers) on at least 15 occasions.
Note that seasons in which a club withdrew before playing a single match (such as a number of Eastern European clubs in 1968/69) are not included.
All numbers up to and including the 2014/15 season.
45 Real Madrid 34 Benfica 32 Anderlecht 31 Ajax Bayern München Dynamo Kyiv 30 Rangers 29 Celtic Juventus FC Porto 28 Milan Olympiakos (Piraeus) 27 CSKA (Sofia) (CDNA, Sredets) Linfield Panathinaikos 25 Barcelona Manchester United Sparta Praha 24 PSV (Eindhoven) 23 Fenerbahçe Galatasaray Steaua Bucuresti 22 Crvena zvezda Beograd Jeunesse d'Esch 21 Liverpool Rosenborg BK 20 Partizan Beograd 19 Arsenal Austria Wien Internazionale 18 Dinamo Bucuresti Omonia (Lefkosia) Sporting (Lisboa) 17 Besiktas Dinamo Zagreb HJK (Helsinski) Spartak Moskva 16 FC Basel Feyenoord 15 Club Brugge IFK Göteborg Grasshoppers Levski (Sofia) (Levski-Spartak, Vitosha) Rapid Wien Shakhtar Donetsk VallettaSee also the section on consecutive participations.
Below we list all clubs to have entered the Champions League group
stage (so not counting the qualifying rounds) at least 5 times since
the first edition in 1991/92.
All numbers up to and including the 2014/15 season.
Note that Dynamo Kyiv's entry in 1995/96, when they were disqualified for attempted bribery and replaced by AaB, is not included.
20 Barcelona 19 Manchester United FC Porto Real Madrid 18 Bayern München 17 Arsenal Milan 16 Olympiakos (Piraeus) 15 Dynamo Kyiv Juventus 13 Ajax Chelsea Galatasaray PSV (Eindhoven) 12 Anderlecht Olympique Lyonnais 11 Benfica Internazionale Rosenborg BK Spartak Moskva 10 Borussia Dortmund Panathinaikos Rangers Shakhtar Donetsk 9 Bayer Leverkusen Liverpool Olympique Marseille Valencia 8 Celtic CSKA Moskva Roma Sparta Praha 7 Paris Saint-Germain Schalke 04 Steaua Bucuresti Werder Bremen 6 FC Basel Fenerbahçe AS Monaco Sporting (Lisboa) 5 Atlético Madrid Besiktas Deportivo (La Coruña) Lille OSC Zenit Sankt PeterburgSee also the section on consecutive participations.
Bayer Leverkusen and Liverpool share the peculiar record of most (9) entries in spite of never winning their domestic league since the Champions League was introduced.
The record number of consecutive participations in the Champions' Cup is 20, a series by Dynamo Kyiv. All clubs to play at least 4 times in succession in the Champions' Cup (including preliminary rounds for the Champions League):
20 Dynamo Kyiv (1993/94-2012/13) 18 Manchester United (1996/97-2013/14) Real Madrid (1997/98-2014/15) 17 Arsenal (1998/99-2014/15) 15 Real Madrid (1955/56-1969/70) Shakhtar Donetsk (2000/01-2014/15) 13 Olympiakos (Piraeus) (1997/98-2009/10) Olympique Lyonnais (1999/00-2011/12) 12 PSV (1997/98-2008/09) Chelsea (2003/04-2014/15) 11 Rosenborg BK (1995/96-2005/06) Barcelona (2004/05-2014/15) 10 Dynamo Berlin (1979/80-1988/89) Bayern München (1997/98-2006/07) Celtic (2001/02-2010/11) Sheriff Tiraspol (2001/02-2010/11) Internazionale (2002/03-2011/12) Pyunik Yerevan (2002/03-2011/12) 9 Celtic (1966/67-1974/75) Liverpool (1976/77-1984/85) Rangers (1989/90-1997/98) Skonto Riga (1997/98-2005/06) Sparta Praha (1997/98-2005/06) Dinamo Zagreb (2006/07-2014/15) 8 Anderlecht (2003/04-2010/11) BATE Barysau (2007/08-2014/15) 7 CSKA (Sofia) (1956/57-1962/63) FC Porto (1995/96-2001/02) Galatasaray (1997/98-2003/04) Maribor Branik (1997/98-2003/04) Ajax (2001/02-2007/08) FC Porto (2003/04-2009/10) Bayern München (2008/09-2014/15) Partizan Beograd (2008/09-2014/15) 6 Benfica (1960/61-1965/66) Újpest Dózsa (1970/71-1975/76) Linfield (1982/83-1987/88) Steaua Bucuresti (1993/94-1998/99) Barcelona (1997/98-2002/03) Spartak Moskva (1997/98-2002/03) Juventus (2000/01-2005/06) [punished by FIGC after 2005/06] FBK Kaunas (2000/01-2005/06) Milan (2002/03-2007/08) Liverpool (2004/05-2009/10) FC København (2009/10-2014/15) 5 Górnik Zabrze (1963/64-1967/68) Anderlecht (1964/65-1968/69) Bayern München (1972/73-1976/77) Jeunesse d'Esch (1973/74-1977/78) Omonia Nicosia (1975/76-1978/79) [withdrew from 1974/75 competition] Omonia Nicosia (1981/82-1985/86) Steaua Bucuresti (1985/86-1989/90) Real Madrid (1986/87-1990/91) Sparta Praha (1987/88-1991/92) Brøndby IF (1996/97-2000/01) Deportivo (La Coruña) (2001/02-2005/06) Benfica (2003/04-2007/08) Fenerbahçe (2004/05-2008/09) Werder Bremen (2004/05-2008/09) F91 Dudelange (2005/06-2009/10) Sporting (Lisboa) (2005/06-2009/10) Olympique Marseille (2007/08-2011/12) Rangers (2007/08-2011/12) Panathinaikos (2008/09-2012/13) Ekranas Panevezys (2009/10-2013/14) Milan (2009/10-2013/14) Ajax (2010/11-2014/15) FC Basel (2010/11-2014/15) Benfica (2010/11-2014/15) HJK (Helsinki) (2010/11-2014/15) Zenit Sankt Peterburg (2010/11-2014/15) 4 Young Boys (Bern) (1957/58-1960/61) Dukla Praha (1961/62-1964/65) Dinamo Bucuresti (1962/63-1965/66) Internazionale (1963/64-1966/67) Saint Etienne (1967/68-1970/71) Ajax (1970/71-1973/74) Viking (Stavanger) (1973/74-1976/77) Austria (Wien) (1978/79-1981/82) CSKA (Sofia) (1980/81-1983/84) Olympiakos (Piraeus) (1980/81-1983/84) Shamrock Rovers (1984/85-1987/88) Górnik Zabrze (1985/86-1988/89) PSV (1986/87-1989/90) Olympique Marseille (1989/90-1992/93) [banned from 1993/94 competition] Barcelona (1991/92-1994/95) Steaua Bucuresti (1993/94-1996/97) IFK Göteborg (1994/95-1997/98) Juventus (1995/96-1998/99) Anorthosis Famagusta (1997/98-2000/01) Dinamo Zagreb (1997/98-2000/01) Bayer Leverkusen (1999/00-2002/03) Club Brugge (2002/03-2005/06) Steaua Bucuresti (2005/06-2008/09) Levski Sofia (2006/07-2009/10) Levadia Tallinn (2007/08-2010/11) Sparta Praha (2007/08-2010/11) FC Twente (2008/09-2011/12) Borussia Dortmund (2011/12-2014/15) Manchester City (2011/12-2014/15) Maribor (2011/12-2014/15) Skënderbeu Korçë (2011/12-2014/15)
Since 1991/92 the Champions' Cup has included a Champions League group
stage, initially with 8 clubs (corresponding to the quarterfinals of the
tournament), meanwhile with 32 clubs. The following clubs have reached
this league stage of the competition in at least 3 successive seasons.
While the two current record holders are unsurprising, Rosenborg BK deserve a special mention: in 2002, they became the first club to establish a series of 8 (and earlier 6 and 7) consecutive qualifications for the (first) group stage.
18 Manchester United (1996/97-2013/14) Real Madrid (1997/98-2014/15) 17 Arsenal (1998/99-2014/15) 12 PSV (1997/98-2008/09) Olympique Lyonnais (2000/01-2011/12) Chelsea (2003/04-2014/15) 11 Olympiakos (Piraeus) (1997/98-2007/08) Barcelona (2004/05-2014/15) 10 Bayern München (1997/98-2006/07) Internazionale (2002/03-2011/12) 8 Rosenborg BK (1995/96-2002/03) Dynamo Kyiv (1997/98-2004/05) 7 Galatasaray (1997/98-2003/04) FC Porto (2003/04-2009/10) Bayern München (2008/09-2014/15) 6 Barcelona (1997/98-2002/03) Juventus (2000/01-2005/06) [punished by FIGC after 2005/06] Milan (2002/03-2007/08) Liverpool (2004/05-2009/10) 5 FC Porto (1995/96-1999/00) Spartak Moskva (1998/99-2002/03) Deportivo La Coruña (2000/01-2004/05) Werder Bremen (2004/05-2008/09) Olympique Marseille (2007/08-2011/12) Milan (2009/10-2013/14) Ajax (2010/11-2014/15) Benfica (2010/11-2014/15) Shakhtar Donetsk (2010/11-2014/15) 4 Juventus (1995/96-1998/99) Bayer Leverkusen (1999/00-2002/03) Ajax (2002/03-2005/06) Anderlecht (2003/04-2006/07) Dynamo Kyiv (2006/07-2009/10) Borussia Dortmund (2011/12-2014/15) Manchester City (2011/12-2014/15) Olympiakos (2011/12-2014/15) Porto (2011/12-2014/15) Zenit Sankt-Peterburg (2011/12-2014/15) 3 Milan (1992/93-1994/95) Spartak Moskva (1993/94-1995/96) Ajax (1994/95-1996/97) Steaua Bucuresti (1994/95-1996/97) Borussia Dortmund (1995/96-1997/98) Sturm Graz (1998/99-2000/01) Lazio (1999/00-2001/02) Sparta Praha (1999/00-2001/02) Lokomotiv Moskva (2001/02-2003/04) Panathinaikos (2003/04-2005/06) Sparta Praha (2003/04-2005/06) Benfica (2005/06-2007/08) Celtic (2006/07-2008/09) AS Roma (2006/07-2008/09) Shahtar Donetsk (2006/07-2008/09) Sporting (Lisboa) (2006/07-2008/09) Steaua Bucuresti (2006/07-2008/09) Valencia (2010/11-2012/13) Anderlecht (2012/13-2014/15) Galatasaray (2012/13-2014/15) Juventus (2012/13-2014/15) Paris Saint-Germain (2012/13-2014/15) Schalke 04 (2012/13-2014/15)
The worst finish a European Champions' Cup winner ever achieved in their domestic league in their winning season was 11th, by Aston Villa in 1981/82:
English First Division 1981/82 11.Aston Villa 42 15 12 15 55-53 42The second-worst finish, and the only one with a record under 50%, is that of Bayern München in 1974/75:
German 1.Bundesliga 1974/75 10.Bayern München 34 14 6 14 57-63 34The worst finish of a Champions League winner was fifth, which happened twice, in Spain 1999/00 and England 2004/05:
Spanish La Liga 1999/00 5.Real Madrid 38 16 14 8 58-48 62 English Premier League 2004/05 5.Liverpool 38 17 7 14 52-41 58As a result, neither Madrid nor Liverpool qualified directly for the next edition but whereas in Spain Real Zaragoza (4th in the league 1999/00) were relegated to the UEFA Cup so that Real Madrid could defend their trophy, the English FA pressurised UEFA into admitting both Everton (4th in the league 2004/05) and Liverpool (on a wild card).
All Champions' Cup winners bar Bayern 1974/75 and Villa 1981/82 finished among the first 3 of their national championship with the exception of Nottingham Forest (5th in 1979/80), Liverpool (5th in 1980/81 and in 2004/05), Juventus (6th in 1984/85), Real Madrid (4th in 1997/98 and 5th in 1999/2000) and Milan (4th in 2006/07).
Among the multiple winners, Barcelona are the only one to have won all their Cups as domestic champions; Ajax were Dutch champions in 3 of their 4 Champions' Cup winning campaigns (2nd in 1970/71, their first win).
In all, the double of Champions' Cup and domestic league has been won on 27 occasions by 15 different teams:
Barcelona (5 times, 1991/92, 2005/06, 2008/09, 2010/11 and 2014/15), Ajax (3 times, 1971/72, 1972/73 and 1994/95), Bayern München (3 times, 1973/74, 2000/01 and 2012/13), Real Madrid (twice, 1956/57 and 1957/58), Liverpool (twice, 1976/77 and 1983/84), Manchester United (twice, 1998/99 and 2007/08), Internazionale (twice, 1964/65 and 2009/10), Benfica (1960/61), Celtic (1966/67), Hamburger SV (1982/83), Steaua Bucuresti (1985/86), PSV (1987/88), Crvena zvezda Beograd (1990/91), Milan (1993/94) and FC Porto (2003/04).
Seven of the above made the double of Champions' Cup and domestic league into a treble, adding the domestic cup; only Barcelona did it twice (2008/09 and 2014/15); the other six: Celtic (1966/67), Ajax (1971/72), PSV (1987/88), Manchester United (1998/99), Internazionale (2009/10) and Bayern München (2012/13). Celtic, Ajax, PSV, Barcelona, Internazionale and Bayern München thereby won all competitions they entered in their season; Celtic also won the Scottish League Cup 1966/67 (as well as the Glasgow Cup), for which there is no Dutch, Spanish or Italian equivalent; Manchester United did not win the English League Cup 1998/99.
Barcelona managed a unique feat by also winning all three bonus competitions in the next season: the Spanish Super Cup 2009 (for which they qualified as league champions) and the European Super Cup 2009 and FIFA World Club Cup 2009 (for which they qualified as Champions League winners 2008/09). Ajax performed a comparable feat by winning both the European Super Cup and the Intercontinental Club Cup (the predecessor of the FIFA World Club Cup) in 1972 (the Super Cup matches were played in January 1973); there was no Dutch Super Cup tournament at the time. Manchester United won the Intercontinental Club Cup 1999 but not the European Super Cup (losing to Lazio) while both Celtic and PSV failed to win the intercontinental trophy.
As an aside, Bayer Leverkusen managed to finish runners-up in all three competitions (Champions League, German League and German Cup) they entered in 2001/02. Bayern München emulated that feat in 2011/12 (one season later they won all three competitions).
Before the Champions League was introduced (and for half a decade afterwards), a country could (normally) only have two entrants in the Champions' Cup if one of its clubs won the competition but failed to win the domestic league. This occasionally led to meetings between clubs from the same country. It should be remarked that in the first two cases, Real Madrid had also won the Spanish league in 1956/57 and 1957/58, but UEFA admitted the runners-up, Sevilla and Atlético de Madrid respectively, to the Champions' Cup regardless.
From the 1997/98 season, league runners-up of the eight countries highest in the UEFA Coefficient Rankings can also qualify for the Champions League, and domestic ties became much more likely (cf. the section Runners-Up Stuff below); since the 1999/2000 season, six countries can enter three or four participants in the reformed Champions League. Spain managed to get three teams in the semifinals and for the first time ever, a 'domestic final' was played. Italy emulated this feat in 2002/03, and England in 2006/07 (but the fourth team, Milan, won the trophy) and 2007/08 (in which season no English club was eliminated by a non-English one). It would appear to be only a matter of time before one country manages to field all semifinalists (as already happened once in the UEFA Cup, in 1980), which then surely should be considered the final nail in the coffin of the original idea to have "champions" compete against each other.
Chelsea and Liverpool set a record for domestic meetings by playing each other in five consecutive seasons from 2004/05 to 2008/09 (implying that for half a decade they met as often in a European competition 'for champions' as in the domestic league, and that in spite of the fact that together the two clubs only managed two English championships in the relevant period of time). Other than those two, Real Madrid and Barcelona met in the Champions' Cup or League on four occasions (1959/60, 1960/61, 2001/02 and 2010/11).
All "domestic meetings" in the Champions' Cup or League:
1957/58 Spain Real Madrid v Sevilla [quarterf., 8-0 and 2-2] 1958/59 Spain Real Madrid v Atlético de Madrid [semif., 2-1, 0-1 and 2-1] 1959/60 Spain Real Madrid v Barcelona [semif., 3-1 and 3-1] 1960/61 Spain Real Madrid v Barcelona [2nd round, 2-2 and 1-2] 1978/79 England Nottingham Forest v Liverpool [1st round, 2-0 and 0-0] 1985/86 Italy Hellas Verona v Juventus [2nd round, 0-0 and 0-2] 1997/98 Germany Bayern München v Borussia Dortmund [quarterf., 0-0 and 0-1 aet] 1998/99 Germany Bayern München v 1.FC Kaiserslautern [quarterf., 2-0 and 4-0] 1999/00 Spain Valencia v Barcelona [semif., 4-1 and 1-2] 1999/00 Spain Real Madrid v Valencia [final, 3-0] 2001/02 Spain Barcelona v Real Madrid [semif., 0-2 and 1-1] 2002/03 Italy Internazionale v Milan [semif., 1-1 and 0-0] 2002/03 Italy Milan v Juventus [final, 0-0, 3-2pen] 2003/04 England Chelsea v Arsenal [quarterf., 1-1 and 2-1] 2004/05 Italy Milan v Internazionale [quarterf., 2-0 and 3-0 (awarded)] 2004/05 England Chelsea v Liverpool [semif., 0-0 and 0-1] 2005/06 England Liverpool v Chelsea [group stage, 0-0 and 0-0] 2006/07 England Chelsea v Liverpool [semif., 1-0 and 0-1 aet, 1-4 pen] 2007/08 England Arsenal v Liverpool [quarterf., 1-1 and 2-4] 2007/08 England Liverpool v Chelsea [semif., 1-1 and 2-3 aet] 2007/08 England Manchester United v Chelsea [final, 1-1 aet, 6-5 pen] 2008/09 England Chelsea v Liverpool [quarterf., 3-1 and 4-4] 2008/09 England Manchester United v Arsenal [semif., 1-0 and 3-1] 2009/10 France Olympique Lyon v Bordeaux [quarterf., 3-1 and 0-1] 2010/11 England Chelsea v Manchester United [quarterf., 0-1 and 1-2] 2010/11 Spain Real Madrid v Barcelona [semif., 0-2 and 1-1] 2012/13 Germany Bayern München v Borussia Dortmund [final, 3-2] 2013/14 Spain Barcelona v Atlético de Madrid [quarterf., 1-1 and 0-1] 2013/14 Spain Real Madrid v Atlético de Madrid [final, 4-1 aet] 2014/15 Spain Atlético de Madrid v Real Madrid [quarterf., 0-0 and 0-1] overview domestic ties in Europe
Real Madrid do not only hold the record of most wins; they are also the club who most often eliminated the defending champions: on no fewer than 8 occasions they managed to do this, in 5 of which they went on to win themselves. Together with CSKA (Sofia) they hold the distinction of performing this feat in consecutive seasons.
All clubs to eliminate the defending champions more than once (seasons in which they won themselves in bold):
8 Real Madrid (1963/64, 1965/66, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1997/98, 1999/00, 2001/02, 2013/14) 6 Juventus (1982/83, 1984/85, 1995/96, 2002/03, 2012/13, 2014/15) 3 Barcelona (1960/61, 1985/86, 2008/09) CSKA Sofia (1973/74, 1980/81, 1981/82) Dynamo Kyiv (1967/68, 1976/77, 1998/99) Internazionale (1966/67, 2004/05, 2009/10) 2 Milan (1962/63, 1968/69)
Most successful countries against the holders:
Italy 12 eliminations (Juventus 6, Internazionale 3, Milan 2, Sampdoria 1) Spain 12 (Real Madrid 8, Barcelona 3, Deportivo La Coruña 1) England 4 (Arsenal 1, Chelsea 1. Liverpool 1, Nottingham Forest 1) Bulgaria 3 (CSKA Sofia 3) Germany 3 (Bayern München 1, Borussia Dortmund 1, Schalke 04 1) Ukraine 3 (Dynamo Kyiv 3) Netherlands 2 (Ajax 1, Fe&307;enoord 1) Romania 2 (Dinamo Bucuresti 1, UT Arad 1)
No other country boasts more than one such elimination.
There have been quite a few penalty shootouts to decide the winners of the Champions' Cup in recent years. Here you'll find some records concerning them.
From the season 1997/98 on, runners-up from the 8 strongest leagues were allowed into the Champions' Cup. This led to a record of 3 German teams participating in the Cup, Borussia Dortmund as defending champions, Bayern München as German champions, and Bayer Leverkusen as German runners-up. This was emulated by Spain in 1998/99 as well as by England, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain in 1999/2000; however, Germany set a new record by entering 4 teams in the Champions' League group stage (the same three as in 1997/98 plus Hertha BSC). In fact Italy and Spain also entered four teams but saw one losing out in the last qualifying round. In 2000/01, Spain was the only country to enter four teams in the group stage, with Italy, Germany, France and England settling for three. It has since become common for two or three of the top-5 countries to enter 4 clubs in the group stage; England had a change to enter 5 in 2005/06 when Liverpool got a 'wild card' as holders but Everton (who had entered as fourth team in the 2004/05 league) failed to negotiate the final qualifying round.
In 1997/98, all three German teams reached the quarterfinal stage, which was a record. It was bettered in 1999/00, when Spain managed to field three semifinalists (a feat repeated in 2002/03 by Italy and in 2006/07 by England).
However, Bayer Leverkusen were not the first domestic runners-up to reach the quarterfinal stage. If we exclude the first competition 1955/56, in which many non-champions participated, that honour goes to Sevilla, who were admitted as Spanish runners-up in the 1957/58 edition and were only eliminated by champions and holders Real Madrid in the quarterfinal.
As for 1955/56, four clubs reached the quarterfinals who had not been champions in the previous domestic season, and one reached the semifinals, Hibernian, who had only finished 5th in the Scottish league 1954/55. The other three were Vörös Lobogo (Hungarian runners-up), Rapid Wien (third in Austria) and Partizan Beograd (5th in the previous Yugoslav season).
In 1958/59, Atlético de Madrid, runners-up in the Spanish league the previous season, even went one stage further, reaching the semifinals and forcing Spanish champions and holders Real Madrid to a play-off before bowing out of the competition.
The second team to reach the semifinals of the Champions' Cup without having won the domestic title or the Champions' Cup in the previous season was AS Monaco, who did so in 1993/94 in spite of having finished third in the French league in 1992/93 behind Olympique de Marseille, who had also won the Champions' Cup in 1992/93 but were banned in the wake of a bribery scandal, and Paris Saint-Germain, who declined taking Olympique's place in the Champions' Cup, preferring to play in the Cup Winners' Cup instead.
In 1998/99, both finalists of the Champions' League had qualified as runners-up of their domestic league 1997/98; Manchester United became the first team to win the Champions' Cup having entered as runners-up, taking that distinction from Bayern München by two goals in injury time.
Likewise, in 1999/00 neither finalist would have qualified for the tournament under the traditional rules: Real Madrid had finished 2nd in Spain in 1998/99, Valencia only fourth.
Monaco's record of reaching the semifinals as third placed team from their country was bettered by Valencia, who reached the final in 1999/2000 having entered as Spain's 4th placed team the season before and reached it again as 3rd placed team in 2000/01. In 2001/02, Bayer Leverkusen equalled Valencia's record by reaching the final after entering as Germany's 4th placed team. Milan improved on this by becoming the first team to win the Champions League 2003 following qualification as 4th place team in their domestic championship in the previous season, a feat emulated by Liverpool in 2004/05.
Atlético de Madrid hold another record: they are the only club who have won the Intercontinental Cup against the winners of the Copa Libertadores, in spite of not (and indeed never) having won the European Champions' Cup in the previous season, when they beat Independiente as stand-ins for Bayern München in 1974.
While Atlético are the only team with more intercontinental than continental titles, Nottingham Forest have more continental wins (2 Champions' Cups in 1979 and 1980) than domestic league titles (1, in 1977/78, directly following promotion from the second division).
1973/74, 1st round: Dinamo Bucuresti 11-0 Crusaders
1965/66, 1st round: Stade Dudelange 0-8 Benfica Benfica 10-0 Stade Dudelange Benfica win 18-0 on aggregate
1969/70, 1st round: Feĳenoord 12-2 KR (Reykjavik), total 14 goals
1965/66, 1st round: Stade Dudelange 0-8 Benfica Benfica 10-0 Stade Dudelange Benfica win 18-0 on aggregate, total 18 goals 1968/69, 2nd round: Reipas (Lahti) 1-9 Spartak Trnava Spartak Trnava 7-1 Reipas (Lahti) Spartak Trnava win 16-2 on aggregate, total 18 goals 1969/70, 1st round: Feĳenoord 12-2 KR (Reykjavik) KR (Reykjavik) 0-4 Feĳenoord (in Rotterdam) Feĳenoord win 16-2 on aggregate, total 18 goals 1979/80, 1st round: HJK (Helsinki) 1-8 Ajax Ajax 8-1 HJK (Helsinki) Ajax win 16-2 on aggregate, total 18 goals
1968/69, quarterf.: Ajax 1-3 Benfica Benfica 1-3 Ajax playoff: Ajax 3-0 Benfica (aet, in Paris)
Prepared and maintained by Karel Stokkermans for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
Author: Karel Stokkermans
Last updated: 11 Jun 2015
(C) Copyright Karel Stokkermans and RSSSF 1996/2015
You are free to copy this document in whole or part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the author. All rights reserved.