Premier League teams have traditionally found it tough to beat the rest of Europe’s big clubs on their own turf – but Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Leeds United have all managed it.
It’s been common over the years to see several of England’s representatives in the latter stages of the Champions League, but only Manchester United twice, Liverpool and Chelsea have managed to win the competition since it’s rebrand.
Often the problem has been in winning away from home soil, but we’ve remembered a time seven of our clubs managed it, plus a few very memorable finals.
Juventus 2-3 Manchester United, 1999
Manchester United became the first English club to reach the European Cup final in 14 years by coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in Turin, but it was the performance of their skipper which still gets spoken about to this day.
Roy Keane’s booking meant the midfielder would miss the final, but the Irishman almost single-handedly dragged United into the final with a sublime individual display which included scoring the visitors’ first goal.
“It was the most emphatic display of selflessness I have seen on a football field,” Sir Alex Ferguson later commented. “Pounding over every blade of grass, competing as if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt it was an honour to be associated with such a player.”
Bayern Munich 1-2 Manchester United, 1999
“Football, bloody hell.”
Sir Alex Ferguson made plenty of memorable comments over the years, but these three words were perhaps his most apt.
United became renowned for their dramatic late escapes under the Scot, and this was undoubtedly the greatest as goals in the 91st and 92nd minute from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw the Red Devils snatch the Champions League from Bayern Munich’s grasp.
Bloody hell indeed.
Barcelona 1-2 Liverpool, 2007
Liverpool won at Real Madrid a couple of years after this, too, but the Barcelona team they beat in 2007 contained Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho. That alone should have made this win worth double points.
To make it even better, the Reds actually fell behind to an early Deco goal yet rallied to claim the win courtesy of Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise, who had fallen out before the game to such an extent that Bellamy smacked Riise’s arse with a golf club.
He celebrated in the only way he could…
AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool, 2005
You might have heard about this one. If you’re going to win your fifth European Cup, do it like this.
Just a reminder, Liverpool were 3-0 down at half-time to *this* AC Milan side: Dida, Cafu, Nesta, Stam, Maldini, Pirlo, Gattuso, Seedorf, Kaka, Shevchenko, Crespo. That is a frankly outrageous collection of talent.
But Carlo Ancelotti’s men couldn’t account for Didi Hamann replacing Steve Finnan at half-time, the desire of Steven Gerrard, or Jerzy Dudek’s jelly legs as Liverpool somehow won the most thrilling Champions League final of all time.
Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea, 2012
Chelsea’s Champions League’s hopes appeared over as this game entered stoppage time at the end of the first half.
Within two minutes of Sergio Busquets drawing Barcelona level on aggregate, John Terry had mindlessly got himself sent off in a moment of utter madness. Six minutes later, Andres Iniesta doubled the hosts’ lead.
Just as we can’t emphasise quite how stupid Terry was, we simply can’t do Ramires’ nonchalant chip justice – although Tom Victor has tried.
Chelsea were back level on aggregate with a crucial away goal, and the Blues then showed remarkable resilience to keep Lionel Messi and co at bay.
And we all know what happened next, as Fernando Torres made Gary Neville become the first broadcaster to have an orgasm live in the commentary box.
Ramires v's Barcelona, what a goal this was, unforgettable! pic.twitter.com/x8R52hEJXs
— Throwback Chelsea (@ThrowbackCFC) August 1, 2017
Bayern Munich 1-1 Chelsea, 2012
Thanks to his red card in Barcelona, John Terry was suspended for this one.
It’s worth remembering that Branislav Ivanovic, Raul Meireles and Ramires were also unavailable for the final, which was played in Bayern Munich’s backyard, meaning Ryan Bertrand made his Champions League debut by starting out of position on the left wing.
Chelsea showed the same resilience as they had at Camp Nou, but they appeared to be finally broken by Thomas Muller’s 83rd minute goal.
However, Didier Drogba had other ideas, equalising with a thunderous header before converting the winning penalty with ludicrous confidence.
Frank Lampard’s celebration remains one of our favourite ever videos – forget the team-mates, I’m going straight to the fans.
— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) June 20, 2017
Real Madrid 0-1 Arsenal, 2006
Winning 5-1 at San Siro certainly deserves a mention, but that featured the Invincibles beating an Inter side which failed to make it out of a group also containing Lokomotiv Moscow and Dynamo Kiev.
To put their win at the Bernabeu into context, Arsenal were forced to deploy a back four of Emmanuel Eboue, Kolo Toure, Philippe Senderos and Mathieu Flamini against a Real Madrid attack which featured David Beckham, Guti, Zinedine Zidane, Robinho, Ronaldo and substitute Raul.
In the midst of a 10-game run without conceding a goal, Arsenal’s makeshift defence held firm, and Thierry Henry stole the night with a goal which reminds you just how scarily good the Frenchman was.
AC Milan 0-1 Tottenham, 2011
Tottenham’s Champions League campaign under Harry Redknapp will always be remembered for the San Siro. It was against Inter when Gareth Bale announced himself as a world class talent by tormenting Maicon with his sensational hat-trick, but Spurs still lost that game 4-3.
But when they returned to the same ground in the round of 16, Spurs instead managed to keep things tight thanks to some excellent goalkeeping from Huerelho Gomes, before winning the tie as Peter Crouch finished off a swift counter-attack in the 80th minute.
Plus, Joe Jordan went toe-to-toe, or rather head-to-head, with Gennaro Gattuso. We absolutely loved that Tottenham side.
Roma 0-2 Manchester City, 2014
Manchester City are an ever-increasing force in the Champions League, and will surely win the thing at some point, but they were knocked out in the group stage at their first two attempts and made it beyond the round of 16 only once in their first six.
In 2014-15, City appeared to be staring down the barrel of group stage elimination again having collected only two points from their opening four fixtures, meaning they needed to win at Roma to pip the hosts to second place in Group E.
They travelled to Rome missing the spine of their team in Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero, while David Silva was only on the bench. Yet Mauricio Pellegrini’s men produced the perfect away performance, snatching a 2-0 victory thanks to second-half goals from Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko.
Anderlecht 1-4 Leeds United, 2001
Leeds’ sole Champions League campaign brought about some remarkable results: thrashing Besiktas 6-0, beating AC Milan at home and drawing at San Siro, holding Barcelona to a draw, winning at Lazio, beating Spanish champions Deportivo 3-0.
Given those fixtures, Anderlecht may not seem like the most illustrious opponents to select, but the Belgian outfit had won their past nine European ties at home. Even The Guardian could not help but gush that the win was “one of the finest results achieved by an English club on foreign soil”.
Leeds also managed to score a goal so fine it still makes our Nestor want to cry.
— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) February 21, 2017