Europe's biggest second-leg comebacks

FC Barcelona are 4-0 down going into their decider against FC Bayern München but, as discovers, three other sides have been in a similar position and progressed.

Madrid came back from the dead, and went on to win the 1985/86 UEFA Cup
Madrid came back from the dead, and went on to win the 1985/86 UEFA Cup ©Getty Images

A 4-0 defeat in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final represented a serious setback for FC Barcelona, but as they prepare for their home fixture against FC Bayern München all is not (quite) lost. Three teams have recovered from four-goal deficits to win ties in UEFA club competitions – as Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes knows only too well.

FC La Chaux-de-Fonds 6-2 Leixões SC
Leixões SC 5-0 FC La Chaux-de-Fonds
1961/62 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round
Leixões are best remembered for a 2-0 victory against near neighbours FC Porto in the 1961 Portuguese Cup final, with that result earning them a European Cup Winners' Cup place. Their continental debut saw Filipo Nuñez's side crushed 6-2 at La Chaux-de-Fonds, but the Swiss side buckled at the Estádio do Mar. Osvaldo Silva made it 2-0 before the break, with Oliveirinha – twice a scorer in the first leg – hitting two more either side of a Vandinho effort. Os Bébés remain the only side to overcome a four-goal European deficit without recourse to the away goals rule.

Queens Park Rangers FC 6-2 FK Partizan
FK Partizan 4-0 Queens Park Rangers FC
1984/85 UEFA Cup second round
Trounced at Arsenal FC's Highbury home, where QPR played their European games due to their artificial pitch at Loftus Road, success looked to be a formality for Alan Mullery's side in Belgrade. Yet goals from Dragan Mance, Dragan Kaličanin, Miodrag Ješić and Zvonko Živković upended the tie. "We got battered on the night," recalled QPR midfielder Gary Waddock. "We thought we had a big enough lead to get us through. We prepared properly, but the result shows you what can happen if you get off to a bad start the return leg in European football."

VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-1 Real Madrid CF
Real Madrid CF 4-0 VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach
1985/86 UEFA Cup third round
Madrid took quite a beating from a side coached by current Bayern boss Heynckes, but Jorge Valdano struck twice within the first 17 minutes of the second leg to put Luis Molowny's side in the hunt. Santillana added two more in the closing stages to complete a phenomenal comeback, and his side went on to beat 1. FC Köln in the final. Forward Juanito said: "I've been a Spanish international; I've played at two World Cups, I've won titles with Madrid, but this comeback tops the lot. It's the happiest day of my life."