Benfica, Anderlecht, Atlético, Qarabağ, Olympiacos, Maribor, Feyenoord, Monaco, APOEL and Dortmund still have not won but teams have gone through in the past despite similar starts.
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Benfica, Anderlecht, Atlético Madrid, Qarabağ, Olympiacos, Maribor, Feyenoord, Monaco, APOEL and Borussia Dortmund would all have wanted a win by the halfway mark of this UEFA Champions League group stage – even so, do not write off their last-16 chances just yet.
No team with nine points from three matches have been eliminated under the current format introduced in 2003/04. And in all 37 teams have had zero points at the halfway mark: none advanced. But (and there is always a but) the season before that, Newcastle United went through after three initial losses.
How many have gone through or out on each points tally since 2003/04?
Points: Through-Out (% through)
0: 0-37 (0%)
1: 7-55 (11%)
2: 4-18 (18%)
3: 17-54 (24%)
4: 31-39 (44%)
5: 16-6 (73%)
6: 58-11 (84%)
7: 49-4 (92%)
9: 42-0 (100%)
Winless after three: did you know?
- Manchester City, on two points, also suffered defeat on matchday four in 2014/15 but still advanced by beating Bayern München and Roma.
- Roma did win on matchday four in 2015/16 but then lost 6-1 to Barcelona and scraped through with six points.
- No side winless after three games have picked up more than the ten points mustered by Bayer Leverkusen (2016/17), Gent (2015/16), Galatasaray (2012/13) and Liverpool (2007/08).
- Liverpool reached the semi-finals in 2007/08, the furthest any team without a win midway through the group stage has gone.
Teams who have made it through after not winning their first three games
Following defeats by Internazionale Milano and at Anorthosis Famagusta, a 2-2 home draw with Werder Bremen – caused by a late equaliser – did not bode well for Panathinaikos.
However, they then went to Germany and won 3-0 to move into third, before Josu Sarriegi's goal clinched a 1-0 victory at Inter. That meant Panathinaikos were second and only needed a point versus Anorthosis, something Giorgos Karagounis secured in a 1-0 success that took them above Inter. Villarreal eventually ended Panathinaikos's run in the last 16.
Arsenal began with a loss to Inter, 3-0 at home, and were then held 0-0 at Lokomotiv Moskva and beaten 2-1 at Dynamo Kyiv.
The Gunners were rock bottom, with Inter and Dynamo the top two, but the table would be turned upside down as the Londoners won all three remaining fixtures – including a 5-1 triumph in Milan – to qualify with Lokomotiv. Arsenal then overcame Celta Vigo (another side to have recovered from a winless first three outings) 5-2 on aggregate before a quarter-final exit to Chelsea.
The other teams who have made it through after not winning their first three games ...
Bayer Leverkusen: 2016/17 – 3 points (all draws) after 3 games, 10 points after 6, reached round of 16
Roma: 2015/16 – 2 points after 3 games, 6 points after 6, reached round of 16
Gent: 2015/16 – 1 points after 3 games, 10 points after 6, reached round of 16
Manchester City: 2014/15 –2 points after 3 games, 8 points after 6, reached round of 16
Galatasaray: 2012/13 – 1 point after 3 games, 10 points after 6, reached quarter-finals
Stuttgart: 2009/10 – 2 points after 3 games, 9 points after 6, reached round of 16
Liverpool: 2007/08 – 1 point after 3 games, 10 points after 6, reached semi-finals
Werder Bremen: 2005/06 – 1 point after 3 games, 7 points after 6, reached round of 16
Porto: 2004/05 as holders –1 point after 3 games, 8 points after 6, reached round of 16
Celta Vigo: 2003/04 – 2 points after 3 games, 9 points after 6, reached round of 16
The four teams knocked out despite managing seven points from their first three games ...
Porto: 2015/16 – had ten points after four games, but finished third after back-to-back 2-0 losses to Dynamo Kyiv and Chelsea
Rangers: 2007/08 – started with wins against Stuttgart and Lyon, who beat them in last two games
Marseille: 2007/08 – same group as Liverpool
CSKA Moskva: 2006/07 – did not concede a goal until matchday five