Champions League group stage perfection: Bayern make it six wins out of six again
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Bayern completed their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign with a 100% record – UEFA.com profiles the competition's previous perfectionists.
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AC Milan (1992/93)
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Milan won all four games in the first two rounds to reach the inaugural group stage, Marco van Basten scoring all four as they beat IFK Göteborg 4-0 on opening night. Single-goal wins followed away to PSV Eindhoven, away and home against Porto and at IFK, before PSV were beaten 2-0 at San Siro as Milan reached the final. There, Fabio Capello's men came up short, losing 1-0 to Marseille in Munich.
Paris Saint-Germain (1994/95)
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Luis Fernandez's Paris did not look back after George Weah and Daniel Bravo registered in a 2-0 Matchday 1 success against Bayern München, 2-1 victories away to both Spartak Moskva and Dynamo Kyiv putting them in control of their section.
Weah then struck the only goal at home to Dynamo and away to Bayern, and added two more as Spartak were humbled 4-1 in the concluding fixture. They then battled on to the last four, losing 3-0 on aggregate to AC Milan.
Spartak Moskva (1995/96)
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Spartak started with a pair of narrow wins, 1-0 at Blackburn Rovers and 2-1 at Legia Warszawa, but hit their stride against Rosenborg on Matchdays 3 and 4, rallying from two down at half-time to win 4-2 in Trondheim before a 4-1 home success.
Further wins against Blackburn (3-0) and Legia (1-0) gave Spartak a record 11-point winning margin, but that was as good as it got, Nantes eliminating Oleg Romantsev's side in the quarter-finals.
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A 3-2 triumph at home to Club Brugge on 18 September 2002 under Louis van Gaal set Barcelona off on a sequence of nine straight victories, a Champions League record until Bayern achieved a new mark in 2013/14. The run took in home and away wins against Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moskva, plus another slender success against Club Brugge, as Barça finished 11 points clear in their pool, equalling CSKA's record – which was then matched by Madrid in 2014/15.
They then made it through the second group stage, but were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Juventus.
Real Madrid (2011/12)
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José Mourinho's men kicked off with a 1-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb and were unstoppable thereafter, brushing aside Ajax 3-0 and Lyon 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabéu. A 2-0 triumph in Lyon followed before Dinamo became the first – and only – opponents to breach Madrid's defence in the group; unfortunately, by then the Croatians were 6-0 down.
A 3-0 stroll at Ajax completed the perfect set of six for Madrid, who would ultimately bow out to Bayern on penalties in the semis.
Real Madrid (2014/15)
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European champions for the tenth time in 2014, Carlo Ancelotti's side picked up where they had left off when they launched their title defence, inflicting a 5-1 defeat on Basel, and completed a second group stage clean sweep with a 4-0 defeat of Ludogorets – the 19th in a 22-game streak of victories in all competitions.
While their record-equalling run of ten Champions League wins ended with a 4-3 home loss to Schalke in their last-16 decider, Madrid battled on to the last four, where they were outmuscled by Juventus.
Bayern München (2019/20)
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Bayern topped all these teams on goal difference after a campaign in which they hit a record 16 away from home. Eight of those were scored by Robert Lewandowski, whose total of ten was only one short of the best ever. They saw off Crvena zvezda 3-0 at home before a stunning 7-2 victory at Tottenham Hotspur.
Against Olympiacos they won 3-2 away and 2-0 in Munich, then topped the group in style as Lewandowski plundered four in a 6-0 victory at Crvena zvezda. The perfect run was complete with a 3-1 defeat of Spurs, before Bayern went on to make history as the first team to lift the trophy after winning all six group games.
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The Dutch side raced out of the blocks on Matchday 1 with a head-turning 5-1 win at Sporting CP, driven to victory by four goals from Champions League debutant Sébastien Haller. The Ivory Coast striker went on to score in all six group games, becoming only the second player to achieve that feat after Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017/18.
The likes of Antony and Dušan Tadić also impressed as Ajax defeated Dortmund 4-0 at home and 3-1 away, though it was Haller's match-winning double off the bench away to Beşiktaş on Matchday 5 that secured top spot in Group C. He then hit double figures with the opener as Erik ten Hag's men downed Sporting 4-2 to stay perfect.
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Reds fans might have feared a tricky route to the last 16 after the six-time winners were drawn with Atlético de Madrid, AC Milan and Porto. Instead, Jürgen Klopp's side asserted their quality right from the off, edging Milan 3-2 at Anfield to set the tone. That was also the scoreline of their triumph in the Spanish capital, where a late Mohamed Salah penalty made the difference.
Liverpool then dispatched Atleti 2-0 at home and conjured seven goals in their two games against Porto, finishing with a record-equalling group-winning margin of 11 points by prevailing 2-1 in Milan on Matchday 6.
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Two years after first completing a flawless group stage, Bayern flexed their muscles again. Julian Nagelsmann's charges showed they meant business with a 3-0 triumph away to Barcelona on Matchday 1 and later ended their clean sweep of section rivals with a 3-0 home win against the same opponents.
In between, they dispatched Dynamo Kyiv 5-0 and Benfica 4-0, before conceding their first goal after 308 minutes of action – in a 5-2 home success against Benfica that featured a hat-trick from Lewandowski on his 100th Champions League outing. The Poland captain then registered in a 2-1 win away to Dynamo, his ninth goal of the group stage.
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Bayern made it three campaigns with maximum points in four years, coming through a section that looked perhaps the most daunting on paper. They broke the back of their task in the first two games, winning 2-0 away to Inter first up then dispatching Lewandowski's new club Barcelona by the same scoreline in Munich.
Julian Nagelsmann's men eased to 5-0 home and 4-2 away successes against Plzeň before sealing top spot in the section with a commanding 3-0 triumph at Camp Nou. The final hurdle was Inter again, and the result was the same – a 2-0 win that made them the first team to scoop 18 points on three separate occasions.