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Greatest UEFA Champions League comebacks

UEFA.com provides Bayern and Porto with inspiration as they attempt second-leg comebacks as the away teams.

Manchester United celebrate their historic comeback in Paris
Manchester United celebrate their historic comeback in Paris Getty Images

On Tuesday both Bayern München and Porto will attempt to overturn UEFA Champions League quarter-final deficits as away teams in the second legs.

This is a feat achieved only five times before in the UEFA Champions League proper, but the most dramatic instance is one that Bayern's opponents Paris Saint-Germain – and their then coach Thomas Tuchel, who will lead Chelsea against Porto – will do well to remember. We look at the greatest second-leg comebacks in the history of the competition, including another famously unhappy night for Paris at Barcelona.

Comebacks by away team in second leg

Two-goal deficit

United's miracle in Paris
United's miracle in Paris

Manchester United 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain
Paris Saint-Germain 1-3 Manchester United 
2018/19 round of 16

Before 2018/19, only six times in the annals of the European Champion Clubs' Cup had a team that lost the first leg at home come through a tie; indeed, after AC Milan did it to Saarbrücken in the opening round of the inaugural 1955/56 edition, the feat was not emulated for 13 years. The seventh such occurrence was Ajax winning 4-1 at Real Madrid on 5 March 2019 having lost 2-1 in Amsterdam; the eighth came the following night.

Man. United's campaign seemed over after their first-ever two-goal European home defeat. Even after two Romelu Lukaku goals in the return, Paris held the aggregate advantage until deep into added time when Presnel Kimpembe was adjudged to have handled in the box and Marcus Rashford converted. Ole Gunnar Solskjær, whose then role as caretaker coach was soon made permanent, said: "We always believed. We set out our plan, and it wasn't about keeping the ball. The plan was to get the first goal and be in the game in the last five or ten minutes – and we were."

One-goal deficit

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Ajax
Ajax 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur
2018/19 semi-finals

Highlights: Ajax 2-3 Tottenham
Highlights: Ajax 2-3 Tottenham

Ajax 1-2 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax
2018/19 round of 16

Internazionale Milano 0-1 Bayern München
Bayern München 2-3 Internazionale Milano
2010/11 round of 16

Ajax 0-1 Panathinaikos
Panathinaikos 0-3 Ajax
1995/96 semi-finals

By home team in second leg, two goals or more

Four-goal deficit

Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Barcelona
Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain

2016/17 round of 16

Watch Barcelona's historic comeback
Watch Barcelona's historic comeback

In 2016/17, Barcelona became the first team to fight back from four goals down to win a UEFA Champions League tie; this was only the fourth time it had been done in any UEFA club competition tie, a feat so special the match was given a name: La Remontada (The Comeback).

If Paris's demolition of Luis Enrique's men in France had been a shock, the Barça recovery was simply astonishing, Sergi Roberto striking deep in added time to decide the contest. "I told him: 'Get into the box! You're going to score!'" Neymar, who subsequently joined Paris, recalled. Sergi Roberto added: "I didn't know if I was dreaming. I have never known a noise like that."

Three-goal deficit

Barcelona 3-0 Liverpool
Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona
2018/19 semi-finals

2018/19 semi-final highlights: Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona
2018/19 semi-final highlights: Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona

Anfield has witnessed some fine European nights, but few can rival this sensational effort. Barcelona had one foot in the final after Lionel Messi's first-leg double – his second strike a brilliant free-kick to bring up his 600th Barça goal. He was about to be upstaged.

Liverpool sent out a depleted line-up in the return, with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino missing, but Divock Origi's early goal gave them hope. The Belgian later rounded off a pulsating triumph after a Georginio Wijnaldum double. "The belief in the changing room is incredible," said captain Jordan Henderson. "We knew we could pull something off."

Barcelona 4-1 Roma
Roma 3-0 Barcelona
2017/18 quarter-finals

Highlights: Roma 3-0 Barcelona
Highlights: Roma 3-0 Barcelona

Edin Džeko struggled to communicate the magnitude of Roma's achievement after his sixth-minute finish sparked an extraordinary revival, saying: "You cannot imagine, I mean it was incredible, crazy – I don't know how to describe it. We did it when definitely nobody believed in us."

Certainly, there looked no way back after a 4-1 loss in Catalonia, but Džeko's goal and a Daniele De Rossi penalty set the scene for Kostas Manolas's 82nd-minute headed winner.

AC Milan 4-1 Deportivo La Coruña
Deportivo La Coruña 4-0 AC Milan
2003/04 quarter-finals

Highlights: Deportivo come back from the dead
Highlights: Deportivo come back from the dead

"Miracles often happen, things you might not rationally expect," said Depor coach Javier Irureta, holding on to faint hope ahead of the return leg, the Spanish outfit having been well beaten despite scoring first at San Siro.

Remarkably, though, his troops led on aggregate by half-time in the return, Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valerón and Alberto Luque making it 3-0 – before substitute Fran González added a fourth. Having prayed for success, Irureta later honoured a promise by taking the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela.

Two-goal deficit

Atlético de Madrid 2-0 Juventus
Juventus 3-0 Atlético de Madrid
2018/19 round of 16

Wolfsburg 2-0 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 3-0 Wolfsburg
2015/16 quarter-finals

Porto 3-1 Bayern München
Bayern München 6-1 Porto
2014/15 quarter-finals

Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Chelsea
Chelsea 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain
2013/14 quarter-finals

Van Persie completes his treble against Olympiacos
Van Persie completes his treble against Olympiacos©Getty Images

Olympiacos 2-0 Manchester United
Manchester United 3-0 Olympiacos
2013/14 round of 16

AC Milan 2-0 Barcelona
Barcelona 4-0 AC Milan

2012/13 round of 16

Napoli 3-1 Chelsea
Chelsea 4-1 Napoli (aet)
2011/12 round of 16

Real Madrid 4-2 Monaco
Monaco 3-1 Real Madrid
2003/04 quarter-finals

Chelsea 3-1 Barcelona
Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea (aet)
1999/2000 quarter-finals