UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Champions League debutant quarter-finalists: Atalanta in select group

Atalanta have made the last eight on their competition debut: we look at those that came before.

Watch goals from the clubs who made it all the way to at least the quarter-finals in their first Champions League seasons, featuring the latest side to make the list - Atalanta.
Best Champions League debut seasons

Atalanta are in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on their European Cup debut, joining a select list of debutants to have reached the last eight.

We look at the other clubs to have made it at least this far in the UEFA Champions League era.

Leicester City: 2016/17 quarter-finalists

Leicester had a memorable round of 16 victory against Sevilla
Leicester had a memorable round of 16 victory against SevillaGetty Images

Their 2015/16 Premier League title victory was one of the great upsets in sport and they held on to the core of their squad other than Chelsea-bound N'Golo Kanté. It was only the fourth European campaign for Leicester, all the previous three ending in first rounds, most recently in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup against Crvena zvezda. However, as English champions they had top seeding in the group stage.

Kasper Schmeichel's penalty save from Steven Nzonzi ten minutes from the end of the round of 16 return with Sevilla. That moment secured victory in a tie in which Leicester had trailed 2-0 (and were lucky it was not more) 73 minutes into the opener before Jamie Vardy's away goal; title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri was replaced by caretaker Craig Shakespeare the day after the away leg.

Group stage: Club Brugge 3-0h, 2-1a; Porto 1-0h, 0-5a; Copenhagen 1-0h, 0-0a (winner)
Round of 16: Sevilla 1-2a, 2-0h (agg: 3-2)
Quarter-finals: Atlético Madrid 0-1a, 1-1h (agg: 1-2)

Squad included
Jamie Vardy, Kasper Schmeichel, Riyad Mahrez

What happened next
Leicester ended the Premier League 12th after flirting with relegation. However, despite the tragic death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in October 2018, this term they are back in contention for UEFA Champions League qualification.

Málaga: 2012/13 quarter-finals

Isco celebrates scoring against Porto
Isco celebrates scoring against Porto©AFP/Getty Images

A spending spree gave Málaga a club-best fourth-placed finish in the 2011/12 Liga though a subsequent budget cut meant coach Manuel Pellegrini lost the likes of Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal ahead of the 2012/13 campaign.

Coming from 1-0 down to lead Dortmund in the quarter-finals with eight minutes to go (albeit they were to concede twice in added time).

Play-offs: Panathinaikos 2-0h, 0-0a (agg: 2-0)
Group stage: Zenit 3-0h, 2-2a; Anderlecht 3-0a, 2-2h; AC Milan 1-0h, 1-1a (winner)
Round of 16: Porto 0-1a, 2-0h (agg: 2-1)
Quarter-finals: Borussia Dortmund 0-0h, 2-3a (agg: 2-3)

Squad included
Javier Saviola, Isco

What happened next
Pellegrini departed and they were denied entry to the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League for financial reasons. Málaga have not returned to Europe since and are currently in the second division.

Villarreal: 2005/06 semi-finals

Villarreal celebrate reaching the quarter-finals
Villarreal celebrate reaching the quarter-finals©Getty Images

Pellegrini was also behind Villarreal's unlikely success, taking the helm in 2004 and steering them to third in the league as well as the UEFA Cup quarter-finals (after a second straight UEFA Intertoto Cup triumph).

The dominant second-leg display to eliminate Inter in the quarter-finals.

Third qualifying round: Everton 2-1h, 2-1a (agg: 4-2)
Group stage: Manchester United 0-0h, 0-0a; LOSC Lille 0-0a, 1-0h; Benfica 1-1h, 1-0a (winners)
Round of 16: Rangers 2-2a, 1-1 h (agg: 3-3, Villarreal win on away goals)
Quarter-finals: Internazionale Milano 1-2a, 1-0h (agg: 2-2, Villarreal win on away goals)
Semi-finals: Arsenal 0-1a, 0-0h (agg: 0-1)

Squad included
Santi Cazorla, Juan Román Riquelme, Diego Forlán

What happened next
Villarreal continued to be European regulars, also falling to the Gunners in the 2008/09 quarter-finals. Pellegrini eventually moved on, though, and in 2011/12 Villarreal were relegated. Nonetheless they returned to the top flight after a season's absence and posted five top-six finishes in a row, also making the semi-finals and the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League in that period.

Deportivo La Coruña: 2000/01 quarter-finals 

Roy Makaay celebrates a goal for Deportivo
Roy Makaay celebrates a goal for DeportivoAFP via Getty Images

Deportivo cemented themselves as a top Spanish club in the 1990s and, in 1999/2000, the Galicians won the Liga with the help of the goals of Roy Makaay,

Recovering from 3-0 behind to beat Paris.

First group stage: Panathinaikos 1-1a, 1-0h; Hamburg 2-1h, 1-1a; Juventus 0-0a, 1-1h (winners)
Second group stage: Paris Saint-Germain 3-1a, 4-3h; AC Milan 1-0a, 1-1h; Galatasaray 0-1a, 2-0h (winners)
Quarter-finals: Leeds United 0-3a, 2-0h (agg: 2-3)

Squad included
Roy Makaay, Walter Pandiani, Noureddine Naybet

What happened next
Depor remained a top-three Liga outfit until 2003/04, when they also got to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Their fortunes dipped after coach Javier Irureta's 2005 departure, and subsequently they have managed a sole UEFA Cup campaign in 2008/09 and suffered three relegations. Two were immediately followed by promotion, but they are now in peril of dropping out of the second division.

Lazio: 1999/2000 quarter-finals

Lazio's four-goal hero Simone Inzaghi
Lazio's four-goal hero Simone Inzaghi©AFP

A strong Serie A side through the 90s, Lazio were only beaten to the 1998/99 title by AC Milan on the last day. They did, however, lift the last UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. The next season, Sven-Göran Eriksson's men ended a long wait for the club's second Scudetto (after 1973/74) as well as making their debut in the elite European competition.

Simone Inzaghi scoring four goals in a 5-1 thrashing of Marseille.

First group stage: Bayer Leverkusen 1-1a, 1-1h; Dynamo Kyiv 2-1h, 1-0a; Maribor 4-0h, 4-0a (winners)
Second group stage: Marseille 2-0a, 5-1h; Chelsea 0-0h, 2-1a; Feyenoord 1-2h, 0-0 away (winners)
Quarter-finals: Valencia 2-5a, 1-0h (agg: 3-5)

Squad included
Juan Sebastián Verón, Pavel Nedvěd, Alessandro Nesta, Marcelo Salas, Siniša Mihajlović

What happened next
Financial problems caused the break-up of that squad, though Lazio returned to the UEFA Champions League in 2007/08 and have had several UEFA Europa League campaigns since.

Bayer Leverkusen: 1997/98 quarter-finals

Leverkusen's Christian Wörns takes on Monaco
Leverkusen's Christian Wörns takes on Monaco©Getty Images

After the first of what would be four second-place Bundesliga finishes between 1997 and 2002, Leverkusen made their European Cup bow, having been revived as an attacking force by Christoph Daum, appointed in 1996.

The 2-0 win at Sporting CP on matchday three, hot on the heels of a big loss at Monaco, set Leverkusen up for progress,

Second qualifying round: Dinamo Tbilisi 6-1h, 0-1a (agg: 6-2)
Group stage: Lierse 1-0h, 2-0a; Monaco 0-4a, 2-2h; Sporting CP 2-0a, 4-1h (best runners-up)
Quarter-finals: Real Madrid 1-1h, 0-3a (agg: 1-4)

Squad included
Jens Nowotny, Ulf Kirsten, Carsten Ramelow

What happened next
Leverkusen carried on being contenders, progressing to the UEFA Champions League final in 2002.

Auxerre: 1996/97 quarter-finals

Auxerre line up before their quarter-final
Auxerre line up before their quarter-final©Getty Images

Auxerre's incredible odyssey under Guy Roux, who took over in 1964 and guided them all the way from the third tier to a 1995/96 domestic double warranted a UEFA Champions League bow. Their tilt at glory was ended by the same opponent that denied them in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup semi-finals, Borussia Dortmund.

The matchday five win at Ajax (who had reached the last two finals) that proved crucial in taking Auxerre through.

Group stage: Ajax 0-1h, 2-1a; Rangers 2-1a, 2-1h; Grasshoppers 1-0h, 1-3a (winners)
Quarter-finals: Borussia Dortmund 1-3a, 0-1h (agg: 1-4)

Squad included
Steve Marlet, Lilian Laslandes

What happened next
Auxerre continued as fixtures in the higher reaches of Ligue 1, securing further UEFA Champions League forays in 2002/03 and 2010/11, and winning two more French Cups in 2002/03 and 2004/05. However, they were relegated in 2011/12 and remain in Ligue 2.