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Champions League: are these the games of the season?

Goals, thrills, late comebacks and roller-coaster epics – this season has had it all.

Kylian Mbappé celebrates a goal away to Barcelona
Kylian Mbappé celebrates a goal away to Barcelona UEFA via Getty Images

The UEFA Champions League regularly delivers football of mouth-watering quality and heart-stopping tension – and the 2020/21 campaign has honoured that tradition.

We select ten of the most enthralling contests from this season's competition. Dig in and let us know your favourite at the bottom of the article.

Bayern 2-3 Paris

Highlights: Bayern 2-3 Paris
Highlights: Bayern 2-3 Paris

07/04/2021, quarter-final first leg
There was snow in Munich, and with Robert Lewandowski injured, Paris knew they stood every chance against the side that beat them in last season’s final. So it proved. They managed to let a 2-0 lead slip before Kylian Mbappé’s second of the night earned them a first-leg win. “Nobody could have had any complaints had we won 5-3 or 6-3,” said Bayern’s Thomas Müller as he reflected on his side’s many missed chances.

Must-see moment: Müller’s celebration for Bayern’s second showed the holders' belief; they won the away leg 1-0 but still missed out on away goals.

Manchester City 2-1 Dortmund

06/04/2021, quarter-final first leg
The final outcome may not have been a surprise, but the amount of fight a seemingly-demoralised Dortmund side took to an invincible-looking City by surprise. Erling Haaland's return to his father's old club was the big story in the lead up to the game, but it was a heroic team performance (and Phil Foden's last-gasp winner) that made headlines the following day.

Must-see moment: Haaland and Foden hugging after the final whistle was taken as a sign they would be seeing a lot of each other in the years ahead.

Juventus 3-2 Porto (agg: 4-4, Porto win on away goals)

Highlights: Juventus 3-2 Porto (AET)
Highlights: Juventus 3-2 Porto (AET)

09/03/2021, round of 16 second leg
In a game for the ages, Porto took a 1-0 lead (to add to a 2-1 first-leg advantage) before being reduced to ten men, and pegged back on aggregate. Sérgio Oliveira’s second of the night tilted the tie back in their favour in extra time, with Juve unable to build on Adrien Rabiot's response. "We showed the FC Porto DNA," said coach Sérgio Conceição. "We never stopped believing."

Must-see moment: See Sérgio Oliveira outfox the Juventus defensive wall with the winning free-kick, which stays low all the way into the net.

Barcelona 1-4 Paris

16/02/2021, round of 16 first leg
Lionel Messi scored for the 17th successive UEFA Champions League campaign, but Mbappé hit a hat-trick to put his side into a commanding position in Mauricio Pochettino's first game with the club in this competition. "The result does reflect how superior Paris were," conceded Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman. 'Mbappé is the messiah' was Le Parisien's headline.

Must-see moment: The thrust upfield that culminates in Mbappé's third of the night: full credit to Julian Draxler for leading the charge.

Leipzig 3-2 Manchester United

Highlights: Leipzig 3-2 Manchester United
Highlights: Leipzig 3-2 Manchester United

08/12/2020, group stage Matchday 6
"You can’t give a team a 3-0 lead and expect to come back," said Ole Gunnar Solskjær after their campaign ended in Germany. United fans were shocked after the Reds' defeat in Leipzig, but Julian Nagelsmann's side deserved credit for their aggression. However, though United did not score until the 80th minute, they still created enough chances to win it.

Must-see moment: Feel the satisfying power with which Angeliño rattles in Leipzig's second-minute opener. Pick that one out.

Manchester United 1-3 Paris

02/12/2020, group stage Matchday 5
United's 2-1 win in Paris on Matchday 1 was a repeat of their away-goals elimination of Paris in the 2018/19 round of 16, but this victory at Old Trafford opened a new chapter. "We got close to our best level," said Neymar, who struck twice for the visitors. Defeat left United needing to avoid defeat at Leipzig to qualify. How would that one go?

Must-see moment: Ex-Paris man Edinson Cavani was within centimetres of putting United 2-1 up as his 57th-minute chip struck the bar. Glorious agony.

İstanbul Başakşehir 3-4 Leipzig

Highlights: İstanbul Başakşehir 3-4 Leipzig
Highlights: İstanbul Başakşehir 3-4 Leipzig

02/12/2020, group stage Matchday 5
İrfan Can Kahveci scored the first UEFA Champions League hat-trick composed exclusively of shots from outside the box for 16 years, but ended up as the third player to score a treble for the losing side in the competition. Alexander Sørloth ultimately won the game with a classy finish in added time, defeat condemning the Turkish side to elimination.

Must-see moment: Take your pick from İrfan's three finishes; Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann gave credit to his "awesome left foot" at full-time.

Real Madrid 3-2 Internazionale

03/11/2020, group stage Matchday 3
Without a win after their first two Group B games, Madrid and Inter were in deep water ahead of what was to be an anxiety-inducing night; the hosts took a 2-0 lead, but Lautaro Martínez pulled one back before the break before Ivan Perišić levelled, Rodrygo's 80th-minute finish settling the match. "We have to be happy," said a relieved Zinédine Zidane after the final whistle.

Must-see moment: Nicolò Barella's assist for Martínez's goal; watch how the Italian flicks out a heel to hand his team-mate a delicious opening. Irresistible.

Salzburg 2-6 Bayern

Highlights: Salzburg 2-6 Bayern
Highlights: Salzburg 2-6 Bayern

03/11/2020, group stage Matchday 3
The reigning European champions made it a record 14 UEFA Champions League wins in a row with what looked like a demolition job in Austria. Salzburg had taken the lead, and it was 2-2 with 11 minutes to go before the gallant home side were washed away in the rain; "6-2 sounds like a walkover, but it wasn't," said Bayern boss Hansi Flick. "It was definitely a great game for neutrals, but not so much for the coach."

Must-see moment: Leroy Sané’s finish to make it 4-2; one touch with the left foot to wrong-foot his marker then a lofted shot to beat the goalkeeper.

Real Madrid 2-3 Shakhtar Donetsk

21/10/2020, group stage Matchday 1
Injury-ravaged Shakhtar fielded only three first-choice players in Madrid (Dodô, Marcos Antônio and Marlos) and there was an understandable sense of disbelief as the Pitmen took a 3-0 half-time lead. Luka Modrić and Vinícius Júnior struck back, but there was to be no equaliser. "In terms of the expectations-to-result ratio, it was one of the biggest Champions League upsets ever," wrote Ukraine's Tribuna newspaper.
Must-see moment: Tetê’s nonchalant back-heeled assist for Manor Solomon to hit Pitmen’s third; the No14 played video games as Madrid as a child.