Manchester City and Paris-Saint Germain have missed out on entry to an exclusive club of elite teams during this last week, following failure to win their respective final Champions League group games.
Having won the five games leading up to the final week, PSG were bested by German champions Bayern Munich, and a weakened City side fell to Shakhtar Donetsk. The results mean that both clubs failed to complete a ‘perfect group stage’ – six wins in six games.
This has only ever been managed on six occasions (by five teams) – so why not have a look at who the oil laden clubs have failed to joined?
6. AC Milan (1992/93)
Goals for – 11
Goals against – 1
A Marco van Basten extravaganza kicked off Milan’s group stage as the Dutchman scored all the goals in the Italian outfits 4-0 destruction of Swedish outfit IFK Goteberg. This goal frenzy was soon followed by narrow, single goal victories away to PSV, on both nights against Porto, and away to IFK; before completing their perfect performance with a controlled 2-0 victory at San Siro against PSV.
That season, Milan managed to make it all the way to the final, before falling at the final hurdle in a 1-0 loss to Marseille.
5. Paris Saint-Germain (1994/95)
Goals for – 12
Goals against – 3
PSG could’ve added a second contribution to this club had they beaten Bayern Munich on Tuesday night. Alas, they didn’t.
The 1994/95 campaign saw George Weah tear the group stages apart with his goals. Him and Daniel Bravo got the ball rolling in their 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich on the opening day, before 2-1 victories over Spartak Moskva and Dynamo Kyiv saw them into the halfway point.
Weah then notched both goals in the reverse 1-0 victories over Spartak and Bayern, before earning a brace in PSG’s final game against Dynamo – a tidy 4-1 victory.
PSG eventually bowed out on a 3-0 aggregate loss to AC Milan in the semi-final.
4. Spartak Moskva (1995/96)
Goals for – 15
Goals against – 4
After being on the receiving end of PSG’s perfect group stage, Spartak decided to go on a run of their own.
Narrow wins over Blackburn and Legia Warsaw began their campaign, before something clicked at half-time against Rosenborg. Being 2-0 down away from home, Spartak eventually won 4-2, going on to a 4-1 victory in the reverse fixture.
A 3-0 victory over Blackburn followed by a 1-0 win over Legia gave Spartak an 11-point gap at the top of their group. However, they eventually got kicked out of the competition against Nantes in the quarter finals.
3. Barcelona (2002/03)
Goals for – 13
Goals against – 4
Barca’s perfect start actually extended beyond the group stages – the Blaugrana eventually went on a streak of nine consecutive wins (a Champions League record until Bayern Munich beat it in 2014) that season.
However, it all started with a 3-2 at home against Club Brugge. Home and away wins against Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moskva then followed, before a narrow victory over Club Brugge equalled Spartak’s previous 11 point gap record.
Barca made it to the quarter finals before being dumped out by Juventus.
2. Real Madrid 2011/12
Goals for – 19
Goals against – 2
Madrid ran riot in their 2011 group stage; all kicking off with a 1-0 warm-up victory over Dinamo Zagbreb. This was followed by a 3-0 stuffing of Ajax, and 4-0 dismantling of Lyon at the Bernabeu – followed by a 2-0 win on the reverse fixture.
It was Zagreb who were the only team to get past Real Madrid in the group stages that season – if only they weren’t already 6-0 down, something might have come of it. Madrid would then beat Ajax 3-0 before eventually being knocked out on penalties against Bayern in the semi-final.
1. Real Madrid (2014/15)
Goals for – 16
Goals against – 2
Real Madrid just love the Champions League, don’t they?
This time, their campaign began with an emphatic 5-1 victory over Basel, before tearing Ludogorets apart in a 4-0 win. This became their 19th of a 22 game run without losing in all competitions. However, their Champions League run of ten continuous victories (equalling Bayern’s record) came to an end when Schalke bested Los Blancos with a 4-3 triumph at the Bernabeu.
Madrid continued on, though; eventually being knocked out in the semi-final against eventual runners-up Juventus.
Some top quality teams on display there, and both PSG and Man City will be disappointed not to have made it into the club. Maybe next time, ay?