Tottenham face an unenviable battle to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages through Group B.
Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over PSG was the north London side’s first win in this season’s group phase after four games. A slow start has left Mauricio Pochettino’s side three points behind second placed Inter and six adrift of group leaders Barcelona.
Spurs face each of the two sides who currently lead them in their remaining two matches of the group phase, knowing that qualification is still possible, but at the same time extremely difficult.
Tottenham need to beat Inter in their next game and then match Inter’s result in the final group game, which happens to be in Catalonia.
Numerous sides of the past have come back from the dead to progress in the most unlikely circumstances in Europe. Here’s eight teams who overcame the odds to make a great escape in Europe’s elite competition…
8. Arsenal (Group Stage, 2003/04)
Arsenal began their Champions League group stage in the 2003/04 campaign with great difficulty. Arsene Wenger’s side lost 3-0 at home to Inter on matchday one. Two tough away games saw the Gunners held 0-0 at Lokomotiv Moscow and beaten 2-1 by Dynamo Kyiv.
Things looked bleak for Spurs’ north London rivals, with Arsenal bottom of the group and appearing dead and buried, before a winning streak saw the Gunners claim three points in each of their remaining three matches.
A 5-1 win over Inter at the San Siro was the pick of the bunch as a resurgent Arsenal side fought back to claim an unlikely place in the the Champions League knockout stages.
7. Liverpool (Group Stage, 2004/05)
Liverpool’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages in the 2004/05 season appeared to be a tall order to say the least, with the Reds requiring a win by two clear goals on the final matchday of their group campaign.
Rafa Benitez’s side took on Greek side Olympiacos in the showdown encounter, having lost 1-0 to Monaco in their previous European outing to make Liverpool’s situation all the more difficult.
However, the Reds were in no mood to lie down and accept their likely fate at Anfield, as Florent Sinama-Pongolle cancelled out a first half Rivaldo strike for Olympiacos, before Neil Mellor struck to give the home side the lead.
Liverpool were still in need of one more to secure the required margin, and up stepped captain Steven Gerrard to duly oblige in some style, hammering in a long-range wonder goal to send Anfield into raptures.
6. Deportivo La Coruna (Quarter Finals, 2003/04)
Having been comprehensively beaten 4-1 at the San Siro in the first leg, Deportivo were on course for a widely expected defeat to AC Milan in the quarter finals of the 2003/04 campaign.
Few besides the Deportivo coach Javier Irureta held out much hope – if any – for a second leg comeback from the Spanish side, but the Spanish outfit stepped up to upset the odds in devastating fashion.
A stunning second leg comeback saw Deportivo overturn Milan’s commanding first leg lead in the most unlikely of fight backs, as strikes from Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron and Alberto Luque fired the hosts into a shock 3-0 lead at half time.
One more goal was still required for the Spaniards to complete the comeback on aggregate, and substitute Fran Gonzalez entered the fray to complete the turnaround.
5. Barcelona (Quarter Finals, 1999/2000)
Chelsea appeared well on course for a dream triumph over Barcelona in the last eight of the competition during the 1999/2000 campaign, after the Blues secured an impressive 3-1 first leg advantage over the Catalan giants.
However, the Catalan side flexed their muscles at Camp Nou in the second leg, as Barca produced a thumping comeback display to thrash the Blues 5-1.
Brazil icon Rivaldo hauled Barcelona back into contention with a first half opener before Luis Figo drew the sides level at 3-3 on aggregate with Barca’s second in the game. However, Tore Andre Flo hit a timely reply on the hour mark to return Chelsea on course for the semi finals.
Barcelona continued the fightback there after, as Dani drew the sides level once more. A missed penalty from Rivaldo threatened to turn the tide once more, sending the tie into extra time. The Brazilian converted from the spot at the second time of asking, though, before Patrick Kluivert settled the tie with a decisive strike to seal a 6-4 aggregate win for Barcelona.
4. Newcastle United (Group Stage, 2002/03)
Newcastle United endured a dismal start to their group stage campaign in the 2002/03 season, losing all of their first three matches in the group – a run which no side had previously recovered from to progress in the competition.
The Magpies were in the mood to make history, however, as Newcastle secured a highly unexpected win at home to Juventus in their fourth outing in the group. A second successive win at St. James’ Park in the competition against Dynamo Kyiv steered Sir Bobby Robson’s side back on course for what had previously seemed unlikely qualification with a 2-1 win.
It all came down to the final match of the group phase to decide the Toon’s fate in the Champions League, as Newcastle travelled to face Feyenoord away, requiring a win whilst needing Kyiv to fail to beat Juventus.
Juventus kept their end of the bargain, overcoming Kyiv 2-1, though Newcastle were struggling to capitalise after surrendering a two goal lead in Rotterdam. However, Craig Bellamy stepped up to restore Newcastle’s lead in injury time to send the Magpies through to the knockout stages in dramatic and unprecedented fashion.
3. Bayern Munich (Group Stage, 2009/10)
Bayern Munich began their group stage campaign in uncharacteristically difficult fashion during the 2009/10 campaign, with just four points obtained from the Bavarians’ first four games in the group phase.
The Bundesliga giants had lost home and away to French side Bordeaux, leaving Bayern in third and trailing the Ligue 1 side and Juventus as the top two in the group, with four points between them and the qualification places with just two games remaining.
A narrow 1-0 win over bottom side Maccabi Haifa kept Bayern’s hopes of progress to the knockout stages alive, as Juventus also helped the Bavarians by failing to secure a win over Bordeaux which would have sent Bayern crashing out.
In the all-important final encounter of the group phase, Bayern faced Juventus in Turin knowing that only a win would do. David Trezeguet fired the Italians ahead before a remarkable fightback from the visitors, lead by a goal from goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt, guided Bayern to a 4-1 win to secure their unlikely comeback win and progress to the knockout stages.
2. Roma (Quarter Finals, 2017/18)
Barcelona looked to be conducting business as usual in the Champions League when they strolled to a 4-1 win over Roma at the Camp Nou in the first leg of their 2017/18 quarter final clash with the Italians.
However, the stage was set at the Stadio Olimpico for a second leg fightback from the Serie A giants which few could have anticipated being on the cards. Prolific marksman Edin Dzeko set up the grandstand with the opener just six minutes into a pulsating encounter.
Daniele De Rossi blew the tie wide open as the Roma icon converted a penalty to put Barcelona well and truly on the back foot, before a stunning late header from Kostas Manolas sent Barca crashing out.
1. Barcelona (Round of 16, 2016/17)
Barcelona were on the right end of what is perhaps the most spectacular comeback win in recent Champions League memory, as they overcame a first leg drubbing to stun Ligue 1 giants PSG.
The Parisians looked to be finally delivering on their plans to conquer Europe as Unai Emery’s side dismantled Barcelona with a tactical masterclass, thumping their Catalan visitors with a 4-0 first leg win at the Parc des Princes.
Barcelona were in no mood to be outdone by the emerging force from Ligue 1, however, as the Catalans dipped into the greatest depths of their vast European experience to produce a stunning 6-1 triumph over PSG in the second leg at the Camp Nou.
Now-PSG star Neymar inspired Barcelona to an attacking rout with a brace, adding to goals from Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, a Layvin Kurzawa own goal and a stunning last-gasp winner from Sergi Roberto to make Barca the first side in history to overcome a four goal deficit to win a Champions League tie.