BFF#15 – Who are the biggest losers of the UEFA Champions League

Unless you have been living underneath a rock for the past week, you would of heard of, or perhaps even witnessed, the quarter final between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. It were as if The Bold And The Beautiful were morphed into a football match.

It did however, highlight one key point. For all the money that Manchester City have spent, the only Champions League triumph for the Citizens came in the 1969/70 UEFA Cup Winners Cup. Although an entirely different era to where we are now, it is still technically classified as a Champions League trophy.

Yet under their new ownership, City have been unsuccessful in their Champions League ventures. Most recently being knocked out in the competitions quarter finals, and it wasn’t the first time. Let’s take a quick look Cities recent attempts at Champions League Glory.

  • 2011/12, Group Stage Knockout. Their first year in the Champions league saw City take on S.L. Benfica from Portugal, FC Basel from Switzerland and Oțelul Galați of Romania in the group stages. Finishing with a total of 9 points, the Citizens were knocked out of the Champions League.
  • 2012/13, Group Stage Knockout. Without registering a single win, City finished last in their group which consisted of Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Ajax.
  • 2013/14, Round of 16 Knockout. Finally making it past the group stages, City drew Bayern Munich in the round of 16. They lost 4 – 2 on aggregate.
  • 2014/15, Round of 16 Knockout. This time drawing Barcelona in the round of 16, City were dispatched by Messi and co 3 -1 on aggregate.
  • 2015/16, Semi-final Knockout. After years of being knocked out in the early stages, the Citizens successfully made it to the semi finals, only to be knocked out but Real Madrid, who defeated them 1 – 0 on Aggregate.

Since 2016 it’s been pretty much the same story for the Sky Blues from Manchester, never making it past the quarter final stages. But with 1 win in 11 attempts, are they really that bad?


You might of thought that I had forgotten about Arsenal, but how could I? Manchester City might be well known for their exorbitant spending, but Arsenal are known for their plethora of failed attempts to win the Champions League.

The Gunners first qualification for the Champions League, or European cup as it was previously known, was in the 1971/72 season but it wasn’t until after the 1989/99 when they became a mainstay in the tournament.

In total, Arsenal have qualified a combined 21 times for the Champions League, European Cup or Cup Winners Cup and have never made it past the semi-finals. With a strike rate of 0 wins out of 21 attempts, I would feel sorry for the Arsenal fans, if I didn’t hate Arsenal. For a team that once had players like,

  • Thierry Henry
  • Robin Van Persie
  • Alexis Sanchez
  • Mesut Özil
  • Cesc Fabregas

You would expect more from them, just like the fans do.

Notable Mentions

There have been many clubs who sport similar poor statistics, and it would be rude of me to leave them out. So in no particular order,

  • A.S. Roma – the team from the Italian capital have qualified 17 times in total for all iterations of the Champions League, with only one Grand Finals appearance in 1983/84, were they lost to Liverpool.
  • Olympique Lyonnais – ‘Les Gonas’ have qualified 20 times in total, but have only two Semi finals appearances to show for their efforts.
  • Olympiacos F.C. – last but not least we have our Greek heavy weights. Dating back to 1959 they have qualified for 40 different iterations of the Champions league, either preliminary qualifications, or group stage games. The furthest that ‘Thrylos’ has ever made it in the competition is the quarter finals.

For the fans sake, I do hope that these teams achieve some form of Champions League success.

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