Pep Guardiola’s return to the Nou Camp was supposed to be different.
Barcelona’s greatest manager was meant to receive a hero’s welcome before getting down to business with his Bayern Munich charges and hopefully leaving with a positive result.
But Lionel Messi and Co. were in no mood to grant their former mentor mercy and after almost 80 minutes of end-to-end stuff, the Bavarians cracked, shipping three goals to leave themselves with a mountain to climb at the Allianz Arena.
Guardiola’s team have already enjoyed one second leg comeback of sorts – overturning a 3-1 first-leg deficit against Porto to win 6-1 in Munich – but Barcelona are a different beast to the Portuguese giants.
The Champions League is littered with notable comebacks though and while Manchester United and Liverpool feature in the fixtures that immediately spring to mind, we trawled through the records to find five other comebacks to give Bayern some hope.
- 5. AS Monaco 3-1 Real Madrid – 2003/04
After winning the first leg of this quarter final 4-2 at the Bernabeu, Real Madrid were expected to cruise past Monaco at the Stade Louis II, given that they boasted the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Raul and Ronaldo in their ranks.
Things started well enough for Los Blancos too, with Raul giving the Spaniards an early lead. But the Principality club didn’t lose hope with Ludovic Giuly levelling the game before the break.
It was then left to the on-loan Fernando Morientes and Giuly to complete the comeback in the second half, with Monaco advancing on away goals.
- 4. Deportivo La Coruna 4–3 Paris Saint-Germain – 2000/01
Back when Depor were a regular fixture in the Champions League, the Spanish outfit got involved in what ranks among the craziest Champions League games of all time.
PSG needed to win to keep alive their slim hopes of progressing to the knock-out phase and had raced into a three-goal lead, thanks to one from Jay-Jay Okocha and a Jerome Leroy brace, by the time the clock hit 55 minutes.
Yet within five minutes, Depor had scored twice with Diego Tristan and Walter Pandiani reducing the deficit. The latter would go on to complete a hat-trick in a remarkable comeback.
- 3. Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea – 1999/00
Back before Roman Abramovich’s billions transformed Chelsea from just another London side to regular contenders in the Premier League and Europe, the Blues enjoyed a memorable European run that saw them taking on Barcelona.
The Blues were superb in the first leg, racing into a 3-0 lead over the Catalans before half-time. But a second-half strike from Luis Figo gave Barca a glimmer of hope going into the return leg.
A thrilling match ensued, with Barca 2-0 up by the break before a Tore Andre Flo strike complicated matters in the second half.
Spanish striker Dani scored with seven minutes remaining to take the tie to extra time, where Barcelona finally broke Chelsea’s resistance to win 5-1 on the night.
- 2. Werder Bremen 5-3 Anderlecht – 1993/94
Arguably among the greatest one-game comebacks in the history of the Champions League, Bremen’s late late show is one that is often overlooked in these countdowns – but not here.
Facing off in a group game against the Belgian giants, the Bundesliga side found themselves 3-0 down at home to Anderlecht by half-time.
Even then it took them some time to get going, with Bremen’s first goal arriving on the 66-minute mark. Fortunately for the Germans, it would prove to be the first of five unanswered goals, with Bremen with New Zealand striker Wynton Rufer bagging two.
- 1. Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 AC Milan – 2003/04
The benchmark for any and all Champions League comebacks and Deportivo’s second appearance in this list, AC Milan may have boasted a superb attacking line-up led by the likes of Andriy Shevchenko, Kaka and Andrea Pirlo in their prime, but the Rossoneri were still prone to capitulation.
Down 4-1 from the first leg, Walter Pandiani got the ball rolling for Depor with a goal after five minutes with Juan Carlos Valeron adding a second just after the half hour mark.
The comeback was completed when Albert Luque made it 3-0 before half-time, with the Spaniards going through on away goals, but there was still time for captain Fran to add a fourth with 14 minutes remaining against a visibily stunned Milan side.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.