The 11 Champions League XIs the streets will never forget

The Champions League is the greatest club competition in world football.

For decades, the best teams on the European continent have gone toe-to-toe, producing some thrilling matches and unexpected underdog stories.

Many of us will never forget the little(ish) guys scaring the elite to their very core, because that’s what football is really all about.

So with that in mind, we here at GIVEMESPORT have provided 11 different Champions League teams that shocked the world and as a result – the streets will never forget them.

It’s time to get nostalgic!

Porto – 2003/04

The team: Vitor Baia, Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Pedro Mendes, Maniche, Deco, Carlos Alberto, Derlei.

The team that made Jose Mourinho a superstar.

His Porto team was a microcosm of his football beliefs, brutally efficient defensively and potent when venturing forward.

Deco was the star of the show, as Porto unexpectedly won the Champions League in 2004.

Borussia Dortmund – 2012/13

The team: Roman Weidenfeller, Lukasz Piszczek, Mats Hummels, Nevan Subotic, Marcel Schmelzer, Ilkay Gundogan, Sven Bender, Jakub Błaszczykowski, Marco Reus, Kevin Grosskreutz, Robert Lewandowski.

As Porto did for Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund side elevated the German manager from a relative unknown to a global star.

Lewandowski and Reus were the dynamic duo that the rest of Europe envied, while Hummels and Subotic forged a seemingly impassable back-line.

Only Jupp Heynckes’ all-conquering Bayern Munich side could stop them in the 2012/13 Champions League, beating Dortmund 2-1 in the final.

Monaco – 2016/17

The team: Danijel Subasic, Djibril Sidibe, Kamel Glik, Jemerson, Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Thomas Lemar, Kylian Mbappe, Radamel Falcao.

A team that became the most envied in world football, so much so that they were torn apart by Europe’s elite in the summer of 2017.

Bernardo, Lemar, Falcao and Mbappe took the Champions League by storm in 2016/17, scoring goals for fun all over the continent.

No one will ever forget that memorable 6-6 tie against Manchester City.

Bayer Leverkusen – 2001/02

The team: Hans-Jorg Butt, Zoltan Sebescen, Lucio, Jens Nowotny, Diego Placente, Carsten Ramelow, Michael Ballack, Yildiray Basturk, Ze Roberto, Bernd Schneider, Oliver Neuville.

Probably one of the unluckiest teams in history.

At one point in 2002, Leverkusen looked on course to claim the treble, but they ended up finishing second in the Bundesliga and losing in both the German Cup and Champions League finals.

But despite ending the season trophyless, the likes of Ballack, Ze Roberto and Neuville treated us to some fantastic attacking football.

Valencia – 2000/01

The team: Santiago Canizares, Jocelyn Angloma, Roberto Ayala, Mauricio Pellgerino, Amedeo Carboni, Ruben Baraja, Gaizka Mendieta, Kily Gonzalez, Pablo Aimr, Juan Sanchez, John Carew.

Back when Valencia were almost kings of Europe.

Los Che lost two consecutive Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001 to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, but their team will forever be remembered.

Ayala, Baraja, Aimar and Carew – legends everywhere you look.

Villarreal – 2005/06

The team: Sebastian Viera, Javi Venta, Juan Manuel Pena, Quique Alvarez, Rodolfo Arruabarrena, Juan Roman Riquelme, Josico, Marcos Senna, Juan Pablo Sorin, Diego Forlan, Guillermo Franco.

One of Manuel Pellegrini’s finest ever achievements was taking Villarreal all the way to the Champions League semi-final in 2006.

Jens Lehmann’s last-minute penalty save for Arsenal in Spain saw them eliminated, but the Yellow Submarine earned a lot of new fans across Europe that year.

I mean, who didn’t love watching Riquelme and Forlan strut their stuff together?

Malaga – 2012/13

The team: Willy Caballero, Jesus Gamez, Martin Demichelis, Sergio Sanchez, Vitorino Antunes, Ignacio Camacho, Jeremy Toulalan, Duda, Isco, Joaquin, Julio Baptista.

Before their world came crashing down due to financial issues, Malaga – who are now in Spain’s second tier – were a force to be reckoned with across Europe.

Joaquin, Isco and Baptista were lethal going forward and Toulalan was one of the finest midfield enforcers about.

It took a late offside goal from Dortmund to end their Champions League journey in 2012/13, but it was yet another remarkable achievement by Pellegrini.

Juventus – 2014/15

The team: Gianluigi Buffon, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Patrice Evra, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal, Alvaro Morata, Carlos Tevez.

So. Many. Big. Names.

Pirlo pulled the strings in midfield behind Pogba, Marchisio and Vidal, with Morata and Tevez eating opposing defenders for breakfast, lunch and dinner up top.

Juve have had some brilliant teams down the years, but few were as memorable as the 2014/15 edition.

Leeds – 2000/01

The team: Nigel Martyn, Danny Mills, Rio Ferdinand, Dominic Matteo, Ian Harte, Olivier Dacourt, Lee Bowyer, David Batty, Harry Kewell, Alan Smith, Mark Viduka.

An English core combined with a deadly Australian attack.

Leeds’ run to the Champions League semi-final in 2000/01 had the whole nation captivated, but the aforementioned Valencia were simply too strong over two legs.

Nevertheless, we won’t forget the sight of Viduka, Kewell and Smith terrorising defences across Europe.

Schalke – 2010/11

The team: Manuel Neuer, Atsuto Uchida, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Christoph Metzelder, Joel Matip, Hans Sarpei, Benedikt Howedes, Jurado, Alexander Baumjohann, Raul, Edu.

Despite finishing 14th in the Bundesliga in 2010/11, a Raul-inspired Schalke somehow made it to the Champions League semi-final.

They famously beat Inter Milan 5-2 at the San Siro, before coming unstuck against Manchester United.

But in Neuer, Matip and Howedes, Schalke had a memorable cast of players that would go on to enjoy wonderful careers.

Ajax – 1994/95

The team: Edwin van der Sar, Michael Reiziger, Danny Blind, Frank Rijkaard, Frank de Boer, Clarence Seedorf, Finidi George, Edgar Davids, Ronald de Boer, Jari Litmanen, Marc Overmars (plus a special mention to Patrick Kluivert).

The only other team on the list to have won the Champions League in their respective season, along with Porto.

Ajax – under Louis van Gaal’s rule – defied the odds with a stellar cast of young talent, beating AC Milan in the final thanks to a solitary goal from an 18-year-old Kluivert.

Rjikaard, Seedorf, the De Boer twins, Overmars; Ajax’s generation of 1995 can be described in one word – outrageous.

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