Champions League: What are the greatest second leg comebacks in competition's history?

The Champions League has seen some historic second leg comebacks

The Champions League returns on Friday, but not as we know it.

Europe’s premier competition will be finished over the next few weeks as a mini-tournament, with the quarter-finals onwards hosted in the city of Lisbon. 

But, before we get there, four last-16 ties must be decided and for the last time this season, we’ll be seeing second legs.

Those have been scrapped for the quarter and semi-finals, so make the most of them this weekend!

Manchester City take a 2-1 lead into their fixture with Real Madrid, Juventus are 1-0 down to Lyon, Barcelona and Napoli are all square at 1-1 while Bayern Munich have a 3-0 lead against Chelsea.

After these fixtures are completed, we won’t be seeing two-leg ties going forward and the competition will feel a little bit different this month. 

But fear not, if you’re really missing the drama of away goals and aggregate scorelines, we’ve got you covered. Here are five of the greatest second leg comebacks in Champions League history. 

Barca's comeback with PSG is included

1. Roma 3-0 Barcelona (2018)

Barcelona would have been feeling confident when they took a 4-1 lead to the Stadio Olimpico in 2018, expecting to book their place in that season’s semi-finals. 

But goals from Edin Dzeko, Daniele de Rossi and Kostas Manolas secured a stunning turnaround and prompted some of the greatest commentary ever heard from Peter Drury. 

‘Roma have risen from their ruins, Manolas, the Greek God in Rome! The unthinkable unfolds before our eyes!’ Absolutely iconic. What a night. 

Roma stunned Barcelona in 2018

2. Chelsea 4-1 Napoli (2012)

Back in March 2012, Chelsea were on the brink of collapse. The club had sacked manager Andre Villas-Boas and it was up to Roberto Di Matteo to lead the old guard to European glory.

It was perhaps the final shot that Frank Lampard, John Terry and Didier Drogba had at winning the Champions League and they needed to overturn a 3-1 deficit from the first leg against Napoli.

On an incredible night at Stamford Bridge, goals from each of those three sent the tie to extra time before Branislav Ivanovic popped up with the winner in the 105th minute, sending Chelsea through 5-4 on aggregate. 

Ivanovic hit the winner for Chelsea vs Napoli in 2012

3. Deportivo 4-0 AC Milan (2004)

AC Milan were the strongest team in Europe 15 years ago and after a 4-1 win in the first leg of their quarter-final against Deportivo, they were favourites to defend their Champions League crown. 

But that didn’t happen. First-half goals from Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron and Albert Luque had the Spanish side in dreamland – and heading through on away goals. 

They completed the comeback in the second half with Gonzalez Fran rounding off the scoring. The tie finished 5-4 on aggregate as Deportivo joined Chelsea, Monaco and Porto in the semi-finals.

4. Chelsea 4-2 Barcelona (2005)

This could well be the most famous night in Chelsea’s history. The club were only just establishing themselves as a real European force and came into the second leg of this last-16 tie 2-1 down.

Drogba was suspended, so the Blues needed other heroes to step up – and they did. Eidur Gudjohnsen, Frank Lampard and Damien Duff had Chelsea 3-0 up inside 20 minutes. 

Ronaldinho hit back with a quickfire double before half-time, but Terry, captain fantastic, scored a glancing header to swing the tie back in Chelsea’s favour with 15 minutes to play. 

It was one of the greatest nights in Chelsea's history

5. Barcelona 6-1 PSG (2017)

We’ve saved the best until last, haven’t we? This one barely needs explaining. Barca were 4-0 down from the first leg, but after a ridiculous 88 minutes at Camp Nou, were just 5-3 down on aggregate.

Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and an own goal had seen Barca race into a 3-0 lead before Edinson Cavani pulled one back. 

Neymar then scored in the 88th and 91st minute to make it 5-5 – but PSG would still have advanced on away goals.

Cue Sergi Roberto, who swept in a Neymar cross in the 95th minute to complete the greatest comeback we’ve ever seen. Barca went through 6-5 on aggregate. You’ll never see anything like it again. 

Well, there are some incredible memories there. There’s no competition quite like the Champions League and these second-leg comebacks confirm that. 

Sadly, this season they will be scrapped from the quarter-final onwards, but August’s mini-tournament will no doubt provide the same sort of drama. 

Bring. It. On. 

News Now - Sport News