Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool: 13 Greatest Champions League campaigns of all time

Real Madrid players celebrate winning the 2021/22 Champions League

A goal from Vinicius Junior was enough to see Real Madrid past Liverpool to clinch the 2021/22 Champions League at the Stade de France.

Despite somehow coming into the final as underdogs, Los Blancos delivered on the big stage once again and came up with the goods, as Thibaut Courtois’ inspired performance kept Jurgen Klopp’s side from finding the net.

Victory secured an incredible 14th Champions League crown for Real Madrid and a fourth for manager Carlo Ancelotti. His side have put together an awe-inspiring campaign to emerge as winners, having looked down and out in every knockout round before somehow finding a way through.

Real did win five out of their six games played in the group stage, but showed their vulnerability as they were beaten by minnows Sheriff Tiraspol at the Santiago Bernabeu. And when they found themselves 1-0 down to a star-studded Paris Saint-Germain after the first leg of the last 16, their work was cut out for them.

An inspired hat-trick from Karim Benzema fired them through to the quarter final, however, and the Frenchman would continue to fire on all fours to drag Real past Chelsea and Manchester City, both in comeback victories after extra time, in order to book a spot in the final, despite not looking anything like a dominant Real side of previous seasons.

But, crucially, Los Blancos powered through. And now they have lifted the trophy, it makes that run to the final look even better. The way they powered through despite looking banged to rights on several occasions is testament to their quality and unwavering winning mentality, which so few clubs possess.

In what is now certified as one of the best runs in the tournament’s history, GIVEMESPORT has compiled a list of the greatest Champions League campaigns of all time.

13. Barcelona 2010/11

Advancing through an admittedly easy group, you can only beat what’s in front of you, and Barcelona did that.

They then beat Arsenal, surprise package Shakhtar and Spanish rivals Real Madrid to book their spot in the final against Manchester United, who they beat for a second time in three seasons.

The greatest Champions League campaigns of all time
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 28: Josep Guardiola manager of FC Barcelona is thrown in the air as Barcelona celebrate victory in UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

12. Porto 2003/04

The ultimate underdogs, Porto stunned the world by blitzing their way to lift the Champions League with the help of a young, up and coming Jose Mourinho in the dugout.

Beating Manchester United in the quarter final was key, as they then went on to dispatch of Lyon, Deportivo in their prime, and Monaco in the final.

The greatest Champions League campaigns of all time
GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY – MAY 26: Nuno Valente of FC Porto hugs his manager Jose Dos Santos Mourinho after winning the Champions League during the UEFA Champions League Final match between AS Monaco and FC Porto at the AufSchake Arena on May 26, 2004 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

11. Real Madrid 2001/02

Losing once in the first group stage and going unbeaten in the second, Real got better with every game in the 2001/02 tournament.

The Galactico Era was just getting started. A comeback victory vs Bayern Munich, a semi-final win over Barcelona, and that Zinedine Zidane goal to win the final against Bayer Leverkusen. Heritage.

The greatest Champions League campaigns of all time
GLASGOW – May 15: Real Madrid celebrate the opening goal of the match during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen played at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland on May 15, 2002. Real Madrid won the match and cup 2-1. DIGITAL IMAGE. (Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images)

10. Inter 2009/10

What makes Inter’s 2010 triumph with Mourinho so special is that it was the final trophy they needed to secure a first treble in the club’s history. And they delivered.

Knocking out Chelsea, CSKA Moscow, Barcelona and Bayern Munich on the way, nobody was stopping the Nerazzurri.

Inter's Champions League campaign was strong
MADRID, SPAIN – MAY 22: Head coach Jose Mourinho (L) and Marco Materazzi of Inter Milan celebrate their team’s victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League Final match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Inter Milan at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 22, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

9. Liverpool 2004/05

Beating the likes of Bayer Leverkusen and Chelsea on the way to the final, it all looked over at half-time in Istanbul for Liverpool, who were trailing AC Milan 3-0.

Then came that infamous comeback. And when they took the game to penalties at 3-3, history was made. One of the greatest fight backs ever.

Liverpool's 2005 comeback was iconic
ISTANBUL, TURKEY – MAY 25: Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard lifts the European Cup after Liverpool won the European Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan on May 25, 2005 at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

Ivan Perisic to sign for Tottenham (Football Terrace)

8. Real Madrid 2013/14

Dominating the group stages with five wins and a draw, Real made it count in the knockouts as they beat three German sides in Schalke, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich to set up a final with city rivals Atletico Madrid.

A late Sergio Ramos equaliser took the game to extra time where they won 4-1, setting up a run of European dominance that would follow soon after.

Ancelotti and Real Madrid won the 2014 Champions League
LISBON, PORTUGAL – MAY 24: Iker Casillas of Real Madrid lifts the Champions League trophy during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio da Luz on May 24, 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

7. Real Madrid 2016/17

How Los Blancos powered through to dominate the Champions League so frequently in the 2010s is still a mystery.

In 2016/17, they ousted Napoli, Bayern Munich and Atletico to set up a final with Juventus, who had finally reached the promised land after years of trying to get back there. Real smoked them 4-1.

Real Madrid put together impeccable European campaigns
CARDIFF, WALES – JUNE 03: Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid lifts The Champions League trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final between Juventus and Real Madrid at National Stadium of Wales on June 3, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

6. Chelsea 2011/12

Memories of Gary Neville’s goal-gasm that has seemingly inspired his commentary ever since, Chelsea won their first ever Champions League in unforgettable fashion.

An incredible 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou saw them advance to the final against Bayern Munich, where they dramatically won on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Chelsea won their first Champions League in 2012
MUNICH, GERMANY – MAY 19: Chelsea players celebrate the winning penalty during UEFA Champions League Final between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea at the Fussball Arena München on May 19, 2012 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

5. Bayern Munich 2012/13

Bayern bounced back a year after losing the tournament on penalties, which is impressive enough in itself.

They didn’t have an easy ride doing it, however, having to knock out Valencia, PSG and Barcelona before beating one of Borussia Dortmund’s strongest sides ever in the final.

Bayern Munich dominated in 2013
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 25: Captain Philipp Lahm of Bayern Muenchen lifts the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League final match against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2013 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

4. Real Madrid 2017/18

Champions League number three in a row and the fourth in five years, Real were relentless in pursuit of their 13th crown.

Beating PSG, annihilating Juventus and then ousting Bayern Munich, Los Blancos topped it off by punishing the Reds for a lacking performance, with Gareth Bale stealing the show. Absolutely ruthless.

Real have dominated the Champions League
KIEV, UKRAINE – MAY 26: Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid celebrates with the UEFA Champions League Trophy following his sides victory in the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Liverpool at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on May 26, 2018 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

3. Manchester United 1998/99

United fans will never forget that night in Barcelona.

Having wrapped up the Premier League and FA Cup and working their way past Juventus over a two-legged semi-final, the treble dream looked over as Bayern Munich were 1-0 up with only injury time to play. That was until two quickfire goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer completely turned the game on its head and secured the Red Devils a continental treble.

Manchester United's treble campaign was incredible
BARCELONA, SPAIN – MAY 26: Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates at the end of the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou on May 26, 1999 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images/Hulton Archive)

2. Bayern Munich 2019/20

Absolute, unrelenting dominance. Bayern Munich returned to the top of the European mountain in 2020 under Hansi Flick, who turned them into one of the most frightening teams in history.

Able to outscore, outrun and outlast anyone they came up against, Die Roten weren’t put off by the delay of the COVID-19 pandemic, making Barcelona literally implode by beating them 8-2 in the quarter final, before beating PSG in the final, crushing their dream after they had finally made it within touching distance of the trophy.

The greatest Champions League campaigns of all time
LISBON, PORTUGAL – AUGUST 23: Manuel Neuer, captain of FC Bayern Munich lifts the UEFA Champions League Trophy following his team’s victory in the UEFA Champions League Final match between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on August 23, 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via Getty Images)

1. Barcelona 2014/15

We’ve had dominance and we’ve had trebles, but Barcelona’s 2014/15 Champions League win had it all. That esteemed style of play had returned with Luis Enrique, and their legendary squad enjoyed one last hurrah at the top, in pursuit of another treble of their own.

La Blaugrana had found their flow once again, playing their way through Manchester City, PSG and Bayern Munich, before sealing the treble with a 3-1 victory over Juventus. It marked their return to the top and was even more iconic knowing they did so with the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta in the latter stages of their careers.

Barcelona's 2014/15 Champions League campaign was iconic
BERLIN, GERMANY – JUNE 06: Barcelona players including Javier Mascherano, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez celebrate victory with the trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final between Juventus and FC Barcelona at Olympiastadion on June 6, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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