Champions League: Ranking the 8 Scariest Groups of Death in the Competitions History

​Everyone loves a good old group of death...well, everyone apart from the clubs that are actually in it.

They're wonderful entertainment for neutrals that are only really interested in watching the best of the best go at it. Things are far more stressful for the teams competing in the group as they look to navigate their way into the knockout stages.


The ​Champions League has produced some intriguing match-ups in round one recently, pitting European heavyweight against European heavyweight.

Here's a look at eight of the best the tournament has thrown up during its history.

8. Real Madrid, Milan, Ajax and Auxerre (2010/11)

AC Milan's forward Filippo Inzaghi (L) s

Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Clarence Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo - this pool was teeming with legends of the game.

Both ​Real Madrid - who won the group - and ​Milan have had long love affairs with the European Cup, the pair having collected 20 of them between them over the years. Put them into one group and it instantly stands out amongst the rest.

The Rossoneri went on to lift the Scudetto in 2011, whilst Ajax had a squad full of future superstars. Christian Eriksen was a budding playmaker for the Dutch outfit, with Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen forging a mean partnership in central defence.

Even Auxerre were no pushovers after reaching the last-16 the season prior.

7. Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Betis and Anderlecht (2005/06)

Damien Duff,Jamie Carragher

Ok, so neither Anderlecht nor Real Betis were the reigning champions of their domestic leagues, but ​Chelsea were. In fact, the Blues had just blitzed their way to the ​Premier League title, losing only one match.

Stick Jose Mourinho's impeccable side in with Champions League holders ​Liverpool and you have one fierce looking group. The Reds held the Portuguese and his men to a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge in the final round of fixtures, ensuring they finished top of the pile.

6. Bayern Munich, Napoli, Manchester City and Villarreal (2011/12)

Bayern Munich's striker Mario Gomez (L)

It was a baptism of fire for ​Manchester City and ​Napoli as the duo made their debuts in the competition. No one particularly wants to face ​Bayern Munich and there are far easier fourth-seeds to play than Villarreal.

The Italians emerged victorious in the battle for runner-up spot behind Die Roten courtesy of Edinson Cavani's double in a 2-1 triumph over the Sky Blues. Roberto Mancini couldn't work his magic in Europe, though the coach took City to a maiden Premier League title in the same season.

5. Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Napoli and Marseille 2013/14

Sokratis Papastathopoulosl Olivier Giroud

The Partonepei really haven't had the best of luck when it comes to the draw for the group stage. In just their third campaign at the top table of European football, the ​Serie A outfit were once more forced into a tough situation.

Perhaps it should be no surprise that they ended up with the same points total of 12 as ​Arsenal and ​Borussia Dortmund, given the quality flowing through all three squads. 

It was the latter two who progressed on head-to-head goal difference, with Gonzalo Higuain unable to fire the Neapolitans into the next round. 

4. Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia (2017/18)


APOEL must have been wondering what they'd done to upset the footballing gods when they learned that Dortmund, Real and ​Tottenham Hotspur would be their opponents.

This was admittedly a Yellow and Blacks side going through a dip in form, but Spurs were going from strength to strength under Mauricio Pochettino and Los Blancos are always going to be included in conversations about the eventual winner.

Remarkably, the Lilywhites were undefeated, even recording a thrilling 3-1 triumph at home to Real and a double over Dortmund. It mattered little, however, with Madrid making it three consecutive Champions League trophies in May 2018.

3. Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Ajax and Manchester City (2012/13)

Cristiano Ronaldo

The group of champions saw the rulers of England, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain all play off in a round robin that defied all expectation.

Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund had just earned their second successive ​Bundesliga crown, yet no one predicted their sensational charge to first place in the group. 

City ended up at the foot of the table, whilst the Yellow and Blacks had a rematch with Real in the semis. Roberto Lewandowski hit four goals in the first leg as his team advanced to the final, though they would lose to Arjen Robben's last-gasp effort for Bayern at Wembley.

2. Barcelona, Inter, Tottenham Hotspur and PSV Eindhoven (2018/19)

Christian Eriksen

Dead and buried after three fixtures last season, Spurs' would have been fortunate - or unfortunate - to secure third and qualify for the Europa League.

They somehow resurrected their hopes of European glory with Fernando Llorente's stoppage-time header at home to PSV, before Christian Eriksen rifled home a late winner versus ​Inter.

Nevertheless, Pochettino's recruits needed to better the Nerazzurri's result in round six to make it into the last-16. A combination of Lucas Moura's equaliser against ​Barcelona and the Italians' gormless display in a 1-1 draw with Eindhoven saw the impossible come true.

1. Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade (2018/19)

Daniel Sturridge

A chastening night was in store for Liverpool as they ventured to the far reaches of eastern Europe to take on Red Star Belgrade.

The Serbs were identified as the weakest side in the pool - something their fourth-place finish confirmed - yet a ferocious performance and the wall of noise emanating from the stands left the Reds staring down the barrel.

However, a first-half Mohamed Salah goal saw off Napoli in the last group stage match kept their quest for a sixth European Cup alive. 

They progressed by the finest of margins after ending with the same goal difference and head-to-head results as the Partonepei, advancing courtesy of scoring two more goals than Carlo Ancelotti's men.

Source : 90min