The biggest Champions League knockout victories of all time

Champions League Lionel Messi
(Image credit: PA)

Bayern Munich’s ruthless Champions League obliteration of Barcelona made for astonishing viewing in a this year's one-legged quarter-final.

However, the German champions couldn’t quite equal their own record for the biggest margin of victory in the knockout stages of European football’s showcase competition.

Considering Bayern’s heavy involvement in the following list of the eight biggest Champions League knockout wins in history, maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised by their brutal dismantling of Lionel Messi bedraggled gang after all. 

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Round of 16

Bayern Munich 7-0 Basel (March 13, 2012)

Arjen Robben

(Image credit: PA)

Basel travelled to Bavaria hopeful of a historic night, after their shock 1-0 win in the last 16 first leg. The Swiss side did indeed make history – but not in the way they would’ve wanted.

Mario Gomez was in devastating form as he put four past the demoralised visitors, with an Arjen Robben double and Thomas Muller strike piling on the pain.

Just days after putting seven past Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, Bayern set a record margin of victory in the Champions League knockout rounds with this result.

It would only end in heartbreak for the Germans, though, who made it past Marseille and Real Madrid to reach the final at their Allianz Arena home, only to fall to a penalty shoot-out defeat to Chelsea.

Bayern Munich 7-0 Shakhtar Donetsk (March 11, 2015)

Bayern Shakhtar

(Image credit: PA)

The standalone record Bayern set with their thrashing of Basel only lasted three years, before they equalled it themselves. 

A 0-0 first leg stalemate left this last 16 tie finely poised, but it wasn’t for long after a nightmare start for the Ukrainians. Olexandr Kucher earned the fastest red card in Champions League history, getting himself sent off after just three minutes and handing Thomas Muller the chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot.

Goals then streamed in, with Muller adding a second and Jerome Boateng, Franck Ribery, Holger Badstuber, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski getting in on the fun for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Bayern went on to knock out Benfica in the quarters, but fell to a 5-3 aggregate defeat to Barcelona in the last four to end their dream of clinching another title.

Manchester City 7-0 Schalke (March 12, 2019)

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Guardiola was at it again last year when his Manchester City side replicated the feat of his Bayern team by smashing in seven goals in a last-16 second leg clash.

This time Schalke were the victims. City had required a spirited late comeback to snatch a 3-2 win in the first leg, but made short work of the Germans second time round; Sergio Aguero notched two, while Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus also found the net. 

However, as has so often been the case with City, the run soon came to an end in the quarter-finals; a 4-4 aggregate draw with Tottenham saw them eliminated on away goals.


Bayern Munich 8-2 Barcelona (14 August 2020)

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In the strangest of years for European football, the Champions League’s one-legged knockout format in Portugal has produced some surprising results.

But none of them left jaws on floors quite like this one. It was the most spectacular evidence yet of Barcelona’s mismanagement and decline, as the Germans steamrollered their opponents with four goals in the opening 28 minutes and another four in the final 28 minutes.

It was a result that marked rock bottom for Barca, who also lost the La Liga title to rivals Real Madrid, while cementing Bayern’s status as favourites to win the competition.

Manchester United 7-1 Roma (April 10, 2007)

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Roma’s darkest night in European football was one of United’s brightest. The Italians travelled to Old Trafford with one foot in the semi-finals, having earned a 2-1 first leg win at the Stadio Olimpico.

But Sir Alex Ferguson’s charges were in no mood for an early exit, and blew the Serie A side away with Michael Carrick, Alan Smith, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo all finding the net before half time.

Ronaldo and Carrick struck again after the break, with Patrice Evra adding their seventh of the night to complete the demolition job after a Daniele De Rossi consolation.

It was the first time the Red Devils had overcome a first leg defeat in Europe since 1984, and the result had their fans dreaming of glory, but a 5-3 aggregate defeat to eventual winners Milan in the semi-finals ended their run.


Bayern Munich 4-0 Barcelona (April 23, 2013)

Bayern Munich

(Image credit: PA)

The Germans set the record for the biggest semi-final win in Champions League history when they hammered Barca 4-0 in the first leg of their 2012/13 meeting.

In a warning of what was to come seven years later, Thomas Muller struck twice to give the Bundesliga side a handsome and historic victory that sent them towards their third final in four seasons.

Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben scored the other goals to inflict what was at the time Barcelona’s heaviest away defeat in Europe.

Bayern almost repeated the feat in the return leg, winning 3-0 at Camp Nou, before Robben’s last-gasp winner secured the title for them against domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund in the Wembley final.

Bayern Munich 0-4 Real Madrid (April 29, 2014)

Cristiano Ronaldo

(Image credit: PA)

One year on from Bayern's thumping of Barcelona, Real Madrid got revenge on behalf of their fiercest rivals, teaching the Germans how it feels to be on the receiving end of a humbling.

A 1-0 first leg win at the Bernabeu had given the Merengues a slender advantage as they travelled to Munich, but they produced a phenomenal performance to hammer their German counterparts and earn their first crack at the Champions League final in 12 years.

Two headers from Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo’s record-setting 15th goal of the tournament put the game in doubt before half time, and Ronaldo struck again late on to inflict Bayern’s heaviest home defeat in Europe.

Things would soon get even better for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, who went on to beat neighbours Atletico Madrid 4-1 in the final after extra time, to clinch the long-awaited Decima and kick-start a remarkable run of four Champions League triumphs in five years.


AC Milan 4-0 Barcelona (May 19, 1994)

Milan Barcelona

(Image credit: PA)

Despite approaching the game as underdogs, Milan tore Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona apart in Athens, in what remains the biggest victory in a Champions League final.

A brace from Daniele Massaro put the Rossoneri in command, and an awe-inspiring Dejan Savicevic lob after half time put the result beyond doubt before Marcel Desailly completed the rout.

Even more impressively, Milan achieved the feat without captain Franco Baresi and his defensive colleague Alessandro Costacurta, who were both suspended.

Milan boss Fabio Capello described the night as “perfection” as his side completed a Scudetto and European Cup double for the first time in their history, a year on from the heartbreak of losing the final to Marseille.

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.