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The Highest-Scoring Champions League Games of All-Time

Champions League
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The Highest-Scoring Champions League Games of All-Time

Here we take a look at the highest-scoring Champions League matches of all-time since the competition was rebranded back in 1992.

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Borussia Dortmund 8-4 Legia Warsaw (2016/17)

A madcap night at the Westfalenstadion in 2016 provided us with the highest-scoring match in the history of football’s most prestigious club competition – Borussia Dortmund’s 8-4 win over Polish visitors Legia Warsaw.

The Poles actually got off to a good start after going 1-0 up through Aleksandar Prijovic’s wonderful 10th-minute strike, but Shinji Kagawa’s two strikes within two minutes shortly afterwards set the tone for what was to come. A leaky Legia backline could not seem to handle Dortmund’s early attacking advances, and Nuri Sahin duly made it 3-1 to the home side after just 20 minutes.

Prijovic bagged his second goal of the night just four minutes later, but Ousmane Dembele’s 29th-minute goal restored Dortmund’s two-goal advantage. 30 minutes of play, and already six goals had been scored. Marco Reus’ double put Die Borussen further out of sight, before Legia scored a third through Michal Kucharczyk. And the game would end as it had started; with a glut of goals. Felix Passlack made it 7-3 in the 81st minute before Nemanja Nikolic scored a fourth for Legia two minutes later.

Finally, a stoppage-time own goal from centre-back Jakub Rzezniczak just nine minutes later brought to an end a fascinating, end-to-end encounter that remains, to this day, the highest-scoring match in UEFA Champions League history.

AS Monaco 8-3 Deportivo La Coruna (2003/04)

Deportivo La Coruna’s most famous moment in the Champions League was their remarkable 5-4 aggregate win over AC Milan in the competition’s 2004 quarter-finals having lost the first leg 4-1, but surely their nadir in the competition was their thrashing at the hands of eventual runners-up Monaco just a few months earlier in the group stages.

The principality side raced into a 4-0 lead after just half an hour had been played, but the Spaniards hit back with two goals in quick succession just before half-time. Dado Prso would complete his hat-trick for Monaco in first-half stoppage-time, with the scoreline at 5-2 heading into the second half. Monaco were somewhat out of sight already, but there was some hope for the Galician side - a three-goal difference was possible to claw back.

But, those hopes were extinguished when Jaroslav Plasil scored a sixth just two minutes into the second-half, before Prso scored his fourth of the night a mere two minutes after that. Deportivo would score their third goal just three minutes later to leave the scoreboard at 7-3 after 52 minutes of play, but midfielder Edouard Cisse would go on to score an eighth goal of the game and 11th in total on the night to confirm that Deportivo would be leaving the Stade Louis II humiliated, despite them having won the reverse fixture that had taken place just two weeks prior.

Barcelona 2-8 Bayern Munich (2019/20)

August of 2020 provided us with one of, if not the, most shocking Champions League matches of all time – in a quarter-final battle between two European footballing giants, Barcelona were thrashed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in Lisbon, with the Bavarian side becoming the first club to ever score eight in a single Champions League knockout match.

Thomas Muller opened the scoring for the Germans after just four minutes, but a David Alaba own-goal just three minutes later would restore parity. Then a nine-minute Munich onslaught saw Ivan Perisic, Serge Gnabry and Muller again all get themselves on the scoresheet to see Barcelona down by three goals after just over half an hour of action. Luis Suarez provided hope of a comeback with his 57th-minute goal, but further strikes from Joshua Kimmich and Robert Lewandowski made it 6-2 to Bayern with 10 minutes left to play. Barca had been brutalised already, but it was about to get even more embarrassing.

Philippe Coutinho, who had entered the fray in the 75th minute, would also get himself on the scoresheet with two strikes in the space of just four minutes to take the scoreline to 8-2. For those who can’t remember, Coutinho was on loan at Bayern from Barcelona at the time.

Tottenham 2-7 Bayern Munich (2019/20)

Having humiliated Barcelona in the knockout stages in a match that will live long in the memory for all who were watching, it would be somewhat easy to forget that the Bavarians had carried out a similar annihilation earlier on in the competition.

The Germans are notorious for their relentlessness – their propensity to completely destroy most sides they come up against and for never taking their foot off the pedal. Tottenham Hotspur experienced exactly that on Matchday 2 of the competition’s group stages. The meeting between the two teams in London got off to a dream start for Spurs after Heung-min Son’s goal after just 12 minutes.

However, it took the Germans just three minutes to equalise through Joshua Kimmich, before Robert Lewandowski scored the first of a brace on the stroke of half-time. For a Tottenham side who had been going through a poor patch of form at the time, going into the half-time break with the score at just 2-1 wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Enter Serge Gnabry.

The winger had had a quiet first-half, but he sprung into life in the second. Two strikes within two minutes saw Bayern in the ascendancy at 4-1, but a Harry Kane penalty six minutes after Gnabry’s brace brought the scoreline back to 4-2. It stayed like that for the next 22 minutes, before Spurs dramatically capitulated within the space of 5 minutes as the match neared its end.

Gnabry would complete his hat-trick in the 83rd minute, and Lewandowski would bag his second in the 87th, before Gnabry grabbed his fourth of the night in the 88th minute. Any Arsenal fans who had tuned in to this game would have absolutely loved what they were seeing.

Lyon 7-2 Werder Bremen (2004/05)

French side Lyon routed Werder Bremen in the second leg of their round-of-16 clash in 2005, with the Ligue 1 outfit coming into the March meeting with an already healthy lead after a commanding 3-0 win in the first leg. And Les Gones had the tie wrapped up and their passage to the quarter-finals sealed after just 30 minutes following Sylvain Wiltord’s 8th-minute opener and Michael Essien’s brace.

The Germans did hit back through Johan Micoud, but already down 6-1 on aggregate, it was a mere consolation. Wiltord added a fourth 10 minutes after the restart, before a Bremen penalty was duly dispatched by Valerien Ismael just two minutes later.

However, Bremen’s leaky defence dispatched any notion of an improbable comeback - Florent Malouda added a fifth for Lyon just three minutes after Ismael’s penalty, and Wiltord completed his hat-trick only three minutes after that to see Lyon take a 9-2 aggregate lead. Jeremy Berthod’s penalty 10 minutes from time was the icing on the cake and capped off a distressing night for the German side, and Werder Bremen have only managed to get back into the competition just twice since.

PSG 7-2 Rosenborg (2000/01)

French giants PSG now make their first of two entries on this list, with the Parisians hammering Norwegian side Rosenborg 7-2 in the first group stage of the Champions League’s 2000/01 edition.

Despite having lost the first meeting between these two sides by a 3-1 scoreline just over a month earlier, there was to be no repeat of that by the French side here. PSG raced into a 3-0 lead after just 35 minutes via goals from centre-back Frederic Dehu, and strikers Christian and Nicolas Anelka.

But, two goals in two minutes from Rosenborg’s Christer George changed the complexion of the match, and it seemed like Rosenborg were on course for a comeback. But then Peter Luccin’s first-half stoppage-time goal somewhat dispelled that theory, with the midfielder’s strike coming at the perfect time to deflate Rosenborg's spirits heading into the half-time break.

The second half carried on as normal with PSG heading on course for a routine win until they suddenly burst into life again towards the end of the half – three further goals, including a second from Anelka in stoppage time, within the space of 15 minutes to make it 7-2 and a total of 9 goals on the night sees the French side make this list.

PSG 7-2 Maccabi Haifa (2022/23)

The first meeting between these two sides in the group stages of last year’s competition saw PSG win by a comfortable 3-1 scoreline, despite the hostile atmosphere of Maccabi’s Haifa Municipal Stadium.

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi all got on the scoresheet that night with a goal each for the trio, and they would all repeat that feat in the return fixture in Paris. It was Messi who opened the scoring, and Mbappe and Neymar would then get in on the act afterwards.

Abdoulaye Seck would pull one back for the visitors, but Messi’s second of the game saw PSG head in at half-time with a commanding 4-1 lead. Seck would grab a second just five minutes after the restart, but Kylian Mbappe, Carlos Soler and a Haifa own goal would see PSG ultimately score seven in a Champions League game again, 22 years after they had first done so.

Man City 6-3 RB Leipzig (2021/22)

Yet another 9-goal thriller in this list, last season’s Champions League winners Manchester City beat German side RB Leipzig 6-3 when the two sides met in the group stages of the competition’s 2021/22 edition.

Nathan Ake and a Nordi Mukiele own goal put City into an early 2-0 lead, but Christopher Nkunku’s 42nd-minute strike provided hope for the east German side. But a penalty awarded in first-half stoppage-time, which was duly scored by Riyad Mahrez, saw City go in at the break 3-1 up.

Nkunku made the City nerves fray ever so slightly more when he pulled another goal back to make it 3-2 in the 51st minute. But Leipzig couldn’t hold on – Jack Grealish made it 4-2 just five minutes later. Nkunku completed his hat-trick in the 73rd minute to make it 4-3, however, the scoreline remained like that for just two minutes – City’s Joao Cancelo got in on the goalscoring act in the 75th minute to make it 5-3. And with just five minutes remaining on the clock, Gabriel Jesus scored City’s sixth of the night to confirm a hard-fought victory.

Villarreal 6-3 Aalborg BK (2008/09)

Spanish clubs Deportivo La Coruna and Barcelona have both already featured on this list but on the wrong side, with the Catalan and Galician sides having both been on the end of 8-goal hammerings in UEFA’s most prestigious competition.

Villarreal are the third Spanish team to make it on to this list, however, they do so on the right side – they were not on the receiving end of a thrashing. Instead, they handed one out to Danish side Aalborg when the two clubs met in the group stages of the competition in October of 2008.

The Danish side actually took a surprise lead after 19 minutes, before three goals in 8 minutes brought the two sides back on an equal footing. Goals from Giuseppe Rossi and Joan Capdevila in the 28th and 33rd minute respectively turned the game in Villarreal’s favour, but Aalborg then hit back again in the 36th-minute through Thomas Enevoldsen’s strike. The two teams tried but could not seem to find a way through each other’s resolute defences, with the score still at 2-2 well into the second-half.

The home team then finally found the breakthrough in the 67th minute through Joseba Llorente, and that opened the floodgates for a glut of goals in quick succession – 4 in 14 minutes, to be precise. Llorente scored another goal just three minutes after his first, before the Danes scored their third of the night in the 77th minute to make it 4-3. But it took only two minutes to further extinguish any hopes of an Aalborg comeback after Robert Pires scored a fifth for the home side, before Llorente completed his hat-trick in the 84th minute to hand the Yellow Submarine all three points.

Other high-scoring Champions League Matches

So, the highest-scoring match in Champions League history contained 12 goals, with Borussia Dortmund and Legia Warsaw the two teams involved in that match. Monaco and Deportivo’s 2003 meeting saw a total of 11 goals, while there were a total of 10 goals between Bayern Munich and Barcelona in their 2020 meeting.

Six matches have contained a total of nine goals, with PSG featuring in two of those matches. Bayern Munich have also played their part in one of those matches, while Villarreal, Manchester City and Lyon have done so as well. And there have been a total of 24 matches in Champions League history that have seen eight goals scored in them – German side Bayer Leverkusen have been involved in 4 of those matches.

The German side have suffered 5-3, 6-2 and 7-1 defeats to Real Madrid, Olympiakos and Barcelona respectively, while also playing out a 4-4 draw with Roma in 2015.

Real Madrid have played out three matches involving 8 goals, with that aforementioned 5-3 win over Leverkusen coming alongside 6-2 and 8-0 wins over Dinamo Zagreb and Malmo respectively.

Manchester United also have played in three matches that have seen 8 goals (6-2 wins over Brondby and Fenerbahce, and a 7-1 win over Roma), while Bayern Munich and Liverpool have also done so three times. The German side have beaten Sporting CP, RB Salzburg and Roma all by a 7-1 scoreline, while Liverpool have beaten Besiktas 8-0, drawn 4-4 with Chelsea and beaten Rangers 7-1. Roma have also played three matches containing 8 goals – with the Italian side being on the end of those aforementioned 7-1 defeats to Bayern and Manchester United, and that 4-4 draw with Bayer Leverkusen in 2015.

Lyon and Romanian side Steaua Bucuresti have each played in two matches that have seen 8 goals scored, with the French side beating Dinamo Zagreb 7-1 and beating Steaua Bucuresti themselves by a 5-3 scoreline in 2008. Alongside that, the Romanian side’s other 8-goal match involvement came in yet another 5-3 defeat, which came at the hands of Borussia Dortmund in 1996. The remaining six matches that saw 8 goals scored are…

Hamburg 4-4 Juventus, in 2000

Valencia 6-2 Basel, in 2002

Manchester City 5-3 Monaco, in 2017

PSG 7-1 Celtic, in 2017

Chelsea 4-4 Ajax, in 2019

RB Salzburg 6-2 Genk, in 2019

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