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Highest Scoring Matches In Europa League History

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Highest Scoring Matches In Europa League History

UEFA’s Europa League competition is the confederation’s second-tier tournament, standing only behind the Champions League in terms of both prestige and the financial rewards associated with qualifying for the Champions League.

However, for some clubs and players, the Europa League is their only pathway to playing any form of continental football, which makes qualifying for it an attractive proposition for the so-called 'smaller clubs'.

The Champions League, or as it was known at the time, the European Cup, was established nearly 70 years ago in 1955, with the only other UEFA-affiliated competition being the European Cup Winners’ Cup, which was contested only between the winners of domestic cup competitions across Europe’s leagues.

Aside from those two, the only other competition was the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, which ran from 1955 until 1971, and while in some circles the competition was thought of as a predecessor of sorts to what we now know as the Europa League, it was ultimately never recognised as an official tournament by UEFA, and as such, the records of any participating teams are not taken into consideration by UEFA as part of a club's European record.

After its 1970/71 iteration, that competition was abolished and subsequently replaced with the UEFA Cup (which is what is considered to be the first proper edition of this competition). The UEFA Cup first kicked off in the 1971/72 season and would remain under that name for the following 38 years, when in 2009, it was rebranded as the UEFA Europa League.

Europa League Trophy

The UEFA Cup’s format was one that fans today would not be used to at all – for example, the finals was always played as a two-legged affair up until 1997/98, while an actual group stage was only introduced in 2004/05 with the tournament having previously been played as two-legged straight knockout matches over five rounds.

But, a central theme of the rebrand to the Europa League was not only its new name, but also the format change the competition underwent – among other things, an additional qualifying round was implemented, and an expanded and proper group-stage phase consisting of 12 groups of 4 teams (then followed by the standard knockout phase) was also brought in, with there no longer being a first-round preceding the group stage as had previously been the case. Just a few years later, it was decided that the winners of the competition would be given a Champions League berth for the following campaign for their efforts.

Over the years, the competition has grown in popularity and has become a way for many clubs to taste playing in Europe, as well as becoming that aforementioned route through to the Champions League for the eventual winner. It has been won by several well-known clubs across Europe, with Spanish side Sevilla currently the record winners having won it an astonishing 7 times.

The likes of Juventus, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid have each have 3 wins to their names, with other clubs such as Real Madrid, Porto, Feyenoord and Chelsea each lifting the trophy twice. Other notable clubs to have tasted success include the likes of Napoli, Parma, Ajax, Galatasaray, Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt.

So with that said, let's take a quick look through some of the highest-scoring matches to have taken place in the competition's history. (Note - results from qualifying/preliminary/play-off rounds have been excluded - only matches in the competition proper have been taken into account).

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The UEFA Cup

Ajax 14-0 Red Boys Differdange

The highest-scoring match to have ever taken place in either the UEFA Cup or Europa League overall was Ajax's astonishing 14-0 drubbing of Luxembourg's Red Boys Differdange in 1984.

What makes this result even stranger is the fact that Differdange held the 3-time European Cup winners to a 0-0 draw in the first leg, meaning that all 14 goals came in the second leg in Amsterdam. Marco van Basten bagged five goals on the day, with Frank Rijkaard contributing a solitary goal alongside a Ronald Koeman hat-trick to make this the highest-scoring game in the entire tournament's history.

Rumelange 0-12 Feyenoord

Now just two other matches come close to matching that 14-0 record in the UEFA Cup era - Feyenoord's 12-0 1972 win over another Luxembourg-based side in Rumelange is the first. Feyenoord won the first leg at De Kuip by a 9-0 scoreline and then scored 12 in the return fixture to win the tie by an aggregate scoreline of 21-0.

Derby County 12-0 Finn Harps

Four years later in 1976, Derby County also thrashed Irish side Finn Harps by a 12-0 scoreline, with the English side up 9-0 by halftime. Interestingly, the aforementioned Red Boys Differange have also been involved in a 12-goal game – they were beaten 11-1 by another Dutch side in AZ Alkmaar in 1977, just seven years before they would go on to be handed that 14-0 thrashing at the hands of Ajax.

Other Highscoring Matches in the UEFA Cup

There have also been three 10-0 matches in the UEFA Cup era - and they all came in the same campaign of 1983/84.

Inter Bratislava beat Maltese side Rabat Ajax, Austria Wien beat another Luxembourgian side in Aris Bonnevoie, with Bayern Munich's victory over Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta rounding out the trio of 10-0 hammerings.

Further to that, there have also been three matches that ended in a 9-1 result - Cologne did so against Norwegian side Viking in 1972, Hibernian bested Rosenborg in 1974, and Ajax did so against Maribor in 1997. Finally, Bayern Munich's 7-3 win over Polish side Legia Warsaw in 1988 rounds up all the 10-goal matches to have ever taken place in the competition.

There have been 18 UEFA Cup matches that have seen 9 goals scored in them - six of those matches have ended in a straight 9-0 win for one side, four have finished in a scoreline of 5-4, three have finished in a 6-3 scoreline, and three more have ended as 7-2. Finally, two matches have ended up finishing with a scoreline of 8-1 at full-time - Sheffield Wednesday's 1992 hammering of Spora Luxembourg was the first, with Celtic then doing the same a decade later in 2002 against Lithuanian side Suduva.

42 UEFA Cup matches have seen 8 goals scored in them, with eight of those matches finishing as an 8-0 win to one side. Nine matches have finished in a 7-1 scoreline, while ten have ended as 5-3. Eight more have finished 6-2, while seven matches have ultimately ended as 4-4 draws.

In terms of matches with seven goals, a total of 25 UEFA Cup matches have finished with one side on the receiving end of a straight 7-0 pasting. Both 6-1 and 4-3 scorelines have occurred in 32 matches for a combined total of 64, while 27 matches have ultimately finished as 5-2 wins for one side. And finally, 228 matches in the entire history of the UEFA Cup have seen six-goal thrillers - whether that be in the form of a 3-3 draw, a straight 6-0 or 5-1 thrashing, or a slightly more tightly contested 4-2 scoreline.

The Europa League

Lyon 7-1 AZ Alkmaar, Feyenoord 7-1 Shakhtar Donestk & Other Matches That Saw 8 Goals

The highest-scoring match in the competition since its rebrand had finished 7-1, making for a total of 8 goals. Just two matches since the 2009/10 campaign have finished with that scoreline - firstly, Lyon did so against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar six years ago in 2017, while in last season's campaign, Feyenoord did the same to Shakhtar Donetsk in the second leg of their round-of-16 clash.

Eight other matches have also seen 8 goals scored, coming across a few different scorelines. In the Europa League, a match has ended 5-3 on five occasions, with Anderlecht being the first team to win by that scoreline when they faced off against Lokomotiv Moscow in 2011, and Liverpool repeated the feat just a year later when they took on Swiss side Young Boys.

The next two matches to finish by this scoreline both happened on the same day in 2016, with two Belgian clubs being on the receiving end. Shakhtar Donetsk first beat Gent, followed up by Athletic Bilbao then beating Genk, with Bilbao's Aritz Aduriz scoring all five of his side's goals on the night. There would then be a gap of 4 years until the fifth match, with Turkish side Sivasspor being on the receiving end of a 5-3 loss when they travelled to Spain to take on Villarreal.

Bayer Leverkusen scored a flurry of late goals to ultimately hit a total of six past French outfit Nice in 2020 in a 6-2 win, a scoreline which Manchester United also replicated against Roma when the Red Devils took on the Giallorossi in the semi-finals in 2021. Finally, Werder Bremen's 4-4 draw with Valencia in March of 2010 is also up there as part of the Europa League's highest-scoring matches with eight.

7 Goals or Below

And finally, a total of 34 Europa League matches have seen seven goals scored across 90 minutes, with 12 of those 34 matches finishing as 5-2 victories for one side. 19 have ended in a 4-3 scoreline, while just three have ended 6-1 at fulltime - Greek side PAOK beat Dinamo Minsk by such a score in 2014, Anderlecht did so against German club Mainz in 2016, with Sporting Lisbon becoming the last club to do so in 2018 when they took on minnows Qarabag.

In total, 349 matches throughout the competition's entire history have seen 6 goals scored across an entire match, with 228 of those matches coming under the UEFA Cup banner. That means that under the Europa League moniker, 121 games have seen a total of six goals scored in a single game (again coming in either 3-3, 4-2, 5-1 or 6-0 scorelines).

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