03 November 2022

Champions League group stage sets record for number of one-sided matches

03 November 2022

One in six of this season’s Champions League group stage matches were won by a margin of four or more goals, the most since the competition switched to its current format in 2003-04.

There were also fewer close matches than usual, with 42 per cent of games finishing in a draw or a one-goal victory – the lowest proportion in the last 20 years.

Rangers – who suffered heavy losses against Liverpool and Ajax on the way to the worst ever Champions League record – were one of three teams to be beaten by four-plus goals on multiple occasions, along with Maccabi Haifa (twice) and Viktoria Plzen (three times).

Maccabi Haifa’s 6-1 loss at home to Benfica rounded off a miserable campaign aside from a shock win over Juventus, while Plzen – like Rangers – exited the competition with no points having been thrashed in all three of their away games against Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

This season is the first since 2016-17 in which more than one club has lost all six of their group matches.

Of teams that inflicted four-goal defeats, only Manchester City and AC Milan did so more than once.

City crushed Sevilla and Copenhagen in two of their opening three matches, while Milan finished with back-to-back 4-0 wins over Dinamo Zagreb and Red Bull Salzburg to qualify behind Chelsea.

Bayern Munich were the standout performers, however, becoming just the seventh team to go through with maximum points since 2003-04.

Five perfect winning records have occurred in the last four seasons, with Bayern now responsible for three of them.

  • Real Madrid (2011-12)
  • Real Madrid (2014-15)
  • Bayern Munich (2019-20)
  • Liverpool (2021-22)
  • Ajax (2021-22)
  • Bayern Munich (2021-22)
  • Bayern Munich (2022-23)

English clubs continue to dominate

Despite Bayern’s excellence, Premier League teams outperformed their counterparts in Europe’s ‘big five leagues’ on average.

Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham all qualified for the last 16 with an average points tally of more than 13, with Bundesliga clubs the next best at just under 11 points apiece.

Spanish teams fared the worst with fewer than eight points on average – their lowest since 2004-05 – as Barcelona and Atletico Madrid made surprise exits.

This is the fifth time in six seasons that Premier League sides have done better than teams in the Bundesliga, LaLiga, Serie A and Ligue 1.

They topped the rankings just once in the six years before that.

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