Matchdays three and four of the UEFA Champions League is where groups really start to take shape, with Barcelona and Manchester City the highlight of this year’s fixtures. UEFA.com remembers some classic double-headers from years gone by.
1994/95: Manchester United 2-2 Barcelona, Barcelona 4-0 Manchester United
The teams’ first meeting, at Old Trafford, proved engrossing enough with United leading 1-0 through former Barça striker Mark Hughes, only for Romário and José Mari Bakero to score either side of half-time. Lee Sharpe’s clever flick salvage a late point for United, but they were utterly exposed at the Camp Nou, Hristo Stoichkov scoring twice and Romário and Albert Ferrer once apiece in a Barcelona masterclass.
1997/98: Dynamo Kyiv 3-0 Barcelona, Barcelona 0-4 Dynamo Kyiv
The boot was on the other foot for Barcelona three years later, however, as Dynamo’s strikers announced themselves in considerable style. Both Andriy Shevchenko and Serhiy Rebrov scored in Dynamo’s first two group games before Barcelona came to Kyiv – and were sent home on the wrong end of a heavy defeat thanks to goals from Rebrov, Yuriy Maximov and captain Yuriy Kalitvintsev. Even better was to follow for Dynamo in Spain, where Shevchenko’s stunning hat-trick, and a late fourth from Rebrov, inflicting Barça’s joint heaviest European defeat.
2000/01: Bayer Leverkusen 2-3 Real Madrid, Real Madrid 5-3 Bayer Leverkusen
The season before Madrid beat Leverkusen in the final in Glasgow, the teams played two epic encounters in the first group stage. Madrid won them both, Roberto Carlos scoring twice in Germany as the visitors prevailed in a five-goal thriller before Guti struck twice at the Santiago Bernabéu – although Leverkusen’s gutsy challenge was only ended by Luís Figo’s 87th-minute penalty.
2006/07: Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona, Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea
Their group stage contests might have lacked the high-velocity drama of Chelsea’s round of 16 win in 2004/05, or their 2012 semi-final triumph en route to a first European crown, but they were just as engrossing as any other encounters in their long rivalry. Didier Drogba’s 47th-minute goal gave Chelsea the points in the first game at Stamford Bridge; a future Chelsea player, Deco, and a former one in Eidur Gudjohnsen, looked to have ensured another home win at the Camp Nou only for Frank Lampard’s remarkable improvised finish to snatch a point in added time.
2009/10: Debrecen 3-4 Fiorentina, Fiorentina 5-2 Debrecen
Debutants Debrecen would end up losing all six games on their first – and so far, only – group stage appearance, although the Hungarian champions could consider themselves a touch unfortunate. They showed plenty of spirit against Fiorentina, taking a second-minute lead through Pétar Czvitkovics but Adrian Mutu (2) and Alberto Gilardino had the Italian side 3-1 up and in control by the 20th minute. A similar flurry of goals did for Debrecen again at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, four in 23 minutes giving Fiorentina the points again in another seven-goal feast.
2010/11: Internazionale Milano 4-3 Tottenham Hotspur, Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Internazionale Milano
Spurs might have lost the first game at San Siro, but the contest will be forever remembered for a first glimpse of Gareth Bale’s talent. Reduced to ten men as early as the 11th minute when Heurelho Gomes was sent off – Samuel Eto’o converting the resulting penalty to give Inter a 2-0 lead – Spurs looked set for a hiding when the Cameroonian got his second goal and Inter’s fourth in the 35th minute. Bale reduced arrears seven minutes into the second period and, with his pace exposing Maicon, scored twice more against the holders in the final moments. With renewed belief, Tottenham produced another fine display to take the points at White Hart Lane with Bale again to the fore.
2012/13: Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Real Madrid, Real Madrid 2-2 Borussia Dortmund
The first of what would be four meetings that season was settled in the 64th minute by Marcel Schmelzer after Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo had swapped first-half goals. Mesut Özil’s 89th-minute free-kick rescued a home point for Madrid after Dortmund had led twice in the Bernabéu, Jürgen Klopp’s side had the last laugh, however, getting the better of Madrid again in the semi-finals – thanks mainly to Lewandowski’s four-goal haul in the first leg.
2014/15: BATE Borisov 0-7 Shakhtar Donetsk, Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 BATE Borisov
Consecutive large victories are relatively rare in the UEFA Champions League, so it is testament to the ruthlessness of Shakhtar Donetsk – and Luiz Adriano – that they were able to run in 12 goals without reply against Belarus’ BATE Borisov. Luiz Adriano became only the second player to score five goals in a match in the competition in the first game in Minsk, then had to be content with just a hat-trick back in Ukraine – setting him on the way to a record-equalling nine goals in the group stage.