Champions League Teams That Made Their Mark
If you have been a fan of European football for any length of time, you will probably be familiar with the teams that made their mark in the Champions League. Some of these teams include Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Leverkusen, and Tottenham Hotspur. But did you know that there are other teams that made their mark in the competition?
Despite having a mediocre season overall, Bayern Munich made their mark in the Champions League with five goals in the first 37 minutes against Bayer Leverkusen. The team is currently top of the Bundesliga standings, and coach Joachim Nagelsmann believes that the victory over Bayer Leverkusen was crucial in establishing themselves as the best side in the competition.
Borussia Dortmund has been around for a long time. It played in the Oberliga West from 1946 until 1963, the first division of German football. In the late 1950s, the team was the dominant force in Germany. In 1949, Borussia played in the Stuttgart final against VfR Mannheim and lost on penalties. In 1956, they won their first national championship, defeating Hamburger SV 4-1 in the final. Alfred Preissler and Alfred Kelbassa were legends at Dortmund. In the last-16, the team faced Shakhtar Donetsk, a team with a rich history and a talented squad.
As a young club, Leverkusen made a strong first impression in the Champions League. They had a very well-rounded squad that combined old-fashioned might and Dutch artistry. Their frontline was strong with talented players such as Michael Ballack, who scored 23 goals in all competitions. Other key players included Lucio, Frimpong, and Berbatov, who all scored at least once.
Spurs are back in the Champions League for the first time in two years after a lengthy absence. They had played in the Europa League and Europa Conference League during the two-year gap, but their fourth place finish in the Premier League last season secured their place in the competition. Spurs are coached by Antonio Conte, who led the team to fourth place in the Premier League last season.
It’s a rare occurrence for a London club to make their mark in the Champions League, but Chelsea did it recently. The team began their season with a 1-0 victory over Zenit St Petersburg and then went on to beat Malmo 4-0 and Juventus 1-0. Last week, Chelsea won 5-0 against Lille, and they’ll be hoping to keep this two-goal cushion when they travel to France on March 16.
Maccabi Haifa were Israeli champions in 2017/18 and reached the UEFA Champions League group stage for the third time in their history. After winning the domestic league, Maccabi won the play-off round against Red Star Belgrade and beat Olympiacos in the qualifying rounds to reach the group stage. But the club is far from a European giant and will need to prove themselves if they want to make their mark in the competition.
Last season, Ajax were tipped to be a one-off team, but instead they are in sensational form at home and in Europe. Can they pull off a second shock? We take a look at their squad under Erik Ten Hag, who has done a wonderful job with them.