The UEFA Champions League is reserved for the best teams across Europe but that doesn’t always mean an equal playing field.
With some leagues and clubs simply better than others, teams can find themselves overwhelmed when they compete in the competition
A tough draw can further highlight gaps in quality and a number of clubs have been embarrassed in recent years.
The Sporting News takes a look at the worst teams in Champions League history.
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Scottish club Rangers set a new record for the worst ever group stage performance in the UEFA Champions League on November 1, 2022.
Their 2022/23 campaign saw them lose all six games, concede 22 goals and score just twice themselves.
Rangers made unwanted history after a final 3-1 loss to Ajax at home having also lost twice against Napoli and Liverpool during the group stages. A 7-1 defeat to the Reds on matchday four proved particularly costly
They took the record off Croatian team Dinamo Zagreb, who also lost all six of their group games in 2012/13 and finished with a goal difference of -19.
That now surpassed record was also matched this season by Czech club Viktoria Plzen, who failed to pick up any points and had a goal difference of -19 in a brutal group containing Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Barcelona.
Unlike Rangers, Plzen did enjoy a bit more success in front of goal, having found the back of the net five times.
20 – Rangers have conceded 20 goals in the UEFA Champions League this season; just the second time a Scottish side have shipped 20+ times in a single European Cup/UCL campaign, after Rangers themselves in 1959-60. Overwhelmed. pic.twitter.com/4mnS1sfJwH
This Champions League record is a brutal wake-up call for Rangers having made the Europa League final last season.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side simply weren’t up for Champions League football and struggled to match the intensity of the teams they faced.
Rangers did notably come up against three strong teams with both Napoli and Ajax currently top of their respective leagues.
While Liverpool are struggling in the Premier League so far this season, the Reds have managed to be consistent in Europe and were particularly sharp in their 7-1 thrashing of Rangers.
So is this Rangers team particularly bad or were they dealt an unfortunate hand? The answer appears to be a bit of both.
Viktoria Plzen had the worst group draw this season but managed to show greater fight and a sharper edge than Rangers in the final third.
The Scottish side have also been in mixed form domestically and while they do sit second in the Scottish Premiership, nine wins from their first 12 games isn’t the kind of start they were after.
Scottish teams have simply fallen down the pecking order in Europe over the past decade too with Celtic also struggling in the competition this season despite their recent domestic dominance.
🎙️ Giovanni van Bronckhorst spoke to the media after tonight’s #UCL match against Ajax. pic.twitter.com/00Ff0iNwVE
Since the Champions League took on its current form in 1992, Rangers have historically struggled in the competition.
The 2022/23 season was their first appearance in the group stages in 11 years.
The Scottish club have now won just one of their past 18 Champions League matches.
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