The Champions League is tough, nobody is disputing that, but even still, getting no points at all during the group stage takes some doing.
Or, at least, it used to.
Sadly, in recent times, as the gap between the haves and have-nots grows wider in Europe, this is happening more frequently to some of the competition’s smaller teams.
Even some of the game’s more well-known sides have suffered the ignominy of failing to pick up a single point.
Below, GOAL goes through all of the sides to have bowed out after losing all of their group games…
The…. eh…. ‘joint-best’ worst team in Champions League history is Otelul Galati. The tiny Romanian side lived the dream in 2011-12 – even if they did lose every game – but disaster was waiting around the corner.
Financial problems led to a marked decline and then bankruptcy in 2016. A phoenix club was formed shortly after and two promotions later they are currently plying their trade in Liga II.
Archetypal Champions League whipping boys Maccabi Haifa had a particularly tough time of it in 2009-10.
They came so close to preventing their appearance on this list – registering a staggering five 1-0 defeats – but it just was not to be. In the end, they didn’t even score a goal.
Fenerbahce once reached the Champions League quarter-finals, but there was no danger of them making the final eight in 2001-02.
It was a tough group in fairness, made up of Rivaldo’s Barcelona, the best Bayer Leverkusen side ever and French champions Lyon.
Former Champions League winners Marseille had a nightmare in 2013-14, being edged out 2-1 in each of their three home games at the Stade Velodrome.
Their shocking continental campaign played a significant role in Elie Baup being sacked in December 2013.
Another club to have fallen by the wayside following their Champions League exploits, Slovakian side Kosice was dissolved in 2017.
They were hit by tragedy during their sole Champions League campaign when young midfielder Milan Cvirk was sadly killed in a car crash. The accident also ended the career of driver and team-mate Albert Rusnak.
On paper, Partizan Belgrade’s Champions League group didn’t seem too bad.
However, looks can be deceiving and they ended up with zero points after losses to Arsenal, Braga and table-toppers Shakhtar Donetsk.
After a 12-year wait, AEK Athens finally qualified for the Champions League again in 2018-19 – but by the end of the group stage they might have wished they’d sat it out.
They’ve not been back to the competition since…
Before they were Bayern Munich and Juventus slayers, Villarreal found themselves humbled in Europe.
Bayern, Napoli and newly-monied Manchester City was a tough test to be fair, with just a handful of points separating the trio in the end.
Rapid Wien have only qualified for the group stages twice since the European Cup’s Champions League re-brand.
In 1996-97, they picked up credible draws against Juventus and Fenerbahce, but they couldn’t repeat the trick nine years later, conceding 15 times along the way.
Club Brugge really should have done better in 2016-17.
Not managing a single point against Leicester, Porto and FC Copenhagen is pretty poor, but they made up for it in 2022-23, qualifying from a group containing Atletico Madrid.
A long and proud association with the European Cup was not enough to save Benfica entering the nil-points club a few years back.
We’re sure Bela Guttmann was watching over them with a wry smile on his face…
Anderlecht have strong European pedigree, winning a host of minor continental honours in the 1970s and 1980s.
Their modern-day iteration is not so fearsome, though, as they showed in a rather embarrassing Champions League campaign in the mid-2000s. At least their kit was nice.
Debrecen is a lovely place; truly one of the hidden gems of Europe if you’re looking for a city break.
Unfortunately, their football team did not quite live up to this trendy reputation in 2009-10, fluffing their lines in their only ever Champions League appearance.
Maccabi Haifa reached a new low in 2015-16, getting pumped by Chelsea, Dynamo Kyiv and Porto as they finished 10 points off third spot in Group G.
They only managed one goal too – a consolation in a 3-1 home defeat to the Portuguese giants.
There were lots of problems with Dynamo Kyiv’s 2007-08 Champions League campaign.
Perhaps their biggest issue was their away form: they conceded nine without reply on their travels.
Dinamo Zagreb’s 2016-17 Champions League group stage went as followed: six games played, six losses, zero goals scored, 15 goals conceded.
For fans, it doesn’t get much more dispiriting than that.
There have been a spate of terrible Champions League teams in recent seasons. Take Besiktas, for example.
A side featuring Miralem Pjanic, Michy Batshuayi and Alex Teixeira should really be faring better. A 5-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on matchday six finally brought the misery to an end.
Boasting a population of just 80,000 and a tiny stadium, it was always going to be a struggle for Zilina in the Champions League.
And there was to be no David vs Goliath underdog success story here, with the Slovakian’s side 7-0 home defeat to Marseille proving particularly embarrassing.
Levski Sofia got to visit the Camp Nou in 2006, where they were on the receiving end of a 5-0 tonking.
Defeats to Chelsea and Werder Bremen followed and they have failed to return to the Champions League since.
Here’s a strange fact: Spartak Moscow are the only team to have won all of their Champions League group games (1995-96) in one season, and then lose all of their group games (2002-03) in another.
A neat metaphor for the highs and lows of the human experience right there.
Dinamo Zagreb waltzed to the Croatian title in 2011-12, but they could replicate these performances on the biggest stage.
At least their struggles provided a young Mateo Kovacic with a crash course in what not to do in Europe.
Despite being paired with an injury-stricken Barcelona, Viktoria Plzen still comfortably had the worst defensive record in Group C, conceding no less than 24 goals in just six matches.
At least they provided fans with something to cheer about, scoring five times.
Last but not least, introducing the worst team in Champions League group-stage history.
After a 12-year wait, Rangers fans were chopping at the bit to be backed among Europe’s elite. It didn’t go well.
The 2022 Europa League finalists might have thought they’d turned a corner after going 1-0 up against Liverpool on matchday four – only to concede seven without reply.
The quicker they forget about this one the better. But if current trends continue they should, at least, be relieved of their unfortunate title sooner rather than later.
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