Four of the worst Champions League finals of all-time

The 2022 Champions League final is set to take place between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Paris.

For most football fans of a certain age, Liverpool in Europe are associated with their incredible comeback in the 2005 final. Liverpool pulled off one of the great Champions League comebacks to come from 3-0 down at half-time to defeat AC Milan on penalties.

They scored three goals in six second-half minutes to turn the tie on its head, before Jerzy Dudek’s heroics in the shootout gave Liverpool their fifth Champions League crown.

Whilst that is widely regarded as the best final of all-time in the competition, the showpiece event of domestic European football doesn’t always provide us with the thrills and spills we hope for.

Let’s take a look back at four finals that didn’t quite live up to expectations:

Marseille 1-0 AC Milan (1993)

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Despite the star names on show, this final never really lived up to its billing.

Marseille’s ‘golden generation’ had made it to the Champions League final, even without influential striker Jean-Pierre Papin, who had won the Ballon d’Or two years earlier. He came off the bench for Milan in this final.

But the French side still had plenty of top talent. Rudi Voller, Didier Deschamps, Marcel Desailly, Abedi Pele.

Milan had Paolo Maldini, Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten – the latter playing in what would turn out to be his final professional match before retirement.

It was Basile Boli’s goal that gave the French side the Champions League crown, in the first season since the European Cup was revamped.

Marseille have never since played in a Champions League final. Their greatest triumph was followed by one of their darkest moments when, in 1994, the club were relegated to the second tier as a result of a match-fixing scandal.

Juventus 0-0 AC Milan (2-3 pens) (2003)

This match had everything. The first time two Italian sides had faced each other in a Champions League final. Over 60,000 fans inside Old Trafford. And two of the best attacks in the world facing off.

But the final itself certainly wasn’t a classic.

The match had some memorable moments – Andriy Shevchenko had a dubious goal ruled out for Milan, and Antonio Conte hit the bar for Juve late on. There was also one of the saves of the season from Gianluigi Buffon to deny Rui Costa.

But extra time and penalties almost seemed inevitable.

That’s what happened. Milan won the shootout, with Shevchenko scoring the winning penalty after five spot-kicks had been saved beforehand.

Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham (2019)

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This was another Champions League final with plenty of connotations in the build-up. Was this to be the first trophy for Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, after three final losses? Or would Mauricio Pochettino finally be the man to end Spurs’ 35-year European trophy drought?

It was a clash between two of the most exciting teams in English football. Spurs hadn’t got to the final the easy way – Lucas Moura’s last-minute winner against Ajax in the semis gave them their ticket to the main event.

But then neither had Liverpool. They looked down and out after losing 3-0 to Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the first leg of their semi-final, only to famously turn it around in the second leg at Anfield.

We could have been set up for a cracker. When Spurs gave a penalty away inside two minutes and Mohamed Salah put Liverpool ahead, it looked like we might get one.

But despite having most of the possession, Spurs created very few clear cut openings for the majority of the match. They had their chances in the second half, but Liverpool finished the game off when Divock Origi struck a second goal late on with only their third shot on target.

Paris Saint-Germain 0-1 Bayern Munich (2020)

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Nobody knew quite to what expect from a Champions League final behind closed doors – the first-ever (and hopefully only) of its kind.

Paris Saint-Germain scored 136 goals in all competitions in their shortened season, whilst Bayern Munich netted 100 in the Bundesliga alone. Plenty of goals were seemingly on the cards.

Only the one was scored. Both sides probed in the right areas in the first half, but neither could find the breakthrough.

It was Kingsley Coman, against his former club, that won it for Bayern in the second half. PSG had chances to equalise late on, but Manuel Neuer thwarted them, and it was Bayern who lifted the trophy.

Featured Image Credit: Getty