The Champions League may be prestigious and elite, the very pinnacle of European football, but mismatches still occur. 

Once in a while, a team continues to disprove the Champions League betting and makes it all the way beyond the qualifying rounds to the group stage where the big boys await.

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In Estonia they are the reigning champions, the best of their peers. Suddenly, they’re in the Bernabeu, cast as minnows and hopelessly outclassed.

Where possible, we have omitted these occasions when Goliath swatted aside a plucky David.

Instead, we’ve focused on the times when two behemoths have met, with one ruthlessly dismantling the other.

Think the two T-Rexs in Jurassic Park turning on one another, but rather than an almighty scrap ensuing, it is bizarrely one-sided. These are results that shocked a watching continent.  

Humiliating Champions League Defeats:

  • Barcelona 2-8 Bayern Munich (2019/20)

  • Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain (2016/17)

  • Bayern Munich 0-4 Real Madrid (2013/14)

  • Real Madrid 0 Liverpool 4 (2008/09) 

  • Manchester City 7-0 RB Leipzig (2022/23)

  • Atletico Madrid 6 Celtic 0 (2023/24) 

  • Tottenham Hotspur 2-7 Bayern Munich (2019/20)

  • Liverpool 2-5 Real Madrid (2022/23)

  • Manchester United 7-1 AS Roma (2006/07)

  • Liverpool 8-0 Besiktas (2007/08) 

If these results tell us anything, it’s that even at the very highest level expensively assembled teams full of household names can spectacularly collapse.   

So, without further ado, it is time to count down the 10 most embarrassing defeats in Champions League history – do you agree with our football rankings?

Liverpool 8-0 Besiktas 

With a team sprinkled with Turkish internationals, Besiktas had beaten Liverpool in the corresponding fixture just two weeks before, the Brazilian forward Bobo scoring a late winner in Istanbul and giving the Black Eagles every chance of qualifying from Group A.

The visitors therefore presumably arrived at Anfield in good spirits, particularly as they topped Super Lig at the time, as per battling it out with their domestic arch-rivals Galatasaray. 

Rafa Benitez’s Reds however simply blew them away, committing men forward at every opportunity and not giving an overwhelmed opposition time to settle.

The game was all-but-won by the break, Liverpool two goals to the good. The second half was as brutal a demolition this competition has seen.

Ryan Babel scored twice. That alone tells the whole sorry tale. 

Manchester United 7-1 AS Roma

Holding a 2-1 advantage after a very competitive first leg in the Italian capital, Roma headed to Old Trafford in pretty solid form.

They had knocked out Lyon in the round of 16, and looked well-set to reach the last four.

Manchester United, however, had other ideas.

Alex Ferguson’s side mounted a ninety minute assault on the senses, taking a 3-0 lead before the 20-minute mark and adding three more before Roma scored their lone goal in the 69th minute.

The Red Devils were knocked out at the semis by Milan, who went on to beat Liverpool in the final. 

Liverpool 2-5 Real Madrid

A three-goal loss to the defending champions isn’t the heaviest defeat we’ve seen in the Champions League, but the manner of it was alarming.

Liverpool and Real had formed a rivalry after Los Blancos defeated Jurgen Klopp’s team in two finals.

The Reds were in the midst of a disappointing season, with the Champions League their best hope of a positive campaign.

In dreamland when Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah put them 2-0 up 14 minutes into the last 16 tie, it all came crumbling down in the matter of a few moments.

Real were level by the 36th minute and were 5-2 up half-an-hour of game-time later. Liverpool’s defence completely fell apart in their biggest match of the season. 

Tottenham 2-7 Bayern Munich

A week is a long time in football. Four months can alter a narrative completely.

On June 1st, Spurs took on Liverpool in the biggest game in their history.

Though admittedly pitched as underdogs in the Champions League final betting, and though ultimately they lost 2-0, it was a statement of the enormous strides the club was making under Mauricio Pochettino. 

They were now one of the prominent players on the continental stage. 

On October 1st, they were subjected to a 7-2 hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich in the group stage. Reality bit, and bit so hard it drew blood. 

Heung-min Son put the Lilywhites ahead 12 minutes in, but Bayern scored four more unanswered prior to Harry Kane’s 61st-minute penalty.

FC Hollywood then netted three in five minutes before the final whistle to wrap up a drubbing.

Former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry finished with four goals, rubbing greater salt into some painful Spurs wounds.

Pochettino was sacked a matter of weeks later. 

Atletico Madrid 6-0 Celtic

Few expected the Hoops to emerge victorious from the Metropolitano. Brendan Rodgers’ men had already lost narrowly to Feyenoord and Lazio, making qualification extremely unlikely.

A draw in the corresponding tie to this one, however, showed that Celtic could match Atletico on any given night. 

Alas, an already formidable task became almost impossible when Antoine Griezmann struck inside five minutes and forlorn hopes were well and truly dashed as early as the 23rd minute when Celtic’s winger Daizen Maeda saw red. 

What followed was one-way traffic, with backs to the wall, and a futile attempt to keep the score respectable.

Few expected the Scottish champions to win in Madrid, but nobody anticipated a side so imperious domestically to implode as they did. 

Manchester City 7-0 RB Leipzig

After a competitive 1-1 draw in the first leg, RB Leipzig must have fancied their chances of an upset as the tie headed to Manchester. What followed was a humiliation for the Bundesliga club. 

Erling Haaland effectively wrapped the tie up for Pep Guardiola’s side with a first-half hat-trick.

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The Norwegian added two more after the break. Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne also getting on the scoresheet.

Leipzig were not the first or last team to lose heavily at the Etihad, but such a thumping in a Champions League knockout match is always crushing.

Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid

For the fifth season running Los Blancos exited the competition at the last 16 stage, on this occasion finding themselves sucker-punched by a late Yossi Benayoun effort at the Bernabeu before heading to Anfield in a bid to atone.

Instead, a glittering array of stars – from Pepe, Cannavaro and Ramos at the back, to Van Nistelrooy, Robben and Higuain up front – succumbed to a storm the likes of which only Liverpool can provide on a ramped-up European evening. 

Unsurprisingly, Steven Gerrard was the hero who made the headlines, twice adding to a Fernando Torres opener, before Andrea Dossena kicked the Galacticos when they were down and out in the final minute. 

Bayern Munich 0-4 Real Madrid

Guardiola is on the other side of a heavy defeat with this one.

The tie was delicately poised after Real Madrid won 1-0 at the Bernabeu in the first leg, but hopes of a thriller for the neutrals were eliminated inside 20 minutes thanks to a brace of set-piece goals from Sergio Ramos.

Cristiano Ronaldo put it beyond all doubt with a counter-attack strike in the 34th minute before a free-kick just before the final whistle.

Guardiola never reached a Champions League final with Bayern despite often being favoured to win the competition.

After this victory in Bavaria, Real got past Atletico in the final to begin another dynastic run. 

Barcelona 6-1 PSG

In a blockbuster last 16 tie PSG headed to Spain comfortably buffered by a 4-0 first-leg win.

Surely, they were finally proving they could compete with Europe’s elite on the biggest stage of them all? Not quite.

Barcelona prepared for the second leg with a 5-0 win over Celta, which proved to be a sign of things to come.

Luis Suarez put the hosts ahead three minutes in, setting them on the right track, but the second goal didn’t come until the 40th minute.

Lionel Messi made it 3-0 with 50 minutes on the clock, but Edinson Cavani got an away goal for PSG which seemed to have blunted Barca’s shot at history. 

PSG imploded after being angered at having a penalty shout turned down. Neymar found the net with a free-kick in the 88th minute, giving the hosts a glimmer of hope.

A penalty for the hosts was converted moments later before Sergi Roberto’s dramatic tie-winning goal five minutes into added time. 

Barcelona 2-8 Bayern Munich

Played behind closed doors in Lisbon, we can only imagine what the atmosphere would have been like had this taken place at a packed Camp Nou.

This quarter-final drubbing was the first time Barcelona had conceded eight goals in a match since 1946.

Remarkably, Barca took an early lead through an early David Alaba own goal. Bayern, though, were 5-1 up with 31 minutes on the clock.

Images of a dejected Lionel Messi are the long-standing memory of this fixture. It was symbolic of how far Barcelona had fallen due to ageing core players and some poor recruitment decisions.

Bayern ultimately won the competition, and Messi left for PSG 12 months later.

*Credit for the photos in this article belongs to Alamy*

Stephen Tudor is a freelance football writer and sports enthusiast who only knows slightly less about the beautiful game than you do.

A contributor to FourFourTwo and Forbes, he is a Manchester City fan who was taken to Maine Road as a child because his grandad predicted they would one day be good.