Has any team won every game in a Champions League season?
Liverpool advanced to the quarter-final stage of the 2021-22 UCL last night despite falling at home to Inter Milan (0-1), advancing (2-1) on aggregate.
Liverpool were untouchable in the group stage of the 2021-22 Champions League, carving through a group consisting of Atlético Madrid, Porto and Milan – which before the tournament began earned the “group of death” tag – with barely a scratch on them and a record of six wins from six and a goal difference of +11. Jürgen Klopp’s side then beat Inter Milan 2-0 in the opening leg of their last 16 tie to take their record in this season’s edition of Europe’s elite club competition to seven wins from seven games but the record came to a halt at Anfield on Tuesday when Inter ran out 0-1 winners but failed to advance with Klopp's men progressing to the quarter-final 2-1 on aggregate.
Bayern Munich’s record run
The only side to have won every game in a Champions League or European Cup campaign is perennial Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, who achieved the feat in 2019-20 coronavirus truncated season. In doing so, the German powerhouse became the only side in the history of European continental competition to win a tournament with a 100% record, having torn through Group B of the Champions League with six wins from six games against Spurs, Olympiacos and Red Star Belgrade, scoring 24 times while conceding just five.
In the knock-out stages, Bayern hammered Chelsea 7-1 over two round of 16 legs before the pandemic spread across Europe, leading to the decision to stage the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final over one leg only with all games being played in Lisbon, in a kind of tournament within a tournament format that, like everything else in the 2019-20 season, will necessarily lead to an asterisk next to the German side’s achievement.
Still, Bayern made the best of the situation, thumping Barcelona 8-2 in the last eight to hand the Liga side their biggest European defeat in history, then dispatching Lyon 3-0 in the semi-finals before seeing off PSG by a single goal in the final.
That allowed Bayern to set a record as the highest-scoring Champions League-winning side in history, with 43 that season at an average rate of 3.91 goals per game, another Champions League record. By contrast, PSV hold the reverse record, scoring just nine times in nine games as the Dutch side lifted the 1987-88 European Cup.
Bayern will not be able to repeat their record-breaking exploits of 2019-20 this season, having been held to a 1-1 draw at Salzburg in the last 16. The only other perfect side from the group stage, Ajax, also drew 2-2 with Benfica in the first leg of their round of 16 tie, leaving Liverpool as the only side who can win every game in a single season this campaign.
Unbeaten sides in Europe
In the history of the European Cup / Champions League several sides have gone through the whole campaign without tasting defeat, and four have done so twice: Liverpool (1980-81 and 1983-84), AC Milan (1988-89 and 1993-94), Ajax (1971-72 and 1994-95) and Manchester United (1998-99 and 2007-08).
The other six sides to have won the European Cup or Champions League unbeaten on one occasion are Inter Milan (1963-64), Nottingham Forest (1978-79), Red Star Belgrade (1990-91), Marseille (1992-93), Barcelona (2005-06) and Bayern Munich, in 2019-20.