UCL Group Stages: Winners and Losers
After 6 gamedays, the group stages for the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League have come to an end. Which teams can be considered the biggest winners and losers?
The Champions League group stage has come to an end, and it’s left us with plenty to talk about. Bayern Munich became the first team to win all six group matches on three separate occasions. Benfica topped PSG in their group after a huge win against Maccabi Haifa. Eintracht Frankfurt surprisingly made it in the round of 16. But who are the biggest winners of the UCL 2022-23 group stage and who are the biggest losers?
UCL 2022-23 Winners: Bayern Munich
The Bavarian giants were the only side to boast a perfect record in the group stages this year, topping Group C with six wins, 18 goals, and allowing only two goals. They became the first team to win 100% of their group stage matches in three different Champions League campaigns.
UCL 2022-23 Winners: Inter Milan
Last year, Milan was eliminated in the UCL group stages, but this time the seven-time winners made a comeback. They had three wins, one tie, and two losses to land in second place in Group E and qualify for the knockout stage for the first time since 2013-14.
“This is only the first step, we don’t have to stop now,” said Milan’s head coach Stefano Pioli. “Our mentality is to try to be competitive also in the next stage…we have aim to reach the quarterfinals.”
UCL 2022-23 Winners: Napoli
Finishing first in Group A, Napoli delivered one of the best group stage showings this season, dodging past last year’s runners-up Liverpool. Their 15 points is the best group stage return in Champions League history for the team, surpassing the 12 they managed on two separate occasions.
UCL 2022-23 Winners: Benfica
Benfica is perhaps one of the biggest surprises. They played alongside two European heavyweights (PSG and Juventus), and ended up finishing first in Group H with four wins, two ties, and no losses, and 18 total goals. They went undefeated in a UCL group for just the third time in franchise history, and the first time since the 2011-12 season.
UCL 2022-23 Winners: Club Brugge
Another big surprise from the group stages was Club Brugge, who finished second in Group B, qualifying from the UCL group stages for the first time in their history. They failed to do so in their previous nine attempts.
UCL 2022-23 Losers: All the Spanish teams
Usually the dominant force within Europe, the Spanish teams have struggled this year, with three of the four Spanish teams being eliminated from the Champions League group stages this time around.
Barcelona finished third in Group C, Atlético Madrid last in Group B, and Sevilla third in Group G.
Atleti finishing at the bottom of a UCL group was a first, while five-time winners Barcelona suffered a group stage exit for the second season in a row.
“However you want to say it, elimination is a very big disappointment,” said Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández. “For us, it is a great disappointment.”
UCL 2022-23 Losers: Rangers
This was Rangers’ first UCL campaign since the 2010-11 season, but the excitement quickly faded for the Scots. Their group stage performance was the worst in Champions League history, with six losses and a -20 goal difference, surpassing the previous record set by Dinamo Zagreb back in 2011-12.
UCL 2022-23 Losers: Juventus
The Italian giants looked like a shadow of their former selves, finishing third in Group H with just one measly win and nine goals in the group stage. They failed to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14.