Biggest Wins of Minnows In the Champions League


Posted: October 4, 2021

Updated: October 4, 2021

  • Even smaller clubs can cause surprise wins in the Champions League
  • Like APOEL Nicosia who reached the quarter-finals in the 2012
  • Sheriff Tiraspol beat Real Madrid last week and lead their UCL group

Sheriff Tiraspol caused one of the biggest shocks in Champions League history with their 2-1 victory over Real Madrid this week. But other small clubs have also managed to cause huge surprises in the top European international club tournament. These are the biggest wins of minnows in the Champions League.

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Clubs of the biggest football nations like England, Germany, Spain, and Italy have been dominating the major tournaments, the Champions League and the Europa League since the beginning. Teams from Portugal, France, the Netherlands, and Russia have also won on a few occasions. But we can hardly see any representatives of other countries reaching the main stage. Of course, in the last few decades, there have been exceptions. like Cypriot club APOEL, Finnish HJK, or most recently Moldovan Sheriff Tiraspol. They all reached the group stage of the UCL but they hardly ever scored a point in their groups. It can all change now with the Sheriff who leads their group after two rounds ahead of Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

5. Helsingborg Knocked Out Inter in 2000

It happened 20 years ago, but surely the Swedish fans of Helsingborg still remember their team’s victory against the top Italian club Inter. They beat Inter Milan in a Champions League qualifier back in 2000, shocking everyone. First, Helsingborg won 1-0 against Inter at home and in the second leg, they managed to keep a 0-0 draw. Even though Marcello Lippi’s team received a penalty in the 89th minute, Alvaro Recoba’s penalty was saved by the Swedish goalkeeper. It also meant that the Swedish team achieved one of the biggest wins of minnows in the Champions League. Helsingborg got to the group stage for the first and only time in the club’s history and gained five points in six games.

4. Quarabag Qualified For the 2017 Champions League Group Stage

The Azerbaijani club of Qarabag is an eight-time domestic champion who got its first real success on the international level in the 2014-15 season. That year they reached the group stage of the Europa League after winning the playoff against Dutch side Twente. But the club achieved an even bigger result three years later, in the 2017-18 season. When they actually qualified for the Champions League group stage after defeating Copenhagen in the playoff.

biggest wins of minnows in the Champions League
Qarabağ FK: Azerbaijani professional football club Picture Source: Wikimedia

In their super-strong group, the team finished fourth after losing against Chelsea and Roma. But they drew against Atletico Madrid both times. Qarabag has been a regular participant of the Europa League group stage ever since. This season they play in the new Europa Conference League and face Kazakh team Kairat in the next round. With online sportsbooks in Azerbaijan favoring their team to win with the odds of 1.70.

3. BATE Borisov Beat Bayern Munich

Another club with recent great results is Belarusian BATE Borisov which also surprised big clubs a couple of times. But one of their biggest victories goes back to 2012 when they played against Bayern Munich. BATE managed to beat the German giants 3-1 at home in their group game at the Champions League. It was a small miracle as Bayern had such players in their squad as Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, or Franck Ribery. Jupp Heynckes’ team did recover from this defeat and went all the way to win the trophy. While BATE finished third in their group and continued in the Europa League. Where they lost 1-0 on aggregate against Turkish side Fenerbahce. Still, it was a great run from the Belarussians, who also reached the last 32 in the 2018-19 Europa League season.

2. APOEL Nicosia Got to the Quarter-Final in 2012

Cyprian teams hadn’t been taken seriously until the first success of Anorthosis which qualified for the Champions League group stage in 2008. Then in the following year, APOEL Nicosia repeated this great result when they also reached the group stage. That time they finished fourth in the group. But two years later the Cyprian team produced an amazing run. As APOEL topped their group ahead of Porto, Zenit, and Shakhtar Donetsk. In addition, they also knocked out the French champions, Lyon, in the last 16. Their tie went to penalties after extra time, where even Hugo Lloris couldn’t help his team to the victory. The minnows earned a game against Real Madrid who eventually ended their great run. But the Los Blancos suffered the latest shocking defeat from another minnow this season.

1. Sheriff Won Against Real at the Bernabeu

Sheriff Tiraspol was established in the Moldovan capital in 1997 and has tried to reach the Champions League group stage since 2001. First, the club got to the Europa League group stage though in the 2009-2010 season. They defeated Twente at home and finished third in the group at the end. The sheriff got the same result in 2013 and 2017 as well. Moldavian fans had to wait until this year for the club’s biggest achievement. The small team knocked out Red Star Belgrade and Dinamo Zagreb and reached the group stage of the 2021-22 Champions League.

And looks like Victor Gusan’s team wants more after leading their group after two rounds. They beat 13-time champions Real Madrid away, shocking the whole world of football. The sheriff has also beaten Shakhtar Donetsk in the first round and currently stands at the top of the group with 100%. Unbelievable performance from the minnows who scored the winning goal against Real in the 90th minute thanks to midfielder Sebastien Thill. Has become the first Luxembourgish player to score in the tournament. Next Sheriff will visit the San Siro and play against Inter Milan, who are still hugely favored to win the game on 22Bet. To learn more about the site you can also read our latest 22Bet sportsbook review here.

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