The Best Champions League Games So Far This Season

By Ben Morris in UEFA Champions League
| March 30, 2020 4:49 am PDT
Best Champions League Games So Far This Season

There are currently major doubts surrounding the status of many soccer tournaments, including the Champions League.

We’d just reached the knockout stage in the Champions League before games had to be postponed, but it is unclear as to whether Europe’s premier club competition will be able to resume anytime soon.

In the meantime, let’s use the break in play to look back at some of the most memorable and entertaining games the Champions League has dished up in 2019/20.

Here are 8 of the most exciting Champions League games in 2019/20 so far.

Red Bull Salzburg 6-2 Genk

The 2019/20 Champions League kicked off in style, and a star was born on Matchday 1. Norwegian teenager Erling Haaland scored a first-half hat-trick on his UCL debut as Red Bull Salzburg thrashed Genk in their group-stage opener.

It was the 19-year-old’s third treble of the season and his 17th goal in just nine appearances at the time. Haaland announced himself on the European stage with a ruthless performance, and it set the tone for Salzburg’s breakthrough campaign.

Hwang Hee-chan, Dominik Szoboszlai, and Andreas Ulmer also got on the scoresheet for the Austrian side, while goals from Jhon Lucumi and Mbwana Samatta did little to brighten the Belgian club’s mood.

Genk eventually finished bottom of Group E with just a single point to show for their efforts. Meanwhile, Salzburg finished third, scoring 16 goals and conceding 13.

PSG 3-0 Real Madrid

When PSG was drawn into Group A alongside Real Madrid, it meant that we were set for two thrilling games between two of Europe’s elite clubs. And their meeting on Matchday 1 definitely didn’t disappoint.

Angel Di Maria netted twice against his former club as the Parisians stunned Los Blancos. The Argentine caught Thibaut Courtois off guard to open the scoring, but there was nothing the Real Madrid goalkeeper could’ve done to prevent Di Maria’s second goal. The PSG winger doubled his team’s advantage with an excellent curling strike from just outside the penalty area.

Zinedine Zidane’s men tried to mount a comeback, but Gareth Bale saw his spectacular lob ruled out by VAR just before half-time. Thomas Meunier eventually put the icing on the cake for PSG with a goal in second-half stoppage-time.

What made this victory even more remarkable was the fact that PSG was without their favored front three of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, and Edinson Cavani.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-7 Bayern Munich

Numerous records were broken as Bayern Munich inflicted a humiliating defeat on Tottenham Hotspur on Matchday 2. The game was finely poised at half-time, and Bayern went into the break with a 2-1 lead. However, Spurs’ second-half capitulation resulted in complete embarrassment for the home side.

Tottenham took the lead on 12 minutes through Son Heung-min, but Joshua Kimmich leveled moments later with a superb long-range effort. Robert Lewandowski put Bayern ahead with seconds remaining in the first before the floodgates well and truly opened after the break.

Serge Gnabry ran riot in the second half, becoming only the second German player to score four goals in a single Champions League game. Lewandowski scored his second and Bayern’s sixth, while Harry Kane converted a futile penalty.

This game will always be remembered for Tottenham’s dismal display. But Gnabry’s outstanding quadruplet mustn’t be forgotten about.

Liverpool 4-3 Red Bull Salzburg

Red Bull Salzburg’s courageous approach made for another extraordinary game at Anfield on Matchday 2. Goals from Sadio Mane, Andrew Robertson, and Mohamed Salah saw Liverpool race into a 3-0 lead within 30 minutes. But Salzburg was level just before the hour mark.

Hwang started the Salzburg comeback when he fired the ball past Adrian late in the first half. Takumi Minamino — now of Liverpool — scored Red Bull’s second with a well-timed volley, and Haaland bagged his fourth UCL goal in two appearances to silence the home crowd.

Unfortunately for Salzburg, the reigning European champion had more in the tank, and Salah scored his second goal of the game to seal the win for the Reds.

Still, it was refreshing to see one of the competition’s smaller clubs playing without fear. Jesse Marsch’s side was a breath of fresh air throughout the group stage, and it’s fair to say that Liverpool probably underestimated the Austrian club.

Chelsea 4-4 Ajax

This Matchday 4 game had just about everything. Eight goals (two of which were own goals), two red cards, two penalties, and some VAR controversy thrown in for good measure.

When Donny van de Beek put Ajax 4-1 up, it looked as though Chelsea was heading for a heavy home defeat. But in the space of eleven frantic minutes, Ajax’s Daley Blind and Joel Veltman were both sent off, while Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho, and Reece James all scored for the Blues.

Oh, and as if that wasn’t enough, Azpilicueta thought he’d won it for Chelsea late on. The Spaniard wheeled away in delight, but he was denied his second goal of the game after the video assistant referee spotted a handball by Tammy Abraham.

This rollercoaster encounter will surely go down as one of the craziest games in Champions League history.

Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Inter Milan

There have been plenty of memorable comebacks in the Champions League so far this season, and Borussia Dortmund’s stunning recovery against Inter Milan on Matchday 4 is no exception.

Lautaro Martinez’s sparkling solo effort put Inter in front with only five minutes on the clock. And when Matias Vecino capped off a fine team move to make it 2-0, Dortmund looked dead and buried.

However, the German side sprung to life after half-time. Real Madrid loanee Achraf Hakimi triggered the turnaround with a fortunate goal before Julian Brandt leveled with 30 minutes remaining. Hakimi then combined with Jadon Sancho to complete the miraculous fightback.

This was the first time that Dortmund had won a Champions League game having been two goals behind, while Inter had never previously lost a UCL game after taking a two-goal lead.

Valencia 3-4 Atalanta

I could’ve easily included both legs of Valencia’s Round of 16 tie with Atalanta on this list. After racking up a 4-1 lead a fortnight earlier, the Italian side advanced to the quarterfinals with an aggregate scoreline of 8-4.

Josip Ilicic only managed to score once in the first leg, but the Slovenian striker netted all four of Atalanta’s goals in the second leg. Two first-half penalties from Ilicic were canceled out by a double from Kevin Gameiro before Ferran Torres put Valencia ahead on the night. But Ilicic scored twice late on to put the tie to bed.

Atalanta reached the last eight of the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. But sadly, the game was being played behind closed doors, so Atalanta wasn’t able to share their celebrations with their supporters.

Liverpool 2-3 Atletico Madrid

Liverpool headed into the second leg of their Round of 16 clash against Atletico Madrid knowing that a win by two goals or more would be enough to book a spot in the quarterfinals.

Everything was going to plan when Georginio Wijnaldum gave the Reds the lead on the stroke of half-time. But some resolute defending from the Spanish side sent the game to extra-time.

Roberto Firmino picked the perfect time to score his first Anfield goal of the season when he put Liverpool in front just after the restart. But moments later, a poor clearance from Adrian was pounced upon by Marcos Llorente, and the midfielder scored to swing the tie in Atletico’s favor.

Llorente then netted again from the edge of the penalty area, while Alvaro Morata took advantage of an exposed Liverpool defense to seal a famous victory for Atletico, knocking the reigning champion out of the competition.

Final Words

Nobody knows exactly when the Champions League will resume, but UEFA has said that it wants to complete this season’s tournament by June 30.

That date may seem a little optimistic at the moment. But UEFA has also postponed Euro 2020 by one year, so that allows more time for domestic and European competitions to be finished.

Whatever the outcome, I’m hoping that it won’t be too long before the Champions League is back and providing us with more thrilling games.

If you’re looking for more content like this, head over to our soccer blog.

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