Skip to content
en-gb GO TO bet365 Sports
  1. Football
  2. Champions League

Champions League: The unlikeliest group stage wins

Celtic will conclude their Champions League group stage campaign with a daunting trip to the Bernabeu to take on reigning champions Real Madrid on Wednesday.

This article was originally published on 30 October 2022

Ange Postecoglou's side have already been eliminated from the competition and are guaranteed to finish bottom of the group after taking just two points from their opening five matches, although their performances have been, on the whole, better than their results suggest.

The Bhoys will now round off their campaign with a glamour tie away to 14-time European champions Real Madrid, who are already guaranteed their place in the knockout stages but still need a result to ensure they qualify as group winners.

That need could make Wednesday's clash even tougher for Celtic, who are 10/1 to spring a surprise in Madrid, but the Bhoys can at least draw confidence from some of the previous shock results in the Champions League group stage.

WhatReal Madrid v Celtic
WhereSantiago Bernabeu, Madrid 
When17:45, Wednesday 2nd November
How to watchBT Sport 4
OddsReal Madrid 1/5, Draw 6/1, Celtic 10/1

Bhoys have history

Celtic do not have to look very far for inspiration when it comes to springing a surprise in the Champions League, as the Bhoys claimed a shock 2-1 victory over Barcelona at Parkhead during the 2012/13 group stage.

On a raucous night in the east end of Glasgow, goals from Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt put Celtic two goals in front and they were able to hold on despite a certain Lionel Messi pulling one back late on for Barca.

The victory was made even more impressive as it was achieved despite Celtic having just 16.4% possession, while they were facing a Barca outfit that had been crowned champions of Europe in two of the previous four years.

Neil Lennon's side went on the qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League that year - the last time a Scottish team has achieved that feat - and the current Celtic team are 28/1 to replicate that 2-1 victory at the Bernabeu this midweek.

There was only one Sheriff in town

While it could be argued Celtic's victory over Barcelona is little more than a fading memory, the Bhoys will be able to take plenty of hope from Real Madrid's shock home defeat to Sheriff Tiraspol during last season's group stage.

The Moldovan outfit were embarking on their first campaign in the group stage, and after beating Shakhtar Donetsk on Matchday One, they would have gone into their trip to the Bernabeu with renewed hope if not confidence.

Jasurbek Yakhshiboev gave Sheriff a shock lead in the Spanish capital, but many would have expected Real to go on and win the match when Karim Benzema levelled from the penalty spot during the second half.

However, it was Sheriff that had the last laugh on the night, with Sebastien Thill striking an 89th-minute winner to send the pocket of travelling supporters into jubilation.

Unfortunately for Sheriff, they did not win another match and exited the competition, while Real would go on to not only top the group, but win the competition for a record-extending 14th time. Carlo Ancelotti's side are 11/1 to defend their title this term.

English teams have been humbled too

It is not just Spanish teams that have been on the receiving end of shock defeats in the Champions League group stage, with English clubs having also had their fair share of surprise setbacks.

Manchester United suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at Lille during what was a disastrous 2005/06 group stage campaign. Milenko Acimovic scored the only goal of the game for the French team in that fixture.

Remarkably that was Lille's only goal in that's season competition, but they still finished above United, who propped up the standings and suffered an early European exit.

Arsenal have also been on the receiving end of a shock Champions League defeat. The Gunners went down 1-0 at Real Mallorca in their opening match of the 2001/02 campaign - the Spanish side were making their debut in the competition.

Arsene Wenger's side were up against it when they had Ashley Cole sent off early in the first half, with the England star receiving his marching orders for conceding a penalty that was converted by Vicente Engonga.

Things got worse for Arsenal, as they also lost their second match in that season's competition to Panathinaikos, although the Gunners did ultimately qualify for the round of 16, ironically edging out Mallorca.

All these results should give Celtic some hope of springing a surprise in Madrid during the week, although Real remain the overwhelming 1/5 favourites to win what will be the first meeting between the two sides at the Bernabeu since 1980.

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy

New to bet365? Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets

Join Now

Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.