The four most surprising wins in UEFA's historyFootball is a game that can be full of surprises, as any fan of the beautiful game will know. For many fans, that's the idea: there'd be little point watching a game which didn't offer any sort of unpredictability, and that's especially true for those who like to have a bit of a bet on the outcome.
The various tournaments organized by the Union of European Football Associations (or UEFA for short) have had their fair share of shock results. This article will tell the stories of some of the most surprising results in the history of the European game.
Bayern Munich losing to Manchester United (1998-99)If you enjoy betting on football, and regularly use providers like Betsson to wager on the outcomes of games, you've probably seen a few unexpected twists and turns in your lifetime as a gambler. But few were prepared for the 1999 upset when German team Bayern Munich lost the Champions League Final 1-2 to UK side Manchester United.
One of the key facts to note about this game is that Manchester United only dipped into the underdog position at the very outset. Before the game kicked off, both sides were considered to be examples of the cream of the European crop. But with just six minutes gone, Bayern Munich took the lead via a free kick. The score remained 1-0 until the very end of the game, when United came back with two unexpected goals in injury time to steal victory - and the title - from the jaws of defeat.
AS Monaco defeating Real Madrid (2003-04)Real Madrid is considered one of the world's greatest clubs, so whenever they play, the assumption is nearly always that they're going to win. So it was something of a shock back in the 2003-04 Champions League that the team from the Spanish capital managed to lose to a side that few people had ever even heard of.
The 3-1 defeat at the hands of AS Monaco was widely regarded as an example of Real Madrid getting too big for their boots - and proving that even the best are not invincible.
Napoli losing out to Chelsea (2011-12)Chelsea is one of the top teams in English football, but back in 2012, they were not necessarily considered to be at the top of their game. In fact, at the time, they were widely considered to be struggling, especially after they lost the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 clash 1-3 against Napoli. Not much was expected from them in the return leg at Stamford Bridge.
Not so. By the end of the game, Chelsea had surged back to prominence with a 4-1 extra-time win. The game was tense at times, but The Blues managed to maintain their composure and pull off a famous and unexpected victory which put them through to the quarterfinals 5-4 on aggregate. They continued their winning form, and went on to claim the title that year.
Real Madrid losing to Sheriff Tiraspol (2021-22)In some ways, it feels a little unfair to pick on Real Madrid twice, but as one of the leading (not to mention potentially one of the most hubristic) sides in Europe, it's even more striking when they lose to a relatively unfancied side.
That's exactly what happened during the group stage of the current Champions League tournament, when the Spanish stars went down 1-2 to tournament debutants Sheriff Tiraspol, the first Moldovan team to qualify for the group stage of the competition. To make matters even worse, the defeat happened in front of Real Madrid's home fans at the famous Bernabéu.
The Spanish club was clearly the better side on the night, but the Moldovan newbies were not about to let the occasion overwhelm them. A final-minute winner by Sebastien Thill sealed one of the most epic upsets in Champions League history.
Overall, UEFA's footballing past has been jam-packed with surprising turns that many people could never have predicted. From the Champions League upset over 20 years ago when Bayern Munich lost to Manchester United to the shock defeat of Real Madrid by Sheriff Tiraspol this season, the European game has proven time and time again that it has the capacity to entertain and go down avenues that are far from the expected.