The Champions League quarter-final stage began on Tuesday with Liverpool facing Real Madrid and City hosting Borussia Dortmund. Consistently playing in the quarter-finals of the Champions League is considered one of the toughest tasks in football. Being one of the top eight teams in Europe brings a lot of pride to the fans as well as players. In this article, we will look at five clubs that consistently qualified for the quarters season after season.
#5 Manchester United – 7 (1996/97–2002/03)
During the late ’90s and early ’20s, United were clearly the best English team when it came to European competitions. In 96-97, United continued their run until the semi-finals where they lost to eventual winners Borussia Dortmund. The next season Monaco eliminated United in the quarters itself but in 1999 they won the Champions League after a famous late goal from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
European heavyweights Real Madrid and Bayern Munich eliminated them in 2001 and 2000 respectively and went on to win the competition. They bowed out on goal difference in 2002 and then a famous hat-trick from Ronaldo resulted in their exit in 2003.
#4 Real Madrid – 7 (1997/98–2003/04)
This was an era of massive success for Real Madrid and their dominance began with a victory against Juventus in the 98′ UEFA Champions League final. Dynamo Kyiv handed them a shock exit in 1999 but the next year Madrid avenged the defeat and won the competition again after defeating Valencia.
In 2001, Bayern Munich eliminated the Los Blancos in the semi-finals by defeating them in both legs. The next season, Madrid defeated Bayern in the quarter-final stage and lifted the cup for the ninth time after defeating Bayer Leverkusen.
#3 Bayern München -7 (2011/12–2017/18)
When it comes to Europe, no side instils more fear in the opposition than Bayern Munich. Starting from 2012, Bayern embarked on a remarkable run that ended in 2019. In 2012, they narrowly lost the final to Chelsea in front of the home fans. Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund in 2013 final after a memorable goal from Arjen Robben.
In 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018 the team that defeated Bayern Munich lifted the UCL trophy. In 2018-19 also, future champions Liverpool eliminated them in the round of 16.
#2 Real Madrid – 8 (2010/11–2017/18)
Real Madrid’s second great UCL run of the century came from 2011 to 2018, culminating in a hat-trick victory in 2018. In 2010-11, Real Madrid suffered a famous defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Barcelona. The Bavarians eliminated them in 2012 and Lewandowski’s four-goal display ended Real’s hopes in 2013.
In 2013-14, Real Madrid won the title after a dramatic final in which they beat Atletico Madrid 4-1. Juventus got the better of Los Blancos in 2015 and Real Madrid avenged the defeat by winning the 2017 final against the Turin based club. In 2016, Real Madrid once again defeated Atletico in the final. In 2017-18, Real Madrid overcame a slump in league form to lift the title against Liverpool.
#1 Barcelona – 13 (2007/08–2019/20)
Barcelona’s 13 season streak of qualifying to Champions League quarter-finals is the longest by some distance. In 2008, a wonder strike from Paul Scholes eliminated Barcelona in the semi-finals. During Pep Guardiola’s time in charge, Barcelona won the Champions League in 2009 and 2011.
A memorable counter-attack goal from Fernando Torres resulted in yet another semi-final exit in 2012. Bayern thwarted them aside in 2013 and Atletico grinded out a victory in 2014. In 2015, Barcelona regained the title, thanks to their unstoppable attacking trio MSN. The past three seasons have seen Barcelona suffer humiliating losses in Rome, Liverpool and Lisbon.