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Champions League: Five incredible group game upsets

Barca involved in some of the biggest

The UEFA Champions League group stages kick off in earnest next week with five Premier League clubs involved alongside Europe’s big boys.

Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur will all be looking to avoid any early slip-ups in their opening group games.

In a competition notorious for providing some remarkable results, the Coral News team take a look at five of the biggest group upsets.

Celtic v Barcelona, 2012-13

Champions League nights at Celtic Park are always special but none more so than when the Hoops overcame the mighty Barcelona 2-1.

Neil Lennon’s side was expected to be on the end of a hiding against the late Tito Vilanova’s Barca.

It didn’t turn out that way.

A first-half header from Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama had Parkhead absolutely rocking.

Young striker Tony Watt incredibly put the home side two goals ahead with seven minutes remaining to send supporters into raptures.

Lionel Messi did score a late consolation but it wasn’t enough to curtail an unforgettable night in Glasgow.

BATE Borisov v Bayern Munich, 2012-13

During the same year, Bayern Munich would suffer an amazing 3-1 defeat at BATE Borisov.

A full-strength Bayern line-up including Philipp Lahm, Franck Ribery, Toni Kroos, and Thomas Muller went two goals down against the Belarusian champions.

The Bundesliga champions did pull one back in the dying minutes but BATE would finish them off with a Renan Bressan strike in the 94th minute.

Jupp Heynckes’ team went on to win the tournament that year which made the upset even more incredible.

Barcelona v Rubin Kazan, 2009-10

Barcelona have a habit of being the victims of huge upsets.

Their 2-1 defeat to Russian Premier League side Rubin Kazan rocked European football.

Pep Guardiola’s side – the all-conquering, swashbuckling UCL champions – were somehow humbled despite fielding their best XI.

A 73rd-minute winner sealed a remarkable triumph at Camp Nou for Kurban Berdyev’s charges.

FC Basel 1893 v Manchester United2011-2012

Only twice before had Manchester United failed to reach the knockout phase of the Champions League.

Swiss Super League champions FC Basel would make it a third failure, sensationally stopping Sir Alex Ferguson’s team with a 2-1 win at St. Jakob-Park.

The reigning Premier League champions only needed a point to progress but went 1-0 down in the early stages.

As the Red Devils ploughed forward for an equaliser, Basel launched a counter with Alexander Frei making it 2-0.

A late Phil Jones goal was a mere consolation. Man United were out.

Coincidentally, Jose Mourinho’s team have the chance for revenge on Tuesday evening at Old Trafford.

AS Roma v CFR Cluj, 2008-09

Cluj pulled off one of the great group stage upsets by beating AS Roma at Stadio Olimpico.

Before this UCL campaign, the Romanians had only ever  had a UEFA Intertoto Cup final and UEFA Cup second qualifying round berth to their name in Europe.

They were expected to be humbled in this group game but remarkably won 2-1, with both goals coming from Juan Culio.

What was even more amazing about the result was the fact that they had come from a goal down to win.

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