The 2021/22 Champions League season is at its penultimate stage. Liverpool, Villarreal, Manchester City and Real Madrid have reached the semi-finals but only two of them will be able to make it to the final. Several teams have collapsed at this stage while others have succeeded.
The Champions League is Europe’s premier competition
The Champions League has produced scintillating games season-after-season, especially in the semi-finals. Only the best of the best reach at this stage. A team that shows grit and will in this round, gets the opportunity to play in the final. But it is quite a task to get to the semi-finals as well.
On that note, let’s take a look at five clubs with the most semi-final appearances in the Champions League era. (1992/93-2021/22)
#5 Manchester United- 7
Manchester United may not be at the top of the football pyramid anymore but are still one of the biggest clubs in the game. They also got through to the UCL knockout stages this season, only to be defeated by Atletico Madrid in the Round of 16 tie.
However, during the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, the Red Devils would always go deep into the competition. The Old Trafford outfit have won the Champions League on three occasions, with two of them coming in the UCL era. But these numbers could have certainly been higher, especially since they have reached the semi-finals of the tournament seven times.
Moreover, with the strength of his teams being better than most teams in Europe, Ferguson will regret not doing better in the tournament. It will now be down to Erik ten Hag to assemble a squad that can regularly reach the semi-finals of the UCL.
#4 Chelsea- 8
Chelsea have been one of the most successful English teams over the last two decades and for good reason. Since the late 90s and the early 2000s, the Blues have been regularly competing for the best trophies on the planet.
Over the last 30 years, they have cemented themselves as one of the finest teams in world football and have won the UCL on two occasions. But they could have won several more if they had been a little more effective in the eight semi-finals they have reached in the Champions League era.
The West London club also had a chance to make it to another semi-final this season. However, Real Madrid denied them that opportunity with a thrilling comeback in their quarter-final tie.
Roman Abramovich’s funding ensured that Chelsea always competed for silverware but only time will tell how things will turn out with the new owners.
#3 Bayern Munich-12
Bayern Munich have been ever present in the Champions League since the late 90s. The German side are the most successful side in their country and have been just as good in European competitions over the years.
The Bavarians have won the UCL trophy on six occasions but only three of them have come in the Champions League era. The last time they tasted success was in 2020 when Hansi Flick & Co. romped to European glory.
But over the last 30 years, they have reached the semi-finals of the competition 12 times, thereby showcasing how many more trophies they could have won.
Bayern Munich could have been higher up this list if they had defeated Villarreal in the quarter-finals of the tournament this season.
#2 Barcelona- 12
Barcelona have enjoyed a rich taste of European success over the last three decades, thanks to the contributions of brilliant managers and world-class players.
People like Johan Cruyff, Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi have been the main reasons for the club’s success in the UCL and rightly so. While the Spanish manager assembled one of the most frightening teams in Europe, the Argentine forward is arguably the greatest player to ever take the field.
Hence, it is no surprise that Barcelona have won the UCL five times, with four of them coming in the Champions League era. But this number could have certainly been more, especially since they reached the semi-finals of the tournament on 12 occasions.
Xavi will have to complete a rebuild at the Nou Camp in the coming months if his side are to reach the penultimate stage of the UCL next season.
#1 Real Madrid-15
Real Madrid are European royalty and have displayed the same time and again in their glorious history.
Los Blancos haver won the UCL a record 13 times, with seven of those triumphs coming in the Champions League era.
With illustrious players and managers part of the club, it is no surprise that they have reached the semi-finals on 15 occasions in the last 30 years.
This includes their tie against Manchester City this season, where they are currently trailing 4-3 after the first leg. But as they have displayed previously, Real Madrid are never down and out and hold the capabilities to turn around games.
The Spanish side have always been strong in European competitions. It would be no surprise if they remain at the top of this list in the coming years as well.