The Champions League is a huge competition, but even that reputation hasn’t spared the competition from the clutches of the bizarre results which have marked all major European leagues, and as such we’ve never seen the strength from away teams in Europe’s premier club tournament.
Over the entire round of 16 for the 2020/21 season, only one of the teams who have played at home have managed to take a lead into their second leg, and that was Porto who defeated Juventus 2-1.Every single other away team were victorious, starting with Paris Saint-Germain’s blisteringly exciting 4-1 demolition of Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
The year that comes the closest to this 7-1 swing in favour of away teams is 2013/14, when there was one single home victory, one draw and six away wins, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund all taking an advantage back home.
It’s easy to figure out some of the reasons for this, although the main one is the lack of supporters in attendance at matches. If you look at the specific example of Atalanta losing 1-0 to Real Madrid, do you really think their crowd wouldn’t have made the difference?
Especially for a club that has been rarely at this stage of European football and playing their first ever Champions League game in their own stadium. There were also vibrant atmospheres missing at Atletico Madrid, RB Leipzig and Lazio’s home matches, with the latter again having been without serious Champions League knockout football at the Stadio Olimpico for a while.
Of course, you can’t totally ignore the evidence that is written on paper in front of your very eyes, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and PSG were all considered much better teams than their opponents, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they all won.