The UEFA Champions League is one of the most prestigious club competitions in the world of football. With its rich history, the tournament has seen many great teams and managers grace its stages. As the competition, progresses, the stakes get higher, and only the best teams and managers make it to the semi-finals. In this article, we will take a closer look at the five managers with the most Champions League semi-final appearances.
The only manager capable of doing it five times is Louis Van Gaal. For him, there were three semifinals: one with Ajax, one with Barcelona, and one with Bayern Munich. As for those with the Dutch team, two led to the final while one led to elimination: the two victories came in 1995 and 1996, against Bayern Munich and Panathinaikos; the one lost in 1997 against Juventus. He also lost that of 2000 at the helm of Barcelona, which had to surrender to Valencia. Positive outcome instead for the only semi-final with Bayern Munich, that of 2010 against Lyon.
Historic Manchester United manager, who, since his farewell, seems to have completely transformed into another team. Sir Alex Ferguson has reached seven Champions League semi-finals at the helm of the Red Devils. Slightly positive booty, with four wins and three defeats. The four victories are dated 1999 (against Juventus), 2008 (against Barcelona), 2009 (against Arsenal), and 2011 (against Schalke 04). The three defeats instead were 1997 (against Borussia Dortmund), 2001 (against Bayer Leverkusen), and 2007 (against Milan).
The Special One is placed on the lowest step of the podium. The last coach to have brought the Champions League to Italy was that of 2010 at the helm of Inter. In total, he has made eight semi-finals: one with Porto, one with Inter Milan, three with Chelsea, and three with Real Madrid. Won just two: in 2004 with Porto against Chelsea and in 2010 with Inter against Barcelona. The six defeats are instead divided into three at the helm of Chelsea and three at the helm of Real Madrid. With the Blues in 2005 and 2007 against Liverpool and in 2014 against Atletico Madrid. With the merengues in 2011 against Barcelona, in 2012 against Bayern Munich, and in 2013 against Borussia Dortmund.
Carlo Ancelotti has just risen to second position thanks to yet another semi-final at the helm of Real Madrid. Of the nine in his career, there are four with Real Madrid, four with Milan, and one with Juventus. Let’s start with the one he achieved at the helm of the Black and Whites, the first ever in his career, which ended with a defeat against Manchester United in 1999. Of the four with Milan, three won and only one lost. The victories in 2003 against Inter Milan, in 2005 against PSV Eindhoven, and in 2007 against Manchester United; the only defeat in 2006 against Barcelona With Real, the record for now reads two victories and one defeat. The victories in 2014 against Bayern Munich and in 2022 against Manchester City; the only defeat in 2015 against Juventus However, there is still this year’s match to play, in which Real Madrid will once again meet Manchester City.
The coach with the most Champions League semi-finals in history is Pep Guardiola, who has just reached ten thanks to the one he won with Manchester City. Specifically, four came from Barcelona, three from Bayern Munich, and three from Manchester City. Managing Barcelona, he achieved two victories (in 2009 against Chelsea and in 2011 against Real Madrid) and two defeats (in 2010 against Inter and in 2013 against Chelsea). Managing Bayern Munich, he suffered three defeats out of three: in 2014 against Real Madrid, in 2015 against Barcelona, and in 2016 against Atletico Madrid. One victory and one defeat for now with City: the victory in 2021 against PSG, the defeat in 2022 against Real Madrid.