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Magpies in Champions League

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After an impressive showing in the Premier League where they finished fourth, Newcastle United are back in the Champions League after a hiatus of 20 years. Amidst an incredible season that saw Manchester City winning their third Premier League title in a row and Arsenal throw a well earned lead at the top of that table, the story of Magpies impressive campaign has taken somewhat of a backseat.

The Magpies have confirmed their qualification for next season’s Champions League. This will only be the fourth time in the club’s history that they will play the top-tier European l; league. However, this time Newcastle United would arrive with a far more competitive squad and a monstrous budget to improve further.

After their takeover, everyone expected Newcastle United to become a force in England. However, no one could have envisioned that they would do it so quickly. And now they must prove their worth in the biggest club tournament. So, how did Newcastle United fare in their previous Champions League campaigns?

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1997-98 UEFA Champions League

Newcastle United had a stellar 1996-97 Premier League season, finishing second. The star player of the campaign was the striker partnership of Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand. While Shearer finished as top scorer with 25 goals, Ferdinand chipped in with 16 goals and eight assists.

Their journey started in the second qualifying round of the Champions League, where they faced Croatian side Croatia Zagreb. Over the two legs, the Magpies won the tie 4-3 to qualify for the group stages.

Newcastle United were paired with Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven and Dynamo Kyiv. While they started their campaign brilliantly, defeating Barcelona courtesy of a hattrick from Faustino Asprilla and securing an away draw to Dynamo Kyiv, three back-to-back losses meant they finished third in the group to exit the tournament.

2002-03 UEFA Champions League 

Newcastle United’s next stint in the UEFA Champions League came five years later when the club finished fourth in the league. Once again, it was their talismanic striker Alan Shearer leading the way with 23 goals (the second-most in the league). At the same time, the duo of Laurent Robert and Nolberto Solano provided a combined 20 assists.

This got them to the final qualifying round, where they faced Bosnian club Zeljeznicar. However, the Magpies were too good for the team from the east as they won the tie 6-0 on aggregate. With this victory, they got into the first group stage of the Champions League, being drawn with Juventus, Dynamo Kyiv and Feyenoord.

However, their start was horrendous as they lost all their opening three games. However, with their hopes of qualification hanging by a thread, the team won their remaining matches to qualify for the next round.

They were paired against Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Bayer Leverkusen in the next round. Unfortunately, the next round proved a hurdle too high for the club to clear, and although they managed to win two matches, they finished third to exit the tournament.

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2003-04 UEFA Champions League 

Newcastle United’s last appearance in the UEFA Champions League came in the 2003-04 season. The club finished third, with Alan Shearer again the top scorer with 17 goals. However, on the third time of asking, Newcastle failed to win the final qualifying round, losing to Partizan Belgrade on penalties.

Newcastle, though, got into the UEFA Cup, where they went on an impressive run reaching the semi-finals with Alan Shearer as the joint-top scorer and Craig Bellamy as the second-most top scorer.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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