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These Are The Sensation Champions From Europe 1977 – 2019


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The Nobodys, who were more likely to be considered Relegated Candidates

Against all odds Leicester City won the Premier League in 2015/16.
Against all odds Leicester City won the Premier League in 2015/16. Photo: Getty Images

In the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich have won the championship for seven years in a row now (2018/19). In Spain, it is either Barca or Real who win LaLiga while Italy and France are dominated by Juventus Turin and Paris St. Germain.

Some alternation was brought by the title of AS Monaco in France a few years ago. There is a maximum of 6 teams in England that can become champions – ManCity, ManU, FC Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea. Meanwhile, Celtic Glasgow are the regular winner in Scotland.

But the boredom has not always been like that. First of all, those clubs that are only among the extended circle of favorites have won the championship from time to time. And then there are big sensations from time to time. Nobodys, who were regarded as relegation candidates suddenly and quite surprisingly become champions.

That doesn’t happen so often. But there have already been. And not only in the second-rate leagues of Europe. We have summarized the stories of 18 sensation champions in the European leagues from 1977 – 2019. All the five big European leagues are included: the Bundesliga, the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A and Ligue 1.

Less likely than Donald Trump would win the Nobel Peace Prize

Winning the Premier League in 2015/16 was more than a surprise.
Winning the Premier League in 2015/16 was more than a surprise. Photo: Getty Images
The Bundesliga is represented 3 times. On two occasions there were coaches who had just been dismissed from FC Bayern and who wanted to show the Bavarians that this was not such a good idea.

We are chronologically organizing the post and start in 1977. Our absolute favorite is, of course, the “Nearly Man” club, which managed to beat all Fat Cats of the league in 2016.

And the likelihood of this happening at the start of the season was less than Donald Trump would win the Nobel Peace Prize, Bono the next Pope or Kim Kardashian the next US President.

If the Bookies had their way! 

A DIFFERENT LIGALIVE VIDEO STORY?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United reacts with an injury during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton FC at Old Trafford on March 02, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Nottingham Forrest (1977/78) - the perfect March-through

1991: Nayim of Tottenham Hotspur holds the trophy aloft during their homecoming after the FA Cup final against Nottingham Forest at Wembley Stadium in London. Tottenham Hotspur won the match 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport
1991: Nayim of Tottenham Hotspur holds the trophy aloft during their homecoming after the FA Cup final against Nottingham Forest at Wembley Stadium in London. Tottenham Hotspur won the match 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport

Nottingham Forest created a real sensation in England in the 1977/78 season.

This season, the team under coach Brian Clough celebrated the championship as a promoted player in the Premier League. That was the first title in the club’s history. What was particularly curious was that Nottingham had only 16 players in the season, the fewest in the league.

The Tricky Trees remained at the top of the league in the years that followed and even enjoyed great international success. In the two years that followed, they became European Cup winners and English Cup winners.

But Nottingham Forest never managed to win the English championship again. In 2001 the club even retired. Since then Nottingham celebrates only moderate places and successes. Record-breaking: From November 1977, the team remained unbeaten in 42 league games across the season. It was FC Arsenal who broke the record in 2004.

Hellas Verona (1984/85) - a German leads Verona to success

VERONA, ITALY - MAY 17: Eugenio Bagnoli head coach Verona 1984 / 1985 and players of Verona celebrates for thirty years of championship celebrations before the Serie A match between Hellas Verona FC and Empoli FC at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on May 17, 2015 in Verona, Italy. (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)
VERONA, ITALY - MAY 17: Eugenio Bagnoli head coach Verona 1984 / 1985 and players of Verona celebrates for thirty years of championship celebrations before the Serie A match between Hellas Verona FC and Empoli FC at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on May 17, 2015 in Verona, Italy. (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)

Hellas Verona provided the football miracle in Italy in 1985.

The team from the north became an Italian second division champion only three years earlier, then moved up to Serie A and promptly won the championship a short time later. The German player Hans-Peter Briegel was also part of the team. As a result, he was voted “Footballer of the Year” in Germany. This was the first time that a player outside the Bundesliga had received this honor.

To this day, the 1985 championship in Verona is still the only title. For the club, it has been constant ups and downs ever since. They played in the third league in 2010 and in the first league again in 2013.

In the 2015/16 season, the northern Italians only reached the last place in Serie A and played only second-place in the 2016/17 season. They finished second at this stage. So…

AE Larisa (1987/1988) - Championship victory... thanks to the Rule change.

AE Larisa (1987/1988) - Championship victory... thanks to the rule change. Photo: User: Slaytan (Wikipedia.de)
AE Larisa (1987/1988) - Championship victory... thanks to the rule change. Photo: User: Slaytan (Wikipedia.de)
From Italy, we now go on to Greece. AE Larisa was founded in 1964 as part of an association of four Greek football clubs based in Larisa.

The AE Larisa attracted a lot of attention and had a crazy story in 1988. The team played their way to the top of the table. Shortly before the end of the season, four points were deducted from the club in a promising position due to a suspicion of doping against several players. The club and its fans protested for days on end. For example, the motorway from Athens to Thessaloniki was blocked for five days. And indeed: the rules were changed.

Only the individual players were penalized instead of the deduction of points against the club. Thus the AE Larisa finally managed to become the Greek champion. Some of the successful players at that time were: Giannis Galitsios, Georgios Mitsimponas, Michalis Ziogas, Ioannis Alexoulis, and Vassilios Karapialis. The heraldic animal of the association is the horse, which in ancient times was the symbol of the city of Larissa because of the most important horse breeding in Greece.

The blackest chapter of the club’s history was written in the 2002-2003 season when the team was almost relegated to the 4th league. The team celebrated their last success in 2007 with their second win of the Greek Cup. However, AE never became champion again. By the way: Larisa is still the only club from a province to have won the title in Greece.

FC Aarau (1992/93) - first championship victory after 80 years

AARAU, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 10: Yuya Kubo (R) of BSC Young Boys vies with Sandro Burki (C) of FC Aarau during the Swiss Super League match between FC Aarau v BSC Young Boys at Brugglifeld on August 10, 2013 in Aarau, Switzerland. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
AARAU, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 10: Yuya Kubo (R) of BSC Young Boys vies with Sandro Burki (C) of FC Aarau during the Swiss Super League match between FC Aarau v BSC Young Boys at Brugglifeld on August 10, 2013 in Aarau, Switzerland. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

Switzerland also have a Sensation Champion. FC Aarau surprisingly celebrated its third championship victory in 1993 under Swiss coaching legend Rolf Fringer. The previous successes were a long time in the past.

The club last celebrated its national title in 1912 and 1914. The team even won the Swiss Cup in 1985. The 1993 title was so surprising because Aarau had almost relegated in the previous year and only miraculously kept their position.

The team was placed fifth after the qualifying round before winning nine matches and losing one in the final round. FC thus displaced the top teams Geneva and Young Boys Bern to the following places.

In recent years, the club has been playing back and forth between the 1st and 2nd leagues. In 2015 they relegated to second place again, where they placed 4th in the following season.

Blackburn Rovers (1994/95) - With a lot of money in first place

14 OCT 1995: ALAN SHEARER OF BLACKBURN IS CONGRATULATED BY HENNING BERG, AFTER SCORING THE SECOND GOAL DURING THE ROVERS GAMVE VERSUS SOUTHAMPTON IN BLACKBURN, ENGLAND. Mandatory Credit: Ross Kinnaird/ALLSPORT
14 OCT 1995: ALAN SHEARER OF BLACKBURN IS CONGRATULATED BY HENNING BERG, AFTER SCORING THE SECOND GOAL DURING THE ROVERS GAMVE VERSUS SOUTHAMPTON IN BLACKBURN, ENGLAND. Mandatory Credit: Ross Kinnaird/ALLSPORT
The Blackburn Rovers have not been playing Premier League for quite a while. But the club has also experienced much better times. Blackburn were promoted to the Premier League a year later under coach Kenny Dalglish when an entrepreneur acquired the club in 1991, and in the space of three years, with numerous million-dollar transfers, the club has progressed from a rising star to a top team.

The crowning glory was the surprising league championship in 1994/95 when the season began with many disappointments. The Rovers were eliminated early from all cup competitions. Blackburn concentrated all the more on the league and fought a duel with Manchester United as record champions. It went into the last matchday with two points advantage.

Surprisingly, the Rovers lost to Liverpool. But since Manchester only played a draw, the underdog secured the championship in England for the first time since 1914. Alan Shearer was the outstanding player at the time with a total of 34 goals. Blackburn then slipped back into the lower echelons.

And in the meantime, the club has crashed into third place as the first former Premier League champions. Despite a 3-1 (2-0) victory at FC Brentford on the 46th and last matchday of the championship, the Rovers remained third last in the standings with their rivals Nottingham Forest 3-0 (1-0) on points to Ipswich Town. No Premier League champions have yet relegated to the 2nd English League or lower except Blackburn Rovers.

RC Lens (1997/98) - a Year on a Wave

RC Lens 1998. (Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport)
RC Lens 1998. (Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport)
Even miracles happen in France or at least in football. RC Lens achieved such a feat with the 1998 championship.

Ten years earlier, the club had just been able to prevent relegation before they had to make their way to second place. After two seasons in France’s second league, Lens made it to the top and returned to Ligue 1. There, the RC established themselves at the top of the table and took part in the international competition twice in a row.

After a disappointing 13th place in 1997, Lens seemed to slide again. But on the contrary. The RC played the most successful season in the club’s history. The final was reached in the French Cup and the championship in the league was sensational.

However, this was extremely close. Thanks to the better goal ratio compared to FC Metz, Lens won the title in France for the first time since it was founded in 1906. Curiously, no player from the Lens team made it into the 1998 Tricolore World Cup squad.

1. FC Kaiserslautern (1997/98) - From the Rising Star to Sensation

HAMBURG, GERMANY - MAY 09: 1. BUNDESLIGA 97/98 HAMBURGER SV - 1. FC KAISERSLAUTERN; KAISERLAUTERN DEUTSCHER MEISTER 1998; OTTO REHHAGEL mit der MEISTERSCHALE (Photo by Bongarts/Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - MAY 09: 1. BUNDESLIGA 97/98 HAMBURGER SV - 1. FC KAISERSLAUTERN; KAISERLAUTERN DEUTSCHER MEISTER 1998; OTTO REHHAGEL mit der MEISTERSCHALE (Photo by Bongarts/Getty Images)
The football fairy tale of 1.FC Kaiserslautern is unforgotten in Germany. The Red Devils created a success that is still unique in Germany today. The club under coach Otto Rehhagel surprisingly became German champion in 1998.

Only two years earlier, the red devils had to bid farewell to second place on a dramatic last matchday. The pictures of Andi Brehme crying on Rudi Völler’s shoulder are legendary. In their first season in the 2nd Bundesliga, the team from Palatinate managed an immediate ascent again and then sensationally became champions.

The men from Betzenberg defeated Bayern Munich on the very first matchday and were at the top of the table from the 4th matchday without interruption.

It was the fourth and last championship of the club. Since 2012 the FC Kaiserslautern is continuously in the 2nd Bundesliga to be placed. This is now over. The 3rd league is the new playground of the “red devils”.

FK Obilic (1997/98) - the Success of the Serbian Underdog

MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 12: CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFIKATION 98/99, Muenchen; FC BAYERN MUENCHEN - OBILIC BELGRAD 4:0; Stefan EFFENBERG/BAYERN, Darko VARGEC, Dragan SARAC/BELGRAD (Photo by Gunnar Berning/Bongarts/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 12: CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFIKATION 98/99, Muenchen; FC BAYERN MUENCHEN - OBILIC BELGRAD 4:0; Stefan EFFENBERG/BAYERN, Darko VARGEC, Dragan SARAC/BELGRAD (Photo by Gunnar Berning/Bongarts/Getty Images)
What the 1.FC Kaiserslautern achieved in Germany, the FK Obilic also achieved in Serbian football. The curiosity: even in the same season. For many decades, the clubs of Partizan and Red Star Belgrade have dominated the league in Serbia. 

In 1998, however, Obilic surprisingly managed to win the league championship as a rising star. However, this feat was not without critical voices.

The advantage at that time was that the club, unlike the other clubs, had a lot of money, which probably came from spoils of war and blood money.

The FK even qualified for the Champions League by winning the championship. They clearly lost it against FC Bayern Munich. At home, however, the Serbs fought their way home 1:1. Today, the club has disappeared in the Serbian immersion.

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