All serious football fans remember the miracle of Leicester, but in some other leagues, you have to look back much further in time to find a “new” winner. Source: Official Facebook page of Leicester City | @lcfc
All serious football fans remember the miracle of Leicester, but in some other leagues, you have to look back much further in time to find a “new” winner. Source: Official Facebook page of Leicester City | @lcfc

In light of Leverkusen’s triumph: the last time a new champion was seen in Europe’s top leagues

Football OlyBet 01.05.2024

Bayer Leverkusen, who are (continuing to) have a wonderful season under the magical Xabi Alonso, became the 30th German football champion in a row by winning the Bundesliga this year. Their story was special due to the Neverkusen burden, but the fact that it was the first championship in the club’s history is also significant.

In light of this, decided to look at other top European leagues to see how many different clubs have won gold medals there, and more importantly, who was the last to join the list of champions.

English Premier League

Although the Premier League was founded only in 1992, sorting out the football champions goes back 145 years in England. During the years, 24 different clubs have experienced the joy of triumph: Manchester United has the most titles (20), followed by Liverpool (19), Arsenal (13), Everton and Manchester City (9 each) and Aston Villa (7).

Sunderland and Chelsea (both 6), Newcastle United and Sheffield Wednesday (both 4), Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United, Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers (all 3), Preston North End, Tottenham Hotspur, Derby County, Burnley and Portsmouth (all 2), Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion, Ipswich Town, Nottingham Forest and Leicester City (1 each) have also enjoyed victory.

Last on the list, Leicester City is of course the last to join the exclusive club of champions. The magical 2015/16 season of the Foxes – as the fans call the club – does not need to be recalled, as for most football fans it’s as if the Leicester miracle happened yesterday.

Kasper Schmeichel’s saves, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez’s goals, the self-sacrificing defensive efforts of Wes Morgan, Robert Huth and N’Golo Kante, and the tactically brilliant approach of Claudio Ranieri all played a role in the fact that they managed to put all the Premier League giants behind them in a season that spanned ten months and 38 rounds. And with a noticeable margin, because the second-placed Arsenal lost to them by as many as ten points!

French Premier League

In France, the best has been battled out since 1893, although it became what could be called “pro level” there only 40 seasons later. But be that as it may, 28 different clubs have been crowned champions in France. The current superpower Paris Saint-Germain has the most titles (11), but they are closely followed by Marseille and Saint-Etienne, who have 10 trophies.

In addition, Monaco and Nantes (both 8), Lyon (7), Bordeaux, Lille, Reims and Roubaix (all 6), Standard Athletic Club (5), Nice (4), Marseille’ Helvetique and Le Havre (both 3) have also been crowned champions in France., Paris RC, Sochaux and Sete (all 2), Lens, Club Francais, Paris CA, Tourcoing, Rouen, Strasbourg, Paris Gallia Club, Saint-Raphael, Stade Francais, Auxerre and Montpellier (all 1).

The latest addition to the list of champions is Montpellier, who joined the club in the 2011/12 season. At that time, their main locomotive was the Frenchman Oliver Giroud (21 goals and 9 assists), who was supported from the edge by the Moroccan Younes Belhanda (12 + 4) and the Senegalese Souleymane Camara (9 + 5).

82 points were collected during the season, and the closest rival – surprise, surprise – PSG was three points ahead. One of the main men behind the title was Rene Girard, for whom it has remained the only great triumph as a coach. As for today, thanks to that episode in North Africa, he is behind the helm of Paris FC in the Premier League.

Spanish Premier League

In Spain, only nine different clubs have been crowned football champions throughout history. Of course, Real Madrid has the most titles (35), followed by FC Barcelona (27) and city rival Atletico Madrid (11).

In addition, Bilbao Atheltic (8), Valencia (6), Real Sociedad (2), Sevilla (1), Real Betis (1) and Deportivo La Coruna (1) have also triumphed in La Liga. The latter is also the latest “new” champions, acquiring that honor in the 1999/00 season.

Currently playing in Spain’s third strongest (!) league, the football club had been close to reaching it before: they were second in 86/87, 90/91, 93/94 and 94/95, but at the turn of the century all the necessary pieces fell into place for them.

Under head coach Javier Irureta, they didn’t really show anything (super) magical: after nine rounds they had just four wins, three draws and two losses to show for it, but then they won seven games in a row and before the Christmas break they were leading.

In the second half of the season, they were also anything but stable – sometimes they went for four, sometimes three games without a win – but the failures of their competitors still allowed them to hold onto the first place. To put this into context: Deportivo’s 69 points is the lowest winning score in modern La Liga history (that is, when a win meant three points). But that season was enough!

The locomotives of the Coruna club were the Dutch goal machine Roy Makaay (22 goals), his replacement, Pauleta, the long-time striker of the Portuguese national team (9 goals) and the Brazilian midfielders Djalminha (10 goals) and Flavio Conceicao (4 goals), the latter of whom was sold to Real Madrid in the summer for 26 million euros.

However, if you ask who made up Deportivo’s back’s then, Cameroon’s Jacques Songo’ was the goalkeeper, with the quartet of Manuel Pablo (Spain), Naybet (Morocco), Donato (Spain) and Romero (Spain) in front of him. Sounds cool? Yeah, it definitely was.

Italian Premier League

Organised football was founded in Italy in 1898, and since then 16 different clubs have been crowned champions. Turin’s Juventus have the most titles (36), followed by Milan’s Inter and AC Milan, with 19 each.

Genoa (9), Turin, Bologna and Pro Vercelli (all 7), AS Roma and Napoli (both 3), Lazio and Fiorentin (both 2), Casale, Novese, Cagliari, Verona Hellas and Sampodoria ( 1). The most recent addition to the list of champions is Sampodoria, who joined already in 1990/91.

If the younger generation of football fans might ask if they should know anyone from that time at all, the answer is a certain yes. Names like Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Manchini should not be unfamiliar to anyone.

The first of them, Vialli, who unfortunately passed away prematurely last year due to cancer, scored 19 goals for Sampdoria in the 90/91 league season and later played for Juventus and Chelsea.

Manchini’s name is known above all for his later coaching achievements – after all, he steered Italy to become the European Champions in 2020 and Manchester City to their first Premier League title in the 2011/12 season, not to mention countless other trophies – but in the 90/91 season he scored 12 goals for Sampdoria.

In addition to Vialli and Manchini, goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca, who played more than 38 games in the Italian national team, central defender Pietro Vierchowod and midfielder Giuseppe Dossena, as well as Srecko Katanec, a member of the Yugoslavia/Slovenia national team, also wore the Sampdoria shirt at the time. However, this whole mess was managed by Vujadin Boškov, who previously led Real Madrid to become the Spanish champion.

German Premier League

Although, as we already mentioned in the opening paragraph – Bayer Leverkusen became the newest addition to the list of German champions this year, it would be appropriate to list all the other champions as well. The corresponding list does not start with Bundesliga’s birth in 1963, but from the very beginning, i.e. 1903.

German champions (30 different): Bayern Munich (33 titles), Nürnberg (9), Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 (both 8), Hamburg (6), Stuttgart and Borussia Mönchengladbach (both 5), Werder Bremen, Kaiserslautern and Köln (all 4), Leipzig Lokomotive and Fürth Greuther (both 3), Berlin Hertha, Berlin Viktoria, Dresdner and Hannover (all 2), Karlsruher FV, Kiel Holstein, Munich 1860, Berlin Blau-Weiss 90, Karlsruher SC, Düsseldorf Fortuna, Eintracht Frankfurt, Wolfsburg, Freiberger, Rapid Vienna, Mannheim, Rot-Weiss Essen, Eintracht Braunschweig and Bayer Leverkusen (all 1).

The question of why Rapid Wien figures in the list of German football champions, we shall answer in one of our future articles…


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