In sport, it’s usually the case that huge upsets are few and far between. That’s why we still talk about Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson, or why for generations to come we’ll talk about Leicester, the team that defied the mega rich Premier League giants of Chelsea and Man City. More often than not the favourites triumph, however today we’re looking back on those footballing champions who upset the apple cart and pulled off the unexpected victory.
Let’s start with England again, where Leicester weren’t the first team to upset the odds. In the 1977-78 campaign, Nottingham Forest won the league, but didn’t settle. In the 78-79 and 79-80 campaigns they won the European Cup, a quite unbelievable feat.
In England once again, this time 1995 and Blackburn Rovers did the unexpected and finished ahead of the great Alex Ferguson’s Man United. Lead by King Kenny in the dugout and Sutton and Shearer on the pitch, they won the title on the last day. After losing to Liverpool they needed Man United to drop points, which they did in a draw with West Ham.
They started the campaign with a win over the omnipotent Bayern Munich and never looked back. Otto Renhagel coached Kaiserslautern to a surprising 97-98 Bundesliga victory.
Staying in Germany, this time for the 2007 season where Stuttgart were crowned champions. With future stars such as Mario Gomez and Sami Khedira, they won their first league title for 15 years, and haven’t won it since.
Deportivo La Coruña
Despite ever-powerful presence of Real Madrid and Barcelona, there have even been upsets in Spain. In the 1999-2000 campaign, Deportivo La Coruña shocked the world by winning La Liga with three games to spare, with stars such as Roy Makaay and Mauro Silva leading them to glory.
It might not be a shock that a team with Diego Maradona won a title, but Napoli had never won the Scudetto until the Argentine arrived. In the 86-87 season, not only did he win the league with Napoli but the Copa Italia as well.
In terms of international tournaments, this may be the biggest. Their players were already on holiday, but with Yugoslavia excluded due to the Balkans War, Denmark was brought in as a replacement. Their victory at Euro 92 is even more incredible considering their best player, Michael Laudrup, refused to go.