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How Far Will Leicester Go? How 7 Other European Fairytales Ended

Againt all expectations, Leicester City are still top of the English Premier League table with 13 games left in the 2015/2-16 season.
Barely escaping relegation just last season, the Foxes are on the verge of creating one of the greatest shocks in the history of football as they seek their first ever EPL title with 13 games left.
Ahead of their top-of-the-table clash against Arsenal on Sunday, Completesportsnigeria.com’s JAMES AGBEREBI takes a look at other less fancied teams who had a similar run and how they finished…

ASTON VILLA: 1992/1993 SEASON
The first Premier League title went to Manchester United in the 1992/1993 season, the club’s first title for 26 years. Manchester United’s Premier League title success was achieved with a 10-point lead over runners-up Aston Villa. Villa led the table for much of the season, but their challenge faded in the final weeks of the campaign and were out of contention three games before the season was over after they lost 1-0 at home to Oldham Athletic.

Final position: Runners-up

NEWCASTLE: 1996/1997 SEASON
A 5-0 win over Manchester United brought renewed hope that Newcastle could end their 70-year wait for the title by lifting the Premier League crown.
Things turned sour when Alan Shearer, the club’s £15 million world record signing, missed seven games due to a hernia operation, and Newcastle’s title bid was threatened by Manchester United’s recovery from a bad spell. Arsenal and Liverpool, meanwhile, were also mounting a serious push for the title.
On 7 January, Kevin Keegan dropped a bombshell on Newcastle by announcing his resignation as manager, stating that he felt he had taken the club as far as he could. Kenny Dalglish, the man who had replaced Keegan as Liverpool striker 20 years earlier, now replaced him as manager, but the best he could manage was a runners-up finish in the final table as hopes of a shock title win faded.

Final position: Runners-up

BAYER LEVERKUSEN: 2001/2002 SEASON
The team earned a series of four second-place finishes from 1997 to 2002. The finishes of 2000 and 2002 were heart-breaking for supporters as on both occasions the team had the Bundesliga title within their grasp.
In 2000, Bayer Leverkusen needed only a draw against Unterhaching to win the title, but an own goal by Michael Ballack helped send the team to a crushing 2-0 defeat, while Bayern Munich clinched the title with a 3-1 victory over Werder Bremen.
Two years later, the club surrendered a five-point lead atop the league table by losing two of their last three matches while Borussia Dortmund swept ahead with three consecutive victories in their final matches.
The 2002 season has been dubbed the “Treble Horror”, as Bayer Leverkusen were also beaten 4-2 in the German Cup final by Schalke 04, and lost the UEFA Champions League final 2-1 to Real Madrid, which also led to some of the English-language media dubbing them “Neverkusen”.
Leverkusen were the first team to reach the final of the UEFA Champions League without ever winning a national championship.

Final position: Runners-up

MONTPELLIER: 2011/2012 SEASON
After a short return to Division 3, now called Ligue 3, from 2001 to 2004, Montpellier were back playing in Ligue 2. The club spent one season under Nouzaret and two seasons under Jean-François Domergue before finding stability with Rolland Courbis in 2007.
In Courbis’ second season in charge, he led the club back to Ligue 1 after finishing second. After the season, Courbis left the club to begin his prison sentence due to his involvement in the Olympique de Marseille corruption case and he was replaced by René Girard, With an abundance of young talent, Girard sought to bring in veterans to the club ahead of their return to Ligue 1.
In Montpellier’s return, they surprised many by finishing in fifth place and qualifying for the UEFA Europa League. Montpellier even topped the table at one point during the season.
And in 2011-2012, against all the odds, Montpellier won their first Ligue 1 title, finishing the season with 82 points, three points ahead of moneybags and huge favourites Paris Saint-Germain.
Olivier Giroud, who finished the season with 21 goals and 9 assists, was the league’s top goal scorer. Despite being tied on goals with Paris Saint-Germain attacker Nenê, he was named the league’s top scorer by the Ligue de Football Professionnel due to finishing with more goals in open play.

Final position: Champions

ATLETICO MADRID: 2013/2014 SEASON
Atlético Madrid took their fairytale all the way in 2014, breaking up the Real Madrid and Barcelona stranglehold on the La Liga title.
Real Madrid, Atletico and Barcelona traded the lead several times through the season. Entering the final weekend of play Atlético were three points ahead of 2013 champions Barcelona. However, with the two teams facing off, Barcelona could claim the title with a win. The game ended in a draw, giving Atletico their first league title in 18 years, and their 10th overall. It was the first time since the 2003-04 La Liga season that a club other than Barcelona or Real Madrid, who finished tied for second, have won the title.

Final position: Champions

BLACKBURN ROVERS: 1994/1995 SEASON

The title race was won by Blackburn Rovers, whose last title success had been in 1914, and also was Blackburn’s first major trophy in 67 years (last 1927-28 FA Cup).
Kenny Dalglish’s side, not given any chance at the beginning of the campaign, secured the championship on the last day of the season despite losing 2-1 at his former club Liverpool, as Manchester United could only manage a 1-1 draw at West Ham. This meant that Blackburn Rovers qualified for the European Cup for the first time in their history, while Manchester United finished second, earning a UEFA Cup place.
A single point separated the two sides, who for more than half of the season enjoyed a wide gap in terms of points between themselves and the rest of the league, despite the likes of Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and Newcastle United briefly topping the league during the first three months of the season.

Final position: Champions

DEPORTIVO LA CORUNA: 1999/2000 SEASON
Managed by Javier Irureta, and with players like Noureddine Naybet, Diego Tristán, Djalminha, Fran, Roy Makaay and Mauro Silva, the team finally earned their first La Liga title, five points ahead of Barcelona and Valencia.
With this title, Deportivo La Coruña became the second-smallest Spanish city (with a population of roughly 250,000, behind San Sebastián home of Real Sociedad, which has a population of roughly 180,000), to have ever won La Liga.

Final position: Champions

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One Comments

  1. This season is going to be a good one for small teams all over the world with Leicester fc representing them. It is business as usual in Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Russia, Holland, but the most popular league in the world, EPL, something is going on there. Leicester from my calculation will take the league. Go anywhere, in Spain, Italy, France, viewing centers, bars, workplace, anywhere where football is being discused or debated, the prayer and topic is for Leicester to pick the EPL trophy. They have the squad to do it. 12 matches remaining abi. Looking at the fixtures, they have a more favourable fixture. Chelsea is the only team that can probably draw or win them but it is a 70% chance Leicester win. Watford may try but it is 30% try to get a draw but 88% Leicester win. Tottenham and Arsenal need to cancel themself out. Someone will drop some points there. Everything favours "our" team, we the NEUTRALS. They have an extremely experienced coach who is fatherly and motivating. He has been in this kind of situation severally before and so knows how to navigate the pressure tide. From the goalie to the defence to the midfield to the attack to the bench are all spot-on. The best so far. This team will go through the gamut. No injury problem with plenty of rest for the players. The owner is also very supportive and the town of Leicester are grateful to him. The Leicester arena is the loudest crown in the EPL and this is encouraging and morale boosting to the home team but depressing and intimidating to the away team. The 12th player people say are the home fans. You see!!! Everything points to the fact that Leicester will hold on to the end. At worse(30%) they will be Champion league direct entry. How about that.

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