Small champions in big competitions: these teams set the example for Leicester City

Leicester City were crowned the most surprising Premier League champions ever as Tottenham drew 2-2 at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea on Monday.

However, despite the Foxes’ amazing accomplishments, they are not unique in football history, as there have been more “small” champions in Europe’s five biggest competitions – England, Italy, Germany, France, and Spain.

Premier League: Blackburn Rovers (1995)

Before Leicester won it this season, there were only five teams who had won the Premier League since 1992: Manchester United (13), Chelsea (4), Arsenal (3), Manchester City (2) and… Blackburn Rovers (1). Alan Shearer hit the net 34 times during the 1994/1995 season, as Blackburn were able to win 89 points and stay just in front of United (88) and newly promoted Nottingham Forrest (77). This season, Leicester relegated to The Championship.

Serie A: Cagliari (1970)

Juventus recently won their 32nd Scudetto, with Milan and Inter trailing the Old Lady with 18 and 17 Serie A titles respectively. However, during the 1969/1970 season all Italian top clubs were beaten by Cagliari, who are currently playing in Serie B. Winger Angelo Domenghini and striker Luigi Riva handed Cagliari the title, just five seasons after their debut in Italy’s top flight. Hellas Verona’s 1985 triumph gets an honorable mention.

Bundesliga: Kaiserslautern (1998)

This might be football’s best story until the Foxes came around. Kaiserslautern promoted to the Bundesliga and won the German title the next season. The Red Devils won 68 points and finished in front of Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Stuttgart, and Schalke 04. Olaf Marshall scored 21 goals for Otto Rehhagel’s historic squad.

Ligue 1: Montpellier (2012)

Olivier Giroud is currently primed to leave Arsenal, but the French striker was on fire for Montpellier during the 2011/2012 season, the last time another club but Paris Saint-Germain won the Ligue 1 title. Giroud hit the net 21 times and Montpellier beat PSG by three points to improbably win the league crown, one year after Eden Hazard’s Lille had surprisingly won the French title.

La Liga: Deportivo La Coruna (2000)

Barcelona and Real Madrid have dominated Spanish football, with 32 La Liga titles for Los Blancos and 23 for the Blaugrana. However, during the 1999/2000 season no one could stop Deportivo La Coruna. Barcelona and Valencia came five points short, while Real finished fifth and Atletico Madrid relegated. Depor’s Dutch striker Roy Makaay was one of the league’s best strikers with 22 goals.

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