Europes Most Competitive League?

We are always hearing people claiming the league they follow is “the best” or “the most Competitive”. Well I’m sick of this argument and I am finally going to settle it once and for all.

I’ve took what I consider to be the top leagues in Europe and have looked at all the league champions since the year I was born (1986). I have included Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Serbia and Croatia although these leagues didn’t start until the early nineties.

There is some fascinating stats and facts to be found. I have deliberately not included this seasons champions as many leagues are still to be played for.

FC Porto are the most successful club in this period with a staggering 18 league titles, closely followed by Rangers FC and Rosenborg of Norway both with 17 league championships, but its the league’s I am interested in here.

In the 27 seasons I have looked at France and Switzerland have both produced a fantastic 11 national champions and considering the undeniable edge the French league has over the Swiss league in terms of quality, I am awarding the title of Europe’s most competitive league to the French.

France have had 11 winners in 27 seasons, Lyons 7 titles in a row In this period makes them the most successful French side in this era with Marseille next on 5 (not including the 1993 league title)

Switzerlands 11 different champions are jointly led by Basel and Grasshopper Zurich.

Scandanavia is next with Denmark and Sweden joint second with 9 league champions in this time frame, FC Copenhagen and Brondby are Denmark’s 9 a piece champions while IFK Goteburg from Sweden have 8 and Malmo are on 4.

Norway provides another example of Scandanavian competition with 8 different champions unsurprisingly led by the once relentless Rosenborg.

England joins Norway with 8 clubs, proving the English top flight is not as predictable as some claim, despite Manchester United’s continued success, they lead the way with 12 league titles way ahead of Arsenal (5) and Chelsea (3).

Italy and Germany have both produced 7 champions in our time frame although its a different story when you look closer….the Italian top teams AC Milan (8), Juventus (7)and Inter (6) are all very close in terms of leagues won in this period, Bayern Munich (14) are miles ahead of the next best performing German club which is Borussia Dortmund with 5.

Further down the list The Netherlands and Spain have both had 5 league champions in 27 seasons, no prizes for guessing the Spanish top two Madrid just edging Barcelona 12-11. In Holland I personally was somewhat surprised that the best performing club the last 27 seasons was PSV Eindhoven with an impressive 14 league titles compared to Ajaxs 9, Feyenoord lag way behind on only 2.

The biggest duopoly is unsurprisingly Scotland where only Rangers and Celtic have won the league title since 1986. Rangers are well out in front with 17 compared with Celtics 10.

So here is the top leagues in europe by number of national champions since 1986.

1. France/Switzerland 11
2. Sweden/Denmark 9
3. England/Norway 8
4. Italy/Germany/Romania 7
5. Austria/Belgium/Russia 6
6. The Netherlands/Spain/Czech 5
7. Greece/Portugal/Turkey 4
8. Serbia/Croatia/Ukraine 3
9. Scotland 2

Although to be fair to Ukraine, Serbia, Russia, Czech and Croatia these leagues have been measured on fewer years and so where always going to produce lower figures. In fact Russias 6 different champions since only 1992 is impressive, Spartak Moscow lead the way in Russia with 9 followed by CSKA Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg who have 3 each.

So that’s the top leagues in europe in terms of competition. Clearly France is a stand out among the so called big five.

The most successful clubs domestically in this time are as follows,

FC Porto 18
Rangers, Rosenborg 17
Olympiacos 15
PSV, Dinamo Zagreb, Bayern Munich 14
Anderlecht, Partizan Belgrade, Steaua Bucharest, Dynamo Kiev 13.

Here is a full list of league champions from our time frame, please note number in brackets is all time league wins.

France

2012 Montpellier (1)

2011 Lille (3)

2010 Marseille (10)

2009 Bordeaux (6)

2008 Lyon (7)

2007 Lyon (6)

2006 Lyon (5)

2005 Lyon (4)

2004 Lyon (3)

2003 Lyon (2)

2002 Lyon (1)

2001 Nantes (8)

2000 AS Monaco (7)

1999 Bordeaux (5)

1998 Lens (1) 

1997 AS Monaco (6)

1996 Auxerre (1) 

1995 Nantes (7)

1994 Paris St Germain (2)

1993 Marseille (Stripped of title) 

1992 Marseille (9)

1991 Marseille (8)

1990 Marseille (7)

1989 Marseille (6) 

1988 AS Monaco (5)

1987 Bordeaux (4)

1986 Paris St Germain (1) 

Switzerland

2012 Basel (15)

2011 Basel (14)

2010 Basel (13)

2009 FC Zurich (12)

2008 Basel (12) 

2007 FC Zurich (11)

2006 FC Zurich (10)

2005 Basel (11)

2004 Basel (10) 

2003 Grasshopper Zurich (27)

2002 Basel (9)

2001 Grasshopper Zurich (26) 

2000 St Gallen (2)

1999 Servette (17) 

1998 Grasshopper Zurich (25)

1997 FC Sion (2)

1996 Grasshopper Zurich (24)

1995 Grasshopper Zurich (23)

1994 Servette (16)

1993 Aarau (3)

1992 FC Sion (1) 

1991 Grasshopper Zurich (22)

1990 Grasshopper Zurich (21)

1989 Luzern (1)

1988 Neuchatal Xamax (2)

1987 Neuchatal Xamax (1)

1986 BSC Young Boys (11)

Sweden

2012 Elfsborg (6)

2011 Helsingborgs (5)

2010 Malmo (16)

2009 AIK Stockholm (11)

2008 Kalmar (1) 

2007 IFK Goteborg (18) 

2006 Elfsborg (5)

2005 Djurgardens (11)

2004 Malmo (15)

2003 Djurgardens (10)

2002 Djurgardens (9) 

2001 Hammarby (1)

2000 Halmstads (4)

1999 Helsingborgs (4)

1998 AIK Stockholm (10)

1997 Halmstads (3)

1996 IFK Goteborg (17) 

1995 IFK Goteborg (16) 

1994 IFK Goteborg (15)

1993 IFK Goteborg (14)

1992 AIK Stockholm (9)

1991 IFK Goteborg (13) 

1990 IFK Goteborg (12)

1989 Norrokoping (12) 

1988 Malmo (14)

1987 IFK Goteborg (11)

1986 Malmo (13)

Denmark

2012 FC Nordsjaelland (1)

2011 FC Copenhagen (9)

2010 FC Copenhagen (8)

2009 FC Copenhagen (7)

2008 Aalborg (3)

2007 FC Copenhagen (6)

2006 FC Copenhagen (5)

2005 Brondby (10)

2004 FC Copenhagen (4)

2003 FC Copenhagen (3)

2002 Brondby (9)

2001 FC Copenhagen (2)

2000 Herfolge (1)

1999 Aalborg (2)        

1998 Brondby (8)

1997 Brondby (7)

1996 Brondby (6) 

1995 Aalborg (1) 

1994 Silkeborg (1)

1993 FC Copenhagen (1) 

1992 Lyngby (2)

1991 Brondby (5) 

1990 Brondby (4)

1989 Odense (3)

1988 Brondby (3)

1987 Brondby (2)

1986 AGF Aarhus (5)

Norway

2012 Molde (2)

2011 Molde (1)

2010 Rosenborg (22)

2009 Rosenborg (21)

2008 Stabaek (1)

2007 Brann Bergen (3)

2006 Rosenborg (20)

2005 Valerenga (5)

2004 Rosenborg (19)

2003 Rosenborg (18) 

2002 Rosenborg (17) 

2001 Rosenborg (16)

2000 Rosenborg (15)

1999 Rosenborg (14) 

1998 Rosenborg (13)

1997 Rosenborg (12)

1996 Rosenborg (11) 

1995 Rosenborg (10)

1994 Rosenborg (9) 

1993 Rosenborg (8)

1992 Rosenborg (7)

1991 Viking (8)

1990 Rosenborg (6)

1989 Lillestrom (5) 

1988 Rosenborg (5)

1987 Moss (1)

1986 Lillestrom (4)

England

2012 Manchester City (3)

2011 Manchester United (19)

2010 Chelsea (4)

2009 Manchester United (18)

2008 Manchester United (17) 

2007 Manchester United (16)

2006 Chelsea (3)

2005 Chelsea (2) 

2004 Arsenal (13) 

2003 Manchester United (15)

2002 Arsenal (12)

2001 Manchester United (14) 

2000 Manchester United (13)

1999 Manchester United (12)

1998 Arsenal (11) 

1997 Manchester United (11)

1996 Manchester United (10)

1995 Blackburn Rovers (3)

1994 Manchester United (9)

1993 Manchester United (8)

1992 Leeds United (3)

1991 Arsenal (10)

1990 Liverpool (18)

1989 Arsenal (9)

1988 Liverpool (17)

1987 Everton (9) 

1986 Liverpool (16)

Germany

2012 Borussia Dortmund (8)

2011 Borussia Dortmund (7)

2010 Bayern Munich (22)

2009 Wolfsburg (1)

2008 Bayern Munich (21)

2007 Stuttgart (5)

2006 Bayern Munich (20)

2005 Bayern Munich (19)

2004 Werder Bremen (4)

2003 Bayern Munich (18)

2002 Borussia Dortmund (6) 

2001 Bayern Munich (17)

2000 Bayern Munich (16)

1999 Bayern Munich (15)

1998 Kaiserslautern (4)

1997 Bayern Munich (14)

1996 Borussia Dortmund (5) 

1995 Borussia Dortmund (4) 

1994 Bayern Munich (13) 

1993 Werder Bremen (3)

1992 Stuttgart (4)

1991 Kaiserslautern (3)

1990 Bayern Munich (12)

1989 Bayern Munich (11)

1988 Werder Bremen (2)

1987 Bayern Munich (10)

1986 Bayern Munich (9)

Italy

2012 Juventus (28)

2011 AC Milan (18)

2010 Inter Milan (18)

2009 Inter Milan (17)

2008 Inter Milan (16)

2007 Inter Milan (15)

2006 Inter Milan (14)

2005 Juventus (Stripped of Title)

2004 AC Milan (17)

2003 Juventus (27)

2002 Juventus (26) 

2001 AS Roma (3)

2000 Lazio (2)

1999 AC Milan (16) 

1998 Juventus (25)

1997 Juventus (24)

1996 AC Milan (15)

1995 Juventus (23)

1994 AC Milan (14)

1993 AC Milan (13)

1992 AC Milan (12)

1991 Sampdoria (1) 

1990 Napoli (2)

1989 Inter Milan (13)

1988 AC Milan (11)

1987 Napoli (1)

1986 Juventus (22)

The Netherlands

2012 Ajax (31)

2011 Ajax (30)

2010 Twente (1)

2009 AZ (2)

2008 PSV Eindhoven (21)

2007 PSV Eindhoven (20)

2006 PSV Eindhoven (19) 

2005 PSV Eindhoven (18)

2004 Ajax (29)

2003 PSV Eindhoven (17)

2002 Ajax (28) 

2001 PSV Eindhoven (16) 

2000 PSV Eindhoven (15)

1999 Feyenoord (14)

1998 Ajax (27)

1997 PSV Eindhoven (14)

1996 Ajax (26)

1995 Ajax (25)

1994 Ajax (24)

1993 Feyenoord (13)

1992 PSV Eindhoven (13)

1991 PSV Eindhoven (12)

1990 Ajax (23)

1989 PSV Eindhoven (11)

1988 PSV Eindhoven (10)

1987 PSV Eindhoven (9)

1986 PSV Eindhoven (8)

Romania

2012 CFR Cluj (3)

2011 Otelul Galati (1)        

2010 CFR Cluj (2)

2009 Unirea Urziceni (1)

2008 CFR Cluj (1)

2007 Dinamo Bucharest (18)

2006 Steaua Bucharest (23)

2005 Steaua Bucharest (22)

2004 Dinamo Bucharest (17)

2003 Rapid Bucharest (3) 

2002 Dinamo Bucharest (16) 

2001 Steaua Bucharest (21)

2000 Dinamo Bucharest (15)

1999 Rapid Bucharest (2)

1998 Steaua Bucharest (20)

1997 Steaua Bucharest (19) 

1996 Steaua Bucharest (18)

1995 Steaua Bucharest (17)

1994 Steaua Bucharest (16)

1993 Steaua Bucharest (15)

1992 Dinamo Bucharest (14)

1991 Universitatea Craiova (4)

1990 Dinamo Bucharest (13)

1989 Steaua Bucharest (14)

1988 Steaua Bucharest (13)

1987 Steaua Bucharest (12) 

1986 Steaua Bucharest (11)

Turkey

2012 Galatasaray (18)

2011 Fenerbahce (18)

2010 Bursaspor (1)

2009 Besiktas (13)

2008 Galatasaray (17)

2007 Fenerbahce (17)

2006 Galatasaray (16)

2005 Fenerbahce (16) 

2004 Fenerbahce (15)

2003 Besiktas (12)

2002 Galatasaray (15)

2001 Fenerbahce (14)

2000 Galatasaray (14)

1999 Galatasaray (13)

1998 Galatasaray (12)

1997 Galatasaray (11)

1996 Fenerbahce (13) 

1995 Besiktas (11)

1994 Galatasaray (10)

1993 Galatasaray (9)

1992 Besiktas (10)

1991 Besiktas (9)

1990 Besiktas (8)

1989 Fenerbahce (12)

1988 Galatasaray (8)

1987 Galatasaray (7)

1986 Besiktas (7)

Belgium

2012 Anderlecht (31)

2011 Genk (3)

2010 Anderlecht (30) 

2009 Standard Liege (10)

2008 Standard Liege (9)

2007 Anderlecht (29)

2006 Anderlecht (28)

2005 Club Brugge (13)

2004 Anderlecht (27) 

2003 Club Brugge (12)

2002 Genk (2)

2001 Anderlecht (26)

2000 Anderlecht (25) 

1999 Genk (1) 

1998 Club Brugge (11)

1997 Lierse SK (4) 

1996 Club Brugge (10) 

1995 Anderlecht (24)

1994 Anderlecht (23)

1993 Anderlecht (22)

1992 Club Brugge (9)

1991 Anderlecht (21)

1990 Club Brugge (8)

1989 KV Mechelen (4)

1988 Club Brugge (7)

1987 Anderlecht (20)

1986 Anderlecht (19)

Austria

2012 Red Bull Salzburg (7)

2011 Sturm Graz (3)

2010 Red Bull Salzburg (6)

2009 Red Bull Salzburg (5)

2008 Rapid Vienna (32)

2007 Red Bull Salzburg (4)

2006 Austria Vienna (23)

2005 Rapid Vienna (31)

2004 Grazer AK (1)

2003 Austria Vienna (22)

2002 Tirol Innsbruck (10)

2001 Tirol Innsbruck (9)

2000 Tirol Innsbruck (8)

1999 Sturm Graz (2)

1998 Sturm Graz (1)

1997 Red Bull Salzburg (3) 

1996 Rapid Vienna (30)

1995 Red Bull Salzburg (2)

1994 Red Bull Salzburg (1) 

1993 Austria Vienna (21) 

1992 Austria Vienna (20)

1991 Austria Vienna (19)

1990 Swarovski Tirol (7)

1989 Swarovski Tirol (6) 

1988 Rapid Vienna (29)

1987 Rapid Vienna (28)

1986 Austria Vienna (18)

Note: Tirol Innsbruck (3), Swarovski Tirol (2) and Wacker Innsbruck (5) are the same club and combine for the ten league titles. 

Also Red Bull Salzburg were previously known as Austria Salzburg. 

Czech

2012 Slovan Liberec (3)

2011 Viktoria Plzen (1)

2010 Sparta Prague (11)

2009 Slavia Prague (3) 

2008 Slavia Prague (2)

2007 Sparta Prague (10) 

2006 Slovan Liberec (2)

2005 Sparta Prague (9)

2004 Banik Ostrava (1)

2003 Sparta Prague (8)

2002 Slovan Liberec (1) 

2001 Sparta Prague (7)

2000 Sparta Prague (6)

1999 Sparta Prague (5)

1998 Sparta Prague (4)

1997 Sparta Prague (3)

1996 Slavia Prague (1) 

1995 Sparta Prague (2)

1994 Sparta Prague (1)

Ukraine

2012 Shakhtar Donetsk (7)

2011 Shakhtar Donetsk (6)

2010 Shakhtar Donetsk (5)

2009 Dynamo Kiev (13)

2008 Shakhtar Donetsk (4) 

2007 Dynamo Kiev (12)

2006 Shakhtar Donetsk (3) 

2005 Shakhtar Donetsk (2)

2004 Dynamo Kiev (11)

2003 Dynamo Kiev (10)

2002 Shakhtar Donetsk (1) 

2001 Dynamo Kiev (9)

2000 Dynamo Kiev (8)

1999 Dynamo Kiev (7)

1998 Dynamo Kiev (6)

1997 Dynamo Kiev (5)

1996 Dynamo Kiev (4)

1995 Dynamo Kiev (3)

1994 Dynamo Kiev (2)

1993 Dynamo Kiev (1) 

1992 Tavriya Simferopol (1)

Greece

2012 Olympiacos (39)

2011 Olympiacos (38)

2010 Panathinaikos (20)

2009 Olympiacos (37)

2008 Olympaicos (36) 

2007 Olympiacos (35)

2006 Olympiacos (34)

2005 Olympiacos (33)

2004 Panathinaikos (19) 

2003 Olympiacos (32)

2002 Olympiacos (31)

2001 Olympiacos (30)

2000 Olympiacos (29) 

1999 Olympiacos (28)

1998 Olympiacos (27)

1997 Olympiacos (26)

1996 Panathinaikos (18)

1995 Panathinaikos (17) 

1994 AEK Athens (11) 

1993 AEK Athens (10)

1992 AEK Athens (9)

1991 Panathinaikos (16)

1990 Panathinaikos (15)

1989 AEK Athens (8)

1988 Larissa (1)

1987 Olympiacos (25)

1986 Panathinaikos (14)

Serbia

2012 Partizan Belgrade (24)

2011 Partizan Belgrade (23)

2010 Partizan Belgrade (22)

2009 Partizan Belgrade (21)

2008 Partizan Belgrade (20)

2007 Red Star Belgrade (25)

2006 Red Star Belgrade (24)

2005 Partizan Belgrade (19) 

2004 Red Star Belgrade (23) 

2003 Partizan Belgrade (18)

2002 Partizan Belgrade (17)

2001 Red Star Belgrade (22) 

2000 Red Star Belgrade (21)

1999 Partizan Belgrade (16)

1998 FK Obilic (1) 

1997 Partizan Belgrade (15) 

1996 Partizan Belgrade (14)

1995 Red Star Belgrade (20)

1994 Partizan Belgrade (13)

1993 Partizan Belgrade (12)

Note: Totals include Yugoslavian league title wins. 

Croatia

2012 Dinamo Zagreb (14)

2011 Dinamo Zagreb (13)

2010 Dinamo Zagreb (12)

2009 Dinamo Zagreb (11)

2008 Dinamo Zagreb (10) 

2007 Dinamo Zagreb (9)

2006 Dinamo Zagreb (8) 

2005 Hajduk Split (6) 

2004 Hajduk Split (5)

2003 Dinamo Zagreb (7)

2002 NK Zagreb (1)

2001 Hajduk Split (4) 

2000 Dinamo Zagreb (6) 

1999 Dinamo Zagreb (5)

1998 Dinamo Zagreb (4) 

1997 Dinamo Zagreb (3)

1996 Dinamo Zagreb (2)

1995 Hajduk Split (3)

1994 Hajduk Split (2)

1993 Dinamo Zagreb (1)

1992 Hajduk Split (1)

Russia

2011/2012 Zenit St Petersburg (3)

2010 Zenit St Petersburg (2)

2009 Rubin Kazan (2)

2008 Rubin Kazan (1)

2007 Zenit St Petersburg (1)

2006 CSKA Moscow (3) 

2005 CSKA Moscow (2)

2004 Lokomotiv Moscow (2)

2003 CSKA Moscow (1)

2002 Lokomotiv Moscow (1)

2001 Spartak Moscow (9)

2000 Spartak Moscow (8) 

1999 Spartak Moscow (7) 

1998 Spartak Moscow (6) 

1997 Spartak Moscow (5)

1996 Spartak Moscow (4)

1995 Alania Vladikavkaz (1)

1994 Spartak Moscow (3)

1993 Spartak Moscow (2)

1992 Spartak Moscow (1)

Portugal

2012 FC Porto (26)

2011 FC Porto (25)

2010 Benfica (32)

2009 FC Porto (24)

2008 FC Porto (23)

2007 FC Porto (22)

2006 FC Porto (21)

2005 Benfica (31) 

2004 FC Porto (20)

2003 FC Porto (19)       

2002 Sporting Lisbon (18)

2001 Boavista (1)

2000 Sporting Lisbon (17)

1999 FC Porto (18)

1998 FC Porto (17)

1997 FC Porto (16)

1996 FC Porto (15)

1995 FC Porto (14)

1994 Benfica (30)

1993 FC Porto (13)

1992 FC Porto (12) 

1991 Benfica (29)

1990 FC Porto (11)

1989 Benfica (28)

1988 FC Porto (10)

1987 Benfica (27)

1986 FC Porto (9)

Spain

2012 Real Madrid (32)

2011 Barcelona (21)

2010 Barcelona (20)

2009 Barcelona (19)

2008 Real Madrid (31)

2007 Real Madrid (30)

2006 Barcelona (18)

2005 Barcelona (17)

2004 Valencia (6)

2003 Real Madrid (29)

2002 Valencia (5)

2001 Real Madrid (28)

2000 Deportivo La Coruna (1) 

1999 Barcelona (16) 

1998 Barcelona (15)

1997 Real Madrid (27)

1996 Atletico Madrid (9)

1995 Real Madrid (26)

1994 Barcelona (14)

1993 Barcelona (13)

1992 Barcelona (12)

1991 Barcelona (11)

1990 Real Madrid (25) 

1989 Real Madrid (24)

1988 Real Madrid (23)

1987 Real Madrid (22)

1986 Real Madrid (21) 

Scotland

2012 Celtic (43)

2011 Rangers (54)

2010 Rangers (53)

2009 Rangers (52)

2008 Celtic (42) 

2007 Celtic (41)

2006 Celtic (40)

2005 Rangers (51)

2004 Celtic (39)

2003 Rangers (50) 

2002 Celtic (38)

2001 Celtic (37)

2000 Rangers (49)

1999 Rangers (48)

1998 Celtic (36) 

1997 Rangers (47)

1996 Rangers (46) 

1995 Rangers (45)

1994 Rangers (44)

1993 Rangers (43)

1992 Rangers (42)

1991 Rangers (41)

1990 Rangers (40) 

1989 Rangers (39)

1988 Celtic (35)

1987 Rangers (38)

1986 Celtic (34) 

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