CHELSEA, as we all know, are European champions having won UEFA’s premier club competition for the second time in 2020-21. The London side, along with other leading clubs such as Manchester City and Atlético Madrid, can be considered among the continent’s best teams, but in real terms, which clubs had the best playing record?
Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade not only won their domestic league, but they completed the “double”, beating their fierce rivals Partizan in the cup final. Red Star won 35 of their 38 league games, were unbeaten and scored 114 goals in the process. Red Star won 94.7% of all the points available to them, the highest rate across Europe. They had an astonishing campaign, losing only one game outright – their exits in the Champions League and Europa League were both after penalties. In 55 games, they won 45, drew nine and their sole defeat was at Hoffenheim in the Europa group stage. Red Star’s win rate in the Serbian Super League was 92.1%.
Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova were very close to achieving a “double”, but had to be content with the league title, their sixth consecutive success. Sheriff won 32 of their 36 league games, losing just once, running up 99 points (91.7%). They were also the highest scoring champions in Europe with 116 goals, an impressive 3.2 goals per game – nobody bettered that figure. And their defence was phenomenal – conceding a paltry seven goals in the league. They conceded a goal on the last day of the campaign but prior to that they kept 14 consecutive clean sheets. Their only defeat was away at runners-up Petrocub Hîncesti, who finished 16 points behind Sheriff.
The top sides and their records
|Pts %||Win rate||Goals per game|
|1||Red Star Belgrade||Serbia||94.7||92.1||3|
|4||La Fiorita*||San Marino||88.1||85.7||2.4|
Teams marked * indicate 2nd placed in their domestic competitions.
In Scotland, Rangers broke the deadlock Celtic have had on the Premiership, winning their first title in a decade. Steven Gerrard’s team went through the season unbeaten in the league, a feat last achieved by Celtic in 2017. In total, Rangers lost two games outright in 2020-21, a home defeat to Slavia Prague in the Europa League and a 3-2 loss at St. Mirren in the League Cup. Rangers’ points tally in the league was 102, 25 ahead of “old firm” rivals Celtic and 89.5% of the total points competed for. Their win rate was 84%.
Rangers’ margin of victory was the third highest, behind Young Boys of Bern in Switzerland (31 points) and Greece’s Olympiakos (26).
Rangers prevented Celtic from winning their 10th consecutive title, just as they did in 1974-75. Bulgaria’s Ludogorets completed their 10th league championship in a row, while Bayern Munich’s latest Bundesliga success was their ninth successive victory. Red Bull Salzburg made it eight in the Austrian Bundesliga.
Notable title wins included the changing of the guard in Spain (Atlético Madrid), France (Lille), Portugal (Sporting) and Italy (Inter Milan), not to mention Manchester City regaining the title that Liverpool won in 2020. Of the 44 European title races that recently ended, exactly 50% saw the 2019-20 champions regain their crowns, while 50% saw a new team on the winners’ podium.
In total, there were 13 “doubles”, including Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb, Dynamo Kyiv, Linfield and Slovan Bratislava.
Of course, the above list is merely based on actual figures and has not weighting or seeding process.