Picking the Worst Team in Each European Domestic League
This list doesn't purely look at the teams who are rock bottom. That would be predictable and too easy.
On top of that, some teams are expected to be at the bottom, and it would be unfair to castrate them as they fight much richer and powerful entities.
That said, in some cases, it is those sides which are listed here.
In others though, this list takes a look at some of the sides across Europe who are under-performing.
Whether that is finding themselves in a surprise relegation battle or adrift in the race for Europe which they would associate themselves with.
There are 14 countries covered, so read on...
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An injection of money and a new 30,000 capacity stadium looked set to yield a new era for Hoffenheim, who were recently promoted to the Bundesliga. A 7th placed finish was followed by two 11th placed finishes but this season things have gotten worse. They sit 17th, five points above bottom side Greuther Furth and nine from safety.
Spain: Deportivo La Coruna
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The Galician club returned to La Liga at the first time of asking but look set to return the compliment and return to La Segunda. Money problems up to their necks, onto their third manager of the season and rock bottom of the league does not make pretty reading for them heading into the final stretch of the season.
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Promotion out of the Championship into the Premier League is so often a poisoned chalice for managers, and that has again proved the case this week. Brian McDermott left Reading in a situation that looks awfully similar to when Mick McCarthy left Wolves last season. And, despite many late comebacks, the Royals look destined for the drop now.
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Bottom of the table and five points from safety, participation in the Europa League seems a longtime ago for Palermo—it was last season. Their trigger happy president, Maurizio Zamparini, has already made four managerial changes during the current campaign. To put that into context they've only won three matches.
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It's tight at the bottom in France. Nancy (21 points) and Troyes (23) sit just behind three sides tied on 27 points. One of those sides is Sochaux who, since their return to Ligue 1 in 2001, have become a mainstay in the top flight. A Coup de la Ligue win in 2004 was reinforced by a Coup de France win in 2007—relegation's on their mind this season though.
Portugal: Sporting Lisbon
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Historically, Sporting Lisbon are Portugal's third most successful side behind Porto and Benfica. They haven't finished outside the top four in the new millennium, but that looks certain to change. Sitting in 10th place they're only actually eight points off the bottom, while Benfica at the top are 34 points ahead of them.
Holland: AZ Alkmaar
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Another side hugely under-performing in Europe's domestic leagues this season is AZ Alkmaar. In 2009 they were crowned champions of Holland's Eredivisie and they haven't finished away from the top five since. With just 26 points though, they're only one ahead of Roda who occupy the last relegation playoff spot.
Russia: Lokomotiv Moscow
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In a country where petrodollars rule supreme, one point here or one point there can prove vital in the race for European qualification and a bigger stage. As things stand, the 2004 Russian champions, Lokomotiv Moscow, sit 10th in the league on 31 points. The good news for them is if they are only four points off fourth with games to go.
Ukraine: Metalurh Zaporizhzhya
Sometimes you just have to admit that the team in bottom is the worst team in the league. The table doesn't lie after all. In Ukraine that's certainly the case, after 20 games Metalurh Zaporizhzhya have drawn three and lost 17. They'd been in the top flight since 1992, but were relegated in 2011 only to return immediately for the current campaign.
More associated with fighting for Europe than battling to dodge relegation, it's the latter scenario which Trabzonspor find themselves in this season. They haven't dropped from the top six in the last five years, with that record slipping it's imperative they at least avoid relegation. With a two point advantage, it's in their hands.
Greece: AEK Athens
They haven't finished lower than fifth in the Greek league this millennium, but AEK Athens are at risk of being one of this season's talking points. With 26 points they're just one ahead of Aris Salonika—who are also suffering this year—in second bottom and in a genuine relegation battle.
Belgium: Cercle Brugges
Since their return to Belgium's top division in 2003, Cercle Brugges have performed well, spending the last five seasons inside the top 10. That will certainly end this season though, Brugges' second team look certainties for relegation. Bottom of the table, they have amassed just 14 points, while the two sides above them have 20 and 26.
Switzerland: Young Boys
In a league of just 12 teams, the league table tends to remain more consistent in Switzerland than other countries. The worst performers currently are Young Boys, regulars in both European competitions and the top four of their domestic league. Halfway down in sixth, they're flattering to deceive and struggling to make Europe.
One of, in not the, most famous names in Danish football find themselves staring relegation straight in the face. Brondby, 2005 winners and 10-time champions, sit bottom of the league in Denmark with just 11 games remaining. They'll seek confidence in the fact that one win could technically lift them up three places.