Leeds United and 3 Champions League Clubs That Have Fallen Apart

Sam PilgerContributing Football WriterFebruary 13, 2014

Leeds United and 3 Champions League Clubs That Have Fallen Apart

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    Associated Press

    Since its launch at the start of the 1992-93 season, the Champions League has come to be seen as the promised land by clubs across Europe. 

    Reaching the Champions League does provide these clubs with access to significant riches, but it can also destabilise them and help lead to their downfall. 

    Here we chart the fortune of four clubs who enjoyed Champions League success before spectacularly imploding not long afterward.

Leeds United

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    Phil Cole/Getty Images

    In the 2000-01 season, Leeds United enjoyed a thrilling run to the Champions League semi-finals.

    The Yorkshire club emerged first from a group containing AC Milan and Barcelona before repeating the trick in the second group stage, coming out of a group including Real Madrid and Lazio.

    Spanish champions Deportivo La Coruna were overcome in the quarter-finals, before Leeds fell to Valencia in the last four of the tournament in April 2001.

    Since that high point, Leeds have fallen into a steep decline and never appeared in the Champions League again.

    They were relegated from the Premier League in 2004 and then the Championship in 2007 before returning to the second tier of English football in 2010. They are currently 10th in the Championship. 

Fiorentina

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    FRANCESCO BELLINI/Associated Press

    In the 1999-00 season, Fiorentina were a Champions League side boasting such supreme talents as Gabriel Batistuta and Rui Costa.

    The Italian side battled Barcelona and Arsenal in the first group stage before beating reigning European champions Manchester United in the second group stage.

    However, after narrowly failing to reach the quarter-finals, Fiorentina fell into a chaotic and sharp decline.

    Burdened by debts of around $50 million, the club were relegated in 2002. Having also gone into administration, the Viola were refused entry to Serie B.

    The club had to entirely re-establish themselves and entered Serie C2, the fourth tier of Italian football, before returning to Serie A in 2004 and the Champions League in 2008. 

AS Monaco

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Just 10 years ago, AS Monaco reached the Champions League final against FC Porto at the Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen.

    The French side had beaten Real Madrid in the quarter-finals and Chelsea in the semi-finals but would succumb 3-0 to Jose Mourinho’s Portuguese champions in the final.

    AS Monaco featured in the Champions League for the next two seasons, but by 2010-11, they were relegated to the second tier of French football for the first time in 34 years.

    Revived by the investment of Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, Monaco returned to Ligue 1 last year. Now boasting Radamel Falcao, they should soon be back in the Champions League. 

Borussia Dortmund

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    THOMAS KIENZLE/Associated Press

    On May 28, 1997, Borussia Dortmund enjoyed the greatest night in their history by becoming European champions for the first time.

    The German side featured Paulo Sousa, Andreas Moller and Matthias Sammer, and they defeated Juventus 3-1 in the Olympic Stadium in Munich.

    Only seven years later, with a crippling debt of €200 million, Dortmund had to ask rivals Bayern Munich for a loan to help pay their salaries.

    Dortmund managed to stave off the threat of relegation, but for seven years they drifted and were shut out from the Champions League. They finished no higher than sixth between 2004 and 2009.

    The arrival of Jurgen Klopp in 2008 helped revive the club. Dortmund won the Bundesliga title in 2011 and 2012, and reached the Champions League final in 2013.