Europe's Biggest Underachieving Clubs: Inter in Chaos, Leverkusen Plummeting
Welcome back to the most inauspicious list in the business: the biggest underachieving clubs in European football.
This week we welcome a new side into our ranking, meaning that Portuguese giants Porto have moved on—at least for the time being.
So, without further ado, let’s have a look at the six clubs that have most underperformed so far this season.
6. Bayer Leverkusen
Earlier this season, Bayer Leverkusen were second to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga table (a sort of title in its own right) and proud contestants in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
Then the bottom fell out from under them.
Since the winter break, Leverkusen have won just three of 15 matches in all competitions and plummeted to fifth in the Bundesliga.
They’ve also crashed out of both the Champions League and DFB Pokal, and on Saturday manager Sami Hyypia was sacked after less than two seasons in charge at the BayArena.
5. AC Milan
Don’t look now, but AC Milan are putting together a string of results that could see them nick a place in next season’s Europa League.
The Rossoneri have won three Serie A matches on the bounce as they prepare to host last-place Catania, and if results go their way over the weekend, they could rise as many as four places in the Italian top flight.
That said, the San Siro outfit are still an embarrassing 11th in the table, and of the top 10, only Hellas Verona have a worse defensive record.
With just six matches to play, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Valencia won’t finish in one of La Liga’s European places.
Trounced 3-0 by Basel in the Europa League last week, Los Che are also slumping domestically and have won just one of their last seven matches in La Liga.
They’re also only a single point above city rivals Levante and Barcelona outfit Espanyol in the Spanish top flight, which means another poor result against Elche at the weekend could see them drop as low as 10th in the standings.
3. Manchester United
Patrice Evra’s half-volley at the Allianz Arena gave Manchester United 22 seconds of ecstasy on Wednesday.
Almost immediately after the Frenchman had given the Red Devils the lead, however, Champions League rivals Bayern Munich equalised and eventually went on to post a 3-1 victory.
With the defeat, United’s 18-year streak in Europe’s premiere club competition is almost certainly over, as they’re seventh in the Premier League with five matches left to play—seven points back of fourth-placed Arsenal.
2. Inter Milan
Given that Inter Milan haven’t had European football to worry about this season, they should have been a force to be reckoned with in Serie A.
But that hasn’t happened, and if they’re not careful, they could find themselves dropping out of the Italian top flight’s Europa League places in the final few weeks of the season.
Going into Sunday’s match away to Sampdoria, the Nerazzurri are winless in four, with just two wins from their last eight outings.
They’ve also mustered only 15 goals in the 15 matches they’ve played since Christmas.
An absolutely vital win at home to Freiburg on Saturday lifted struggling Stuttgart out of the Bundesliga’s relegation places.
At least for now.
The victory was only Die Roten’s second since December 7, and with difficult matches against Borussia Monchengladbach, Schalke, Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich still to come, their top flight safety is hardly assured.
In fact, given their schedule, it’s not at all inconceivable that Stuttgart could finish bottom of the table this season.