Europe's Biggest Under-Achieving Clubs: AC Milan Lose Again, Hamburg Fight Drop

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2014

Europe's Biggest Under-Achieving Clubs: AC Milan Lose Again, Hamburg Fight Drop

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    Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

    Welcome back to our latest edition of the biggest under-achievers around Europe, with some of the continent's biggest names fighting it out to avoid being labelled with the worst campaign of all.

    Last week, we saw Manchester United sack their manager after another dismal defeat, with interim coach Ryan Giggs winning his first match thereafter. It wasn't such a happy weekend for others in Serie A and La Liga, though, who have struggled all year long.

    Here's our latest list of those who have punched well below their weight. 

6. PSV Eindhoven

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    PSV picked up an important three points at the weekend against PEC Zwolle, winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Jurgen Locadia and Bryan Ruiz.

    The three points lifted them back up into the Europa League places, fourth in the Eredivisie, but it has still been a poor campaign overall.

    Last term, they won 22 matches and scored 103 goals in the league—they've barely managed half the number of strikes this time around, with 17 wins, leaving them 14 points off winners Ajax. 

5. Stuttgart

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    Uli Deck/Associated Press

    Stuttgart have had a similarly dismal campaign down at the foot of the Bundesliga, but their recent form looks to have saved them from the threat of relegation.

    A 0-0 draw at Hannover made it four games in a row unbeaten, giving them a five-point advantage over the relegation play-off spot, but they still sit 15th in the 18-team table.

    With two matches to play, they require two points to guarantee themselves top-flight football next term. 

4. Valencia

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    Alberto Saiz/Associated Press

    Valencia faced one of their toughest games of the season at the weekend, playing at home to league leaders Atletico Madrid.

    Despite the away side going down to 10 men late in the game, Los Che couldn't find a way back into the match and ended up on the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline.

    It leaves Valencia in eighth place, set for a somewhat anonymous mid-table finish, well outside the European places. 

3. Hamburger SV

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    Sven Hoppe/Associated Press

    While Stuttgart have hauled themselves away—points-wise, at least—from the bottom three, Hamburg remain firmly entrenched in a struggle for survival.

    A 3-1 defeat at Augsburg leaves them five points from safety with six to play for.

    It could get even worse than merely a play-off against the second division's third-place team, though (currently Greuther Furth). Nurnberg and Eintracht Braunschweig, currently filling the automatic relegation places, are only one and two points behind respectively.

    HSV finish the season at home against league winners Bayern Munich and then away to Mainz. 

2. AC Milan

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    AC Milan had enjoyed a spell of good results of late, but a chastening 2-0 defeat to AS Roma will serve as a reminder of just how far behind the top clubs they have fallen.

    Milan are 10th in Serie A, a huge 34 points behind Roma, and another eight on top of that behind leaders Juventus.

    Striker Mario Balotelli was unhappy with the media after the game, telling former defender Christian Panucci he "knew nothing" about football, per ESPN FC

1. Manchester United

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    It seems unlikely that there should be a feel-good factor about a club after dropping from first to seventh in the course of a year, but David Moyes' departure, Ryan Giggs' temporary appointment and a crushing 4-0 win over Norwich City has given that to Manchester United.

    Two goals each for Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata claimed an easy three points against the relegation strugglers.

    United will end the season in seventh place, more than likely, with further changes probable in summer.