Critics of top-flight European football typically cite one major objection to the current status of the game: it's too predictable. There is a status quo.
Each league has its powerhouse clubs, that dominate year after year while the little guys sit at the bottom of the table and wonder how they're ever supposed to compete. La Liga will always be dominated by Barcelona and Madrid, England has its big four, Italy is practically owned by the City of Milan and so on.
It's easy to see how some of the smaller clubs in Europe might see things as hopeless. It's understandable when they take a gloomy view of their futures, and resign themselves to the nearly inevitable fate of sitting forever in the shadows of the giants.
Other clubs, however, demand to be taken seriously, and refuse to go down without a fight. They say "screw the status quo." They crave their moment in the spotlight.
This season, each of Europe's top leagues seem to have at least one club that's standing up for the little guys. One club that came out of the offseason craving victory, and determined to prove that they can compete with the best.
These are five clubs that are doing just that, and surprising the hell out of everyone in Europe (so far).