Until the Champions League was bloated up in the second half of the nineties, the UEFA Cup was the only one among the three European trophies which offered most countries multiple entries. This has led to several national finals:
1971/72 England Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1979/80 West Germany Eintracht Frankfurt 2-3 1-0 Borussia Mönchengladbach 1989/90 Italy Juventus 3-1 0-0 Fiorentina 1990/91 Italy Internazionale 2-0 0-1 Roma 1994/95 Italy Parma 1-0 1-1 Juventus 1997/98 Italy Internazionale 3-0 Lazio 2006/07 Spain Sevilla 2-2 Espanyol [aet, 3-1 pen] 2010/11 Portugal Porto 1-0 Braga 2011/12 Spain Atlético Madrid 3-0 Athletic BilbaoNever a single country was more dominant than in 1979/80: West Germany had five entrants that year (4 by right, and Borussia Mönchengladbach as the holders - they hadn't qualified for Europe in the Bundesliga), and all five reached the quarterfinals. This necessarily led to (at least) one inter-German tie, and 1.FC Kaiserslautern were eliminated by Bayern München 4-2 on aggregate. But all other German clubs made it past the quarterfinals, giving an all-German semifinal line-up:
VfB Stuttgart v Borussia Mönchengladbach (2-3 on aggregate) Bayern München v Eintracht Frankfurt (3-5 on aggregate)The West Germany v Rest of Europe balance that UEFA Cup makes convincing reading: from 36 matches, the West German teams won 23, drew 7 and lost 6, scoring 74 goals and conceding 29. Typically, the team with the worst record (Eintracht, 8 4 1 3 14-8), who finished lowest of the 5 in the Bundesliga as well, went on to win the trophy. No German team was eliminated by a non-German team in the UEFA Cup that year!
Only two clubs have ever retained the UEFA Cup: Real Madrid won it in both 1984/85 and 1985/86, and Sevilla in 2005/06 and 2006/07; Sevilla improved on that performance by winning it three seasons in succession from 2013/14 to 2015/16, when the tournament had been rebranded Europa League. Apart from Spain (because of Sevilla's series), the only country to keep it 3 consecutive seasons is Italy, on two occasions: between 1988/89 and 1990/91 (Napoli, Juventus, and Internazionale the winners) and between 1992/93 and 1994/95 (Juventus, Internazionale, and Parma).
If one combines the records of the Fairs' Cup and the UEFA Cup, English clubs won 6 times between 1967/68 and 1972/73.
Below we list all clubs to have entered the UEFA Cup or
Europa League (including qualifiers) on at least 15 occasions.
Note that seasons in which a club withdrew before playing a single match are not included.
All numbers up to and including the 2015/16 season. Note that Fairs Cup entries (up to and including 1970/71) are not included.
30 Sporting (Lisboa) 28 FC Brugge 26 Crvena zvezda Beograd 25 Internazionale 24 Ajax Feyenoord Partizan Beograd 23 Grasshoppers PAOK (Thessaloniki) Rapid Wien 22 AEK (Athinai) CSKA (Sofia) (CDNA, Sredets) Dinamo Bucuresti Dinamo Zagreb Hajduk Split Levski (Sofia) (Levski-Spartak, Vitosha) PSV (Eindhoven) Spartak Moskva 21 Fenerbahçe 20 Brøndby IF Dinamo Tbilisi Girondins Bordeaux Olympiakos (Piraeus) Panathinaikos Slavia Praha 19 Anderlecht Atlético Madrid Benfica Celtic Dundee United Legia Warszawa Standard Liège FC Twente 18 Aberdeen Anorthosis Famagusta Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk Glentoran Sliema Wanderers VfB Stuttgart Trabzonspor 17 Ferencváros Napoli Omonia Nicosia Rosenborg BK Shakhtar Donetsk Steaua Bucuresti Valencia 16 Athletic Bilbao Austria Wien Besiktas Dinamo Moskva Dynama Minsk Dynamo Kyiv Hamburger SV HJK (Helsinki) Rangers FC Vaduz Werder Bremen 15 APOEL (Lefkosia) IF Elfsborg Galatasaray Lazio Roma Slovan Bratislava Sparta Praha Sturm Graz
See also the section on consecutive participations.
The record number of consecutive participations in the UEFA Cup is 20, an ongoing series by FC Brugge; all teams to play at least 5 consecutive seasons (including eliminations in the qualifying rounds of the tournament proper; all numbers up to and including the 2015/16 season):
20 FC Brugge (1996/97-2015/16) 16 Crvena zvezda Beograd (1998/99-2013/14) 13 FC Vaduz (1999/00-2011/12) 12 Slavia Praha (1998/99-2009/10) Omonia Nicosia (2004/05-2015/16) 11 Litex Lovech (2001/02-2011/12) 10 CSKA Sofia (1998/99-2007/08) Austria Wien (2002/03-2011/12) Dinamo Bucuresti (2003/04-2012/13) Ajax (2006/07-2015/16) Sparta Praha (2006/07-2015/16) 9 PAOK (Thessaloniki) (1997/98-2005/06) Shakhtar Donetsk (1998/99-2006/07) IF Elfsborg (2007/08-2015/16) Hajduk Split (2007/08-2015/16) Rosenborg BK (2007/08-2015/16) 8 Celtic (1996/97-2003/04) Grazer AK (1998/99-2005/06) Brøndby (1999/00-2006/07) Nistru Otaci (2001/02-2008/09) AEK (Athinai) (2004/05-2011/12) SC Braga (2004/05-2011/12) Suduva Marijampole (2006/07-2013/14) Siroki Brijeg (2007/08-2014/15) 7 PSV (1979/80-1985/86) Spartak (Moskva) (1981/82-1987/88) Sporting CP (Lisboa) (1988/89-1994/95) Parma (1998/99-2004/05) FK Ventspils (2000/01-2006/07) Wisla Kraków (2000/01-2006/07) Banants Yerevan (2003/04-2009/10) FC Twente (2006/07-2012/13) BSC Young Boys (2006/07-2012/13) FK Aqtöbe (2009/10-2015/16) FC Differdange 03 (2009/10-2015/16) PAOK (Thessaloniki) (2009/10-2015/16) Sheriff Tiraspol (2009/10-2015/16) Trabzonspor (2009/10-2015/16) 6 1.FC Köln (1971/72-1976/77) [also in Fairs' Cup 1970/71] Grasshopper Club (1972/73-1977/78) Dundee United (1977/78-1982/83) Werder Bremen (1982/83-1987/88) Internazionale (1983/84-1988/89) Skonto Riga (1994/95-1999/00) Rangers (1997/98-2002/03) Artmedia Petrzalka (Bratislava) (2003/04-2008/09) SC Heerenveen (2004/05-2009/10) Partizan Beograd (2004/05-2009/10) Flora Tallinn (2005/06-2010/11) Red Bull Salzburg (2006/07-2011/12) Metalist Kharkiv (2007/08-2012/13) Levski Sofia (2008/09-2013/14) PSV (2009/10-2014/15) Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (2010/11-2015/16) Viktoria Plzen (2010/11-2015/16) 5 1.FC Kaiserslautern (1979/80-1983/84) Sportul studentesc Bucuresti (1983/84-1987/88) Partizan Beograd (1984/85-1988/89) Eintracht Frankfurt (1990/91-1994/95) Internazionale (1993/94-1997/98) Lazio (1993/94-1997/98) Dynamo Tbilisi (1994/95-1998/99) Rapid Wien (1997/98-2001/02) AEK Athinai (1998/99-2002/03) Celta Vigo (1998/99-2002/03) Zimbru Chisinau (1999/00-2003/04) Dinamo Zagreb (2000/01-2004/05) Birkirkara (2001/02-2005/06) Levski Sofia (2001/02-2005/06) Sporting CP (Lisboa) (2001/02-2005/06) Auxerre (2002/03-2006/07) Besiktas (2002/03-2006/07) Schalke 04 (2002/03-2006/07) FC Basel (2003/04-2007/08) Etzella Ettelbruck (2003/04-2007/08) Olympique Marseille (2005/06-2009/10) Benfica (2006/07-2010/11) Tobil Qostanay (2006/07-2010/11) FC Vaslui (2008/09-2012/13) Anorthosis Famagusta (2009/10-2013/14) Rubin Kazan (2009/10-2013/14) Trans Narva (2009/10-2013/14) Dynamo Kyiv (2010/11-2014/15) Metalurg Skopje (2010/11-2014/15) UE Santa Coloma (2010/11-2014/15) FH (Hafnarfjörđur) (2011/12-2015/16) Kalju Nõmme (2011/12-2015/16) Legia Warszawa (2011/12-2015/16) Partizan Beograd (2011/12-2015/16) Shakhtsyor Salihorsk (2011/12-2015/16) Tottenham Hotspur (2011/12-2015/16) Vojvodina Novi Sad (2011/12-2015/16)
Apart from 1.FC Köln, Vitória FC (Setúbal) also has a series of 7 seasons if we take the Fairs' Cup into account: 1968/69-1974/75 (3 seasons in the Fairs and 4 in the UEFA Cup).
There are currently two ways to enter the UEFA Cup (c.q. Europa League) after first entering the Champions League: by finishing third in the group stage or by being eliminated in the final qualifying round (since 2009/10 also the losers in the penultimate qualifying round enter the 'new' Europa League).
Four UEFA Cup/Europa League finals were played by two clubs who had initially entered the Champions League but were 'relegated' to the UEFA Cup after finishing third in the (first) group stage:
1999/00 Galatasaray 0-0 Arsenal [aet, 4-1 pen] 2001/02 Feyenoord 3-2 Borussia Dortmund 2008/09 Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Werder Bremen 2012/13 Chelsea 2-1 BenficaApart from Galatasaray, Feyenoord, Shakhtar Donetsk and Chelsea, also CSKA Moskva (2004/05), Atlético Madrid (2009/10) and Sevilla (2015/16) won the UEFA Cup after finishing third in their Champions League group.
Among the clubs eliminated during the final qualifying round for the Champions League, Celtic subsequently had the best performance in the UEFA Cup, reaching the final in 2002/03, a feat emulated by Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (who in fact had been eliminated in the penultimate round of Champions League qualifying) in 2014/15. Eleven other clubs managed to reach the semifinals of the UEFA Cup after failing to enter the Champions League group stage: Spartak Moskva (1997/98), Boavista (2002/03; they lost their semifinal to Celtic but saw city rivals Porto exact revenge on their conquerors in the final), Newcastle United (2003/04), Steaua Bucuresti (2005/06), Osasuna (2006/07), Basel (2012/13), Fenerbahçe (2012/13), Napoli (2014/15; they lost their semifinal to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk) and Shakhtar Donetsk (2015/16). In 2012/13 all four Europa League semifinalists had started their European campaign in the Champions League. Of those, Basel had started in the first qualifying round. In both 2002/03 and 2014/15, all entrants emanating from the Champions League group stage were eliminated before the semifinal stage. However, in both seasons two clubs eliminated in the qualifying rounds for the Champions League reached the semifinals.
Entering both the Champions League and/or its qualifying rounds and the UEFA Cup (or Europa League) in the same season has now become so common that a separate statistic of all clubs having done so in three or more consecutive seasons is warranted (between square brackets the means of entering the UEFA Cup (or Europa League) is indicated in chronological order, G denoting group stage, q denoting qualifying round):
7 Shakhtar Donetsk (2000/01-2006/07) [GqqqGqG] Ajax (2010/11-2016/17) [GGGGGqq] 5 Dinamo Zagreb (2006/07-2010/11) [qqqqq] Partizan Beograd (2011/12-2015/16) [qqqqq] 4 FC Brugge (2002/03-2005/06) [qGqG] Sparta Praha (2007/08-2010/11) [qqqq] FC Twente (2008/09-2011/12) [qqGq] Austria (RB) Salzburg (2013/14-2016/17) [qqqq] 3 Anorthosis Famagusta (1997/98-1999/00) [qqq] Skonto Riga (1997/98-1999/00) [qqq] Rangers (1999/00-2001/02) [GGq] Celtic (2001/02-2003/04) [GqG] Grazer AK (2002/03-2004/05) [qqq] Wisla Kraków (2003/04-2005/06) [qqq] Spartak Moskva (2006/07-2008/09) [Gqq] Werder Bremen (2006/07-2008/09) [GGG] Olympique Marseille (2007/08-2009/10) [GGG] Slavia Praha (2007/08-2009/10) [Gqq] Rubin Kazan (2009/10-2011/12) [GGq] Dynamo Kyiv (2010/11-2012/13) [qqG] HJK (Helsinki) (2010/11-2012/13) [qqq] Maribor (2011/12-2013/14) [qqq] Sheriff Tiraspol (2012/13-2014/15) [qqq] FC København (2014/15-2016/17) [qqQ] Olympiakos (Piraeus) (2014/15-2016/17) [QQq] Qarabag Agdam (2014/15-2016/17) [qqq] Sparta Praha (2014/15-2016/17) [qqq] Steaua Bucuresti (2014/15-2016/17) [qqq]
Note that Ajax were the first team to qualify for the UEFA Cup by finishing third in their Champions League group four times in succession (a record eventually extended to five seasons). They thus bettered the series of Werder Bremen and Olympique Marseille, who had done so in three consecutive seasons.
In addition we list all clubs to have moved from the Champions
League to the UEFA Cup (or Europa League) within one season on
at least 4 occasions, split according to whether they came from
the group stage (G) or the qualifying rounds (q) of the Champions
All numbers up to and including the 2016/17 season.
Tot G q 12 [6-6] Shakhtar Donetsk 11 [6-5] Ajax 10[0-10] Dinamo Zagreb [0-10] Partizan Beograd 9 [7-2] Olympiakos (Piraeus) [0-9] Austria (RB) Salzburg [0-9] Sparta Praha 8 [4-4] Rangers [3-5] FC Brugge [2-6] Celtic [2-6] Panathinaikos [1-7] FC København [1-7] Slavia Praha [1-7] Steaua Bucuresti 7 [5-2] Benfica [4-3] Dynamo Kyiv [3-4] Rosenborg BK [1-6] Fenerbahçe 6 [3-3] Spartak Moskva [2-4] FC Basel [2-4] Sporting (Lisboa) [0-6] Brøndby IF [0-6] Crvena zvezda Beograd [0-6] Maribor [0-6] Wisla Kraków 5 [4-1] PSV (Eindhoven) [3-2] Olympique Lyonnais [1-4] BATE Barysau [1-4] Legia Warszawa [1-4] Standard (Liège) [0-5] Grasshoppers [0-5] HJK (Helsinki) [0-5] Sheriff Tiraspol 4 [4-0] Olympique Marseille [3-1] Galatasaray [3-1] FC Porto [3-1] Zenit Sankt-Peterburg [2-2] AEK (Athinai) [2-2] Viktoria Plzen [1-3] RSC Anderlecht [1-3] Feyenoord [1-3] Maccabi Haifa [1-3] FC Twente [0-4] Anorthosis Famagusta [0-4] APOEL (Lefkosia) [0-4] Debreceni VSC [0-4] Dinamo Tbilisi [0-4] Levski (Sofia)
In each of the four seasons (2000/01, 2001/02, 2003/04 and 2007/08) PSV finished third in their Champions League group they reached the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup. For additional data on clubs entering the UEFA Cup/Europa League after finishing third in the Champions League group stage, see this file with all UEFA Cup/Europa League results of such clubs.
In 2013/14 FC Basel and Maccabi Tel-Aviv met in two different tournaments: they first played each other in the penultimate qualifying round for the Champions League, Basel winning 4-3 on aggregate, and progressing to the final qualifying round (where they eliminated Ludogorets Razgrad) and then the group stage, where they finished third behind Chelsea and Schalke 04. Meanwhile, losers Maccabi Tel-Aviv entered the final qualifying round for the UEFA Europa League group stage, in which they were drawn against PAOK Thessaloniki; as their Greek opponents were allowed back into the final qualifying round for the Champions League due to the exclusion of Metalist Kharkiv, Maccabi received a bye to the group stage, in which they finished second behind Eintracht Frankfurt. Both Basel and Maccabi had thus qualified for the round of 32 of the Europa League, and again were drawn to play each other, Basel now winning 3-0 on aggregate.
Between the 1995/96 and 2015/2016 seasons, three clubs (at most one per country) entered through a Fair Play ranking. Three clubs have managed to reach the UEFA Cup quarterfinals this way:
1997/98 Aston Villa 2000/01 Rayo Vallecano 2008/09 Manchester City
In the 21 seasons in which this way of entering the tournament was possible, one club managed entry in the UEFA Cup (c.q. Europa League) five times thanks to a Fair Play spot; two other clubs did so three times and seven clubs did it twice:
5 MyPa (Myllykoski) (2001/02, 2007/08, 2010/11, 2012/13, 2014/15) 3 SK Brann (Bergen) (1997/98, 2002/03, 2006/07) Gefle IK (2006/07, 2010/11, 2013/14) 2 Aston Villa (1997/98, 1998/99) Esbjerg fB (2003/04, 2005/06) BK Häcken (2007/08, 2011/12) Manchester City (2003/04, 2008/09) Randers (2009/10, 2010/11) Tromsř IL (2013/14, 2014/15) Viking FK (Stavanger) (1995/96, 2005/06)Aston Villa, Randers and Tromsř IL are the only clubs to do so in consecutive seasons.
Countrywise, England and the Scandinavian countries profited most from this way of entry:
13 Norway 10 Sweden 8 England Finland 5 Denmark 2 Belgium Germany Netherlands Scotland
No other country had more than one Fair Play entry in these 21 seasons, while no fewer than 9 different Norwegian clubs entered the UEFA Cup (c.q. Europa League) at least once this way; apart from Brann, Tromsř and Viking (see above), these were Aalesund, Bodø/Glimt, Lillestrøm, Molde, Rosenborg and Stabæk.
In the 14 seasons from 1995/96 up to and including 2008/09, a varying number of clubs entered the UEFA Cup through the Intertoto Cup (revamped UI Cup after UEFA took over its organisation). After the 2008 edition of the UI Cup it was discontinued.
The best performance in the UEFA Cup by an Intertoto entrant was by Girondins Bordeaux in the first season, 1995/96, when they reached the UEFA Cup final (losing to Bayern München). Two other clubs reached the UEFA Cup semifinals after qualifying this way, Bologna (1998/99) and Villarreal (2003/04). In addition, four clubs reached the quarterfinals: Auxerre (1997/98), Celta de Vigo (2000/01), Málaga (2002/03) and Villarreal (2004/05, one season after they had reached the semifinals this way). The only club to qualify three times for the UEFA Cup this way were VfB Stuttgart (2000/01, 2002/03 and 2008/09) but in none of these three seasons they progressed beyond the fourth round (1/8 finals).
The French took this way of qualifying most seriously, while the four traditionally strongest European leagues also managed a considerable number of additional entries:
16 France 10 Germany 7 Spain 6 England ItalyNo other country managed more than 3 additional entries in the UEFA Cup during the 14 seasons provided by the UI Cup.
For additional data, see also the file on the Intertoto Cup.
After the Cup Winners' Cup was discontinued
after the 1998/99 edition, domestic cup winners (or losing cup
finalists if the cup winners enter the Champions League) enter
the UEFA Cup. The best ever performance by such an entrant was
FC Porto's win of the Europa League in 2010/11 against
compatriots Braga, followed by the lost final
by Espanyol (against compatriots Sevilla) in 2006/07.
Fiorentina have reached the semifinals of the 2014/15 Europa League for which they qualified as losing cup finalists (to Napoli) in Italy. In addition, eleven clubs reached the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup after entering through the domestic cup tournament: Slavia Praha and Werder Bremen (both 1999/00), Austria Wien (2004/05), Levski Sofia (2005/06), Getafe (2007/08), Paris Saint-Germain (2008/09), Schalke 04 (2011/12), Rubin Kazan (2012/13), AZ (2013/14), Dynamo Kyiv (2014/15) and Manchester United (2016/17). Austria Wien, Getafe and Paris Saint-Germain had entered as losing domestic cup finalists. In the 2004/05 season, the last two remaining domestic cup entrants, Austria Wien and Real Zaragoza, met in the fourth round (1/8 finals), and their tie (won on away goals by Austria, after a 1-1 draw in Vienna and a 2-2 in Zaragoza) can be considered a Cup Winners' Cup final aprčs le lettre. This happened twice since: in the 2013/14 season, the last two remaining domestic cup entrants, AZ and Anzhi Machachkala, again met in the fourth round (1/8 finals), and their tie (won on the only goal in the tie by AZ, winning 1-0 in Alkmaar and drawing 0-0 away in Ramenskoye) thus can be seen as the second Cup Winners' Cup final after the tournament had ceased to exist; in 2014/15, Fiorentina and Dynamo Kyiv met in the quarterfinals in the third such virtual Cup Winners' Cup final, with the Italians winning 3-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw in Kyiv and a 2-0 home win.
The following clubs entered the (qualifying rounds of the) UEFA Cup (c.q. Europa League) through their domestic cup tournament on four or more occasions since 1999:
17 FC Vaduz (1999/00, 2000/01, 2001/02, 2002/03, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17) 7 Birkirkara (1999/00, 2001/02, 2002/03, 2003/04, 2005/06, 2008/09, 2015/16) 6 Banants Yerevan (2003/04, 2004/05, 2007/08, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2016/17) Glentoran (2000/01, 2001/02, 2004/05, 2006/07, 2013/14, 2015/16) Hapoel Tel-Aviv (1999/00, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2011/12, 2012/13) 5 Bangor City (2000/01, 2002/03, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11) Crvena zvezda (B.) (1999/00, 2002/03, 2005/06, 2010/11, 2012/13) Flora Tallinn (2006/07, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2013/14) Hajduk Split (2003/04, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2013/14) IFK Göteborg (1999/00, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2013/14, 2015/16) Litex Lovech (2001/02, 2004/05, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10) Mika Ashtarak (2000/01, 2001/02, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2011/12) Nistru Otaci (2001/02, 2002/03, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2008/09) UE Sant Juliŕ (2008/09, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2014/15, 2015/16) SK Tirana (2001/02, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2011/12, 2012/13) FK Ventspils (2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2011/12, 2013/14) Víkingur (Gřta) (2010/11, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17) 4 AEK (Athinai) (2000/01, 2009/10, 2011/12, 2016/17) Apollon (Lemesos) (2001/02, 2010/11, 2013/14, 2016/17) Austria Wien (2004/05, 2005/06, 2007/08, 2009/10) B36 (Tórshavn) (2000/01, 2004/05, 2007/08, 2009/10) CSKA Sofia (1999/00, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2011/12) Debreceni VSC (1999/00, 2001/02, 2008/09, 2013/14) FC Differdange (2010/11, 2011/12, 2014/15, 2015/16) Dinamo Bucuresti (2001/02, 2003/04, 2005/06, 2012/13) Hibernians (Paola) (2006/07, 2007/08, 2012/13, 2013/14) HJK (Helsinki) (1999/00, 2001/02, 2007/08, 2009/10) FK Jelgava (2010/11, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17) Jeunesse d'Esch (2000/01, 2006/07, 2012/13, 2013/14) Legia Warszawa (2008/09, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2015/16) Lokomotivi Tbilisi (2000/01, 2001/02, 2002/03, 2005/06) Omonia (Lefkosia) (2000/01, 2005/06, 2011/12, 2012/13) Paris St.-Germain (2006/07, 2008/09, 2010/11, 2011/12) FC Sion (2006/07, 2009/10, 2011/12, 2015/16) Siroki Brijeg (2005/06, 2007/08, 2012/13, 2013/14) FC Zürich (2000/01, 2005/06, 2014/15, 2016/17)As FC Vaduz also entered the last edition of the Cup Winners Cup in 1998/99 (but not in 1997/98), they established a series of 14 successive qualifications for UEFA club tournaments through their domestic cup tournament in Liechtenstein (where only six other clubs compete).
In the 18 seasons (1999/00 to 2016/17 inclusive) since cup winners enter the UEFA Cup, only (by necessity) Liechtenstein have entered their actual cup winners each season; Cyprus did to in the first fifteen seasons, but had losing finalists Ermis Aradippou enter in 2014/15 (and no club in 2015/16 as losing finalists AEL were not elibible). In contrast, Albania saw losing finalists Vllaznia Shkodër enter in 1999/00 but the actual cup winners in the following sixteen seasons.
Hapoel Ramat-Gan hold the unique record of having twice entered the UEFA Cup while playing at the second domestic level, in 2003/04 and 2013/14, in both cases by winning their domestic cup in the previous season. (This of course does not take FC Vaduz into account, the Liechtenstein cup winners playing at the lower echelons of the Swiss league.) Borac Banja Luka and Randers Freja both entered the Cup Winners' Cup twice while at the second domestic level and Bray Wanderers entered both the Cup Winners' Cup and the UEFA Cup once as a second level club.
As an aside, it should be mentioned that West Germany had a peculiar rule in the 1970s: if the cup winners would have qualified for the UEFA Cup through the final league standings, the available UEFA Cup spot did not go to the next best team in the league standings (as usual in most countries), but to the losing cup finalists. Four teams entered the UEFA Cup this way (1.FC Köln in 1971/72, 1.FC Kaiserslautern in 1972/73, Hamburger SV in 1974/75 and MSV Duisburg in 1975/76; Kaiserslautern would have done so again in 1976/77 but they also were the best ranked team in the league so in a manner of speaking replaced themselves). Of these four, two (Kaiserslautern in 1972/73 and Hamburger SV in 1974/75) went on to reach the UEFA Cup quarterfinals. It is not known whether such a rule was ever applied in any other country (but certainly not in Austria, East Germany, England, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain or Switzerland).
As a final curiosity, the first season in which cup winners entered the UEFA Cup saw two playoffs between clubs losing their domestic cup semifinals to determine the third place in the cup: in Italy Bologna beat Internazionale and in Turkey Ankaragücü beat Sakaryaspor for a place in the UEFA Cup 1999/00 as in both countries both cup finalists 1999 qualified for the Champions League. Afterwards this route into the UEFA Cup was closed: any UEFA Cup place freed by the fact that both cup finalists qualified for the Champions League was attributed according to the final league standings. Since 2015, cup final losers are not admitted to the Europa League anymore.
The Fairs' Cup having already offered entry to the English League Cup winners, the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) continued reserving one place to the winners of the English League Cup to this day. Some other countries have also reserved a UEFA Cup spot for the winners of their domestic League Cup or an equivalent competition at some point in time: France (from 1996/97 to this day), Hungary (only in 1975/76, for the winners of the Felszabadulási Kupa), Poland (only in 1977/78), Scotland (from 1972/73 until 2000/01) and Spain (for four seasons, from 1983/84 to 1986/87, with only Real Valladolid in 1984/85 actually profiting from the rule, as the other Spanish league cup winners (Barcelona twice and Real Madrid once) would have qualified for European competition anyway). The regulation is increasingly becoming obsolete: the last season in which any club entered the Europa League this way was 2013/14, when Swansea City and AS Saint-Etienne did so; in all seasons since, the English and French League Cup winners qualified for the Champions League instead.
The best performance by a League Cup entrant is the win by Tottenham Hotspur in the first edition of the UEFA Cup 1971/72; however, the Spurs would also have qualified through their final league position in 1970/71. Real Madrid won the UEFA Cup 1985/86 but primarily entered as holders, and not as Spanish League Cup winners 1985. Tottenham Hotspur also qualified for the 1973/74 UEFA Cup as English League Cup winners (their league finish was not good enough) and reached (and lost) the final. In addition, RC Lens reached the semifinals of the UEFA Cup 1999/00 for which they had qualified as French League Cup winners while Aston Villa (1977/78), Dundee United (1981/82) and FC Barcelona (1986/87) reached the UEFA Cup quarterfinals as winners of the domestic League Cup (all three would have qualified on league position as well, unlike Lens in 1999).
Three clubs entered the UEFA Cup as domestic League Cup winners on four occasions: Aston Villa (1975/76, 1977/78, 1994/95 and 1996/97; in 1977/78 and 1996/97 they would have qualified through league position anyway), Tottenham Hotspur (1971/72, 1973/74, 1999/00 and 2008/09; in 1971/72 they would have qualified through league position anyway), and Rangers (1982/83, 1984/85, 1985/86 and 1988/89; in each season they would have qualified through league position anyway). Liverpool entered the UEFA Cup/Europa League three times as League Cup holders (1995/96, 2003/04 and 2012/13; in all seasons they would have qualified through the league or the FA Cup anyway), and seven clubs did so twice: Leicester City (1997/98 and 2000/01) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (1974/75 and 1980/81) in England; Girondins Bordeaux (2002/03 and 2007/08) and RC Strasbourg (1997/98 and 2005/06) in France; and Aberdeen (1977/78 and 1995/96), Celtic (1983/84 and 2000/01) and Dundee United (1980/81 and 1981/82) in Scotland. While all three Scottish clubs would have qualified on league position on both occasions anyway, both the two English and the two French clubs mentioned only gained access to the UEFA Cup by virtue of their League Cup wins.
Below we list the best UEFA Cup run for each country, restricting to clubs who would not have qualified for the UEFA Cup if they would not have won the League Cup in the preceding season:
England Tottenham Hotspur 1973/74 Final France RC Lens 1999/00 Semifinal Hungary Vasas 1975/76 Round 3 Poland Odra Opole 1977/78 Round 1 Scotland Raith Rovers 1995/96 Round 2 Spain Real Valladolid 1984/85 Round 1
Several times, winning the UEFA Cup was a club's only chance to qualify for European competition in the next season. A win by such a mediocre, mid-table (and non-domestic-cup-winning) club then led to an extra place in the UEFA Cup for the country in question. The following clubs managed to salvage their season by winning the UEFA Cup (between brackets their domestic league records, P-W-D-L-F-A-Pts):
1971/72 Tottenham Hotspur England ( 6th, 42 19 13 10 63-42 51) 1978/79 Borussia Mönchengladbach West Germany (10th, 34 12 8 14 50-53 32) 1979/80 Eintracht Frankfurt West Germany ( 9th, 34 15 2 17 65-61 32) 1983/84 Tottenham Hotspur England ( 8th, 42 17 10 15 64-65 61) 1987/88 Bayer Leverkusen West Germany ( 8th, 34 10 12 12 53-60 32) 1993/94 Internazionale Italy (13th, 34 11 9 14 46-45 31) 1996/97 Schalke 04 Germany (12th, 34 11 10 13 35-40 43) 2015/16 Sevilla Spain ( 7th, 38 14 10 14 51-50 52) NB: Sevilla's 2015/16 win earned them a place in the 2016/17 Champions League.The Spurs did it twice; the Germans four times!
Internazionale's 1993/94 finish is the worst by any winner of a European club title.
All UEFA Cup winners not listed above finished among the first five of their national championship. On fourteen occasions a club combined the UEFA Cup with the national title; six of those occurred in succession form 1972/73 to 1977/78, and Liverpool (1972/73 and 1975/76), IFK Göteborg (UEFA Cup winners 1981/82 and 1986/87 and spring-fall champions in 1982 and 1987 though not in 1981 nor 1986) and FC Porto (2002/03 and 2010/11) did it twice; the other 8 teams involved are Feyenoord (1973/74), Borussia Mönchengladbach (1974/75), Juventus (1976/77), PSV (1977/78), Real Madrid (1985/86), Galatasaray (1999/2000), Valencia (2003/04) and Zenit Sankt-Peterburg (2007/08 UEFA Cup winners and 2007 Russian champions).
Of the above, the only teams to add a domestic cup as well were IFK Göteborg, thereby achieving a treble of UEFA Cup 1981/82, Swedish championship 1982, and Swedish Cup 1981/82, Galatasaray 1999/2000 and Porto (twice: 2002/03 and 2010/11).
Liverpool in 2000/01 did not win the domestic league, but won both domestic cups (FA Cup and League Cup) for a unique treble.
Only 1 club managed to eliminate the holders from the UEFA Cup on more than one occasion: SV Werder Bremen. Two more clubs eliminated the UEFA Cup holders from European competition on 2 occasions.
All clubs to eliminate the defending champions more than once (seasons in which they won themselves in bold):
2 Werder Bremen (1989/90, 1999/00)
In addition Barcelona and Real Madrid each eliminated the UEFA Cup holders more than once; Barcelona once from the Champions' Cup and once from the Cup Winners' Cup, Madrid twice from the Champions' Cup and once from the UEFA Cup itself:
Real Madrid (1975/76 (ChC), 1984/85, 2000/01 (ChC) Barcelona (1974/75 (ChC), 1990/91 (CWC))
Most successful countries against the holders (within the UEFA Cup itself):
England 5 eliminations (Aston Villa 1, Fulham 1, Liverpool 1, Manchester City 1, Tottenham Hotspur 1) Italy 3 (Cagliari 1, Internazionale 1, Udinese 1) West Germany 4 (Werder Bremen 2, Bayer Leverkusen 1, Eintracht Frankfurt 1) France 2 (Auxerre 1, Sochaux 1) Portugal 2 (Belenenses 1, Boavista 1) Spain 2 (Real Madrid 1, Valencia 1)No other country boasts more than one such elimination.
If we add Fairs' Cup and UEFA Cup records, Werder Bremen remain the only club to eliminate the defending champions more than once (namely twice); apart from Barcelona and Real Madrid two more clubs eliminated the holders of the 'third' European trophy on two occasions:
Internazionale (1965/66 (ChC), 1997/98) Újpesti Dózsa (1968/69, 1982/83 (CWC))
The list of most succesful countries against the Fairs' Cup/UEFA Cup holders within the competition itself:
England 6 eliminations (Aston Villa 1, Fulham 1, Liverpool 1, Manchester City 1, Sheffield Wednesday 1, Tottenham Hotspur 1) West Germany 5 (Werder Bremen 2, Bayer Leverkusen 1, Eintracht Frankfurt 1, 1.FC Köln 1) Italy 4 (Bologna 1, Cagliari 1, Internazionale 1, Udinese 1) Scotland 3 (Aberdeen 1, Dundee United 1, Hibernian 1) Spain 3 (Real Madrid 1, Valencia 1, Zaragoza 1) Belgium 2 (Anderlecht 1, Lierse 1) France 2 (Auxerre 1, Sochaux 1) Portugal 2 (Belenenses 1, Boavista 1)No other country boasts more than one such elimination.
1984/85, 1st round: Ajax 14-0 Red Boys Differdange
1972/73, 1st round: Feyenoord 9-0 US Rumelange US Rumelange 0-12 Feyenoord Feyenoord win 21-0 on aggregate (tie for record for all European Cups)
1984/85, 1st round: Ajax 14-0 Red Boys Differdange, total 14 goals
1972/73, 1st round: Feyenoord 9-0 US Rumelange US Rumelange 0-12 Feyenoord Feyenoord win 21-0 on aggregate, total 21 goals
1984/85, 2nd round: Queens Park Rangers 6-2 Partizan (Beograd) Partizan (Beograd) 4-0 Queens Park Rangers 6-6 on aggregate, Partizan Beograd win on away goals 1985/86, 3rd round: Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-1 Real Madrid Real Madrid 4-0 Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-5 on aggregate, Real Madrid win on away goal 1987/88, 3rd round: Honvéd 5-2 Panathinaikos [after 5-0] Panathinaikos 5-1 Honvéd Panathinaikos win 7-6 on aggregate 1971/72, 1st round: Lierse SK 0-2 Leeds United Leeds United 0-4 Lierse SK Lierse SK win 4-2 on aggregate 1988/89, 3rd round: Bayern München 0-2 Internazionale Internazionale 1-3 Bayern München 3-3 on aggregate, Bayern München win on away goals 1989/90, 1st round: Levski-Spartak (Sofia) 0-0 Antwerp Antwerp 4-3 Levski-Spartak (Sofia) [after 1-3 at 87'] Antwerp win 4-3 on aggregate 1996/97, 1st prel.: Sliema Wanderers 1-3 Margveti Zestafoni Margveti Zestafoni 0-3 Sliema Wanderers Sliema Wanderers win 4-3 on aggregate 1996/97, 3rd round: Brøndby IF 1-3 Karlsruher SC [after 0-3 at 81'] Karlsruher SC 0-5 Brøndby IF Brøndby IF win 6-3 on aggregate 1998/99, 1st round: VfB Stuttgart 1-3 Feyenoord Feyenoord 0-3 VfB Stuttgart VfB Stuttgart win 4-3 on aggregate 2004/05, 2nd qual.: Rapid Wien 0-2 Rubin Kazan Rubin Kazan 0-3 Rapid Wien Rapid Wien win 3-2 on aggregate 2005/06, 1st round: Maccabi Petah-Tikva 0-2 Partizan Beograd Partizan Beograd 2-5 Maccabi Petah-Tikva Maccabi Petah-Tikva win 5-4 on aggregate 2009/10, 1st round: Dinamo Bucuresti 0-3 Slovan Liberec [awarded, abandoned at 0-2 in 87'] Slovan Liberec 0-3 Dinamo Bucuresti [aet] 3-3 on aggregate, Dinamo Bucuresti won 9-8 on penalties 2010/11, 2nd qual.: Anorthosis Famagusta 0-2 Sibenik Sibenik 0-3 Anorthosis Famagusta [aet] Anorthosis Famagusta win 3-2 on aggregate 2010/11, 1st round: Sporting CP (Lisboa) 0-2 Brøndby IF Brøndby IF 0-3 Sporting CP (Lisboa) Sporting CP (Lisboa) win 3-2 on aggregate 2011/12, 2nd qual.: FC Vaduz 0-2 Vojvodina Novi Sad Vojvodina Novi Sad 1-3 FC Vaduz 3-3 on aggregate, FC Vaduz win on away goals 2013/14, 4th round: Sevilla FC 0-2 Betis Sevilla Betis Sevilla 0-2 Sevilla FC 2-2 on aggregate, Sevilla win 4-3 on penalties
1987/88, final: Español 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Español [aet] [after 0-0 at 56'] 3-3 on aggregate, Bayer Leverkusen won 3-2 on penalties
Thanks to Luis Aguilar
Prepared and maintained by Karel Stokkermans for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
Author: Karel Stokkermans
Last updated: 29 Mar 2017
(C) Copyright Karel Stokkermans and RSSSF 1996/2017
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