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Has any team ever gone an entire season unbeaten? Top European football clubs without loss as Bayer Leverkusen chase history | Sporting News

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Bayer Leverkusen were crowned Bundesliga champions thanks to a phenomenal campaign that has ended Bayern Munich’s stranglehold on Germany’s top flight.

What is even more remarkable is that Xabi Alonso’s vibrant, thrilling team have done it all without losing a game. Not one.

This unbeaten run extends beyond the Bundesliga, with Leverkusen having also plotted an unblemished path to the UEFA Europa League quarterfinals and the DFB-Pokal final.

As they enter the final stretch and begin to prepare for some unforgettable celebrations, we have a look at some of the great “invincible” teams that Leverkusen are aiming to place themselves alongside.

MORE: Bayer Leverkusen win Bundesliga title 2023/24: Xabi Alonso’s team end Bayern Munich dominance

Has any team ever gone an entire season unbeaten?

There are many teams who have managed to go entire league seasons without losing a game, and some of them even produced ‘perfect’ campaigns by winning every single match.

Others have gone whole domestic seasons — including leagues and cups — without defeat. If Bayer Leverkusen can also go a complete European campaign without losing a single match, it would represent one of the finest achievements in modern football history, rivalling that of some of history’s other ‘invincible’ sides. You can find a list of many of these teams here.

We have focused on six of the most famous examples from among Europe’s top five leagues (England, Germany, Spain, Italy, and France), across both men’s and women’s football.

Arsenal 2003/04

The modern benchmark and certainly the most famous undefeated season in the contemporary era. This is, in part, down to the Premier League’s increased global prominence, but Arsene Wenger put together an Arsenal team that captured the imagination and brought the first full realisation of how continental influences could elevate English football to greater heights.

Wenger’s third Premier League title, where Arsenal won 26 and drew 12 of their 38 games, stands as his finest achievement. It also proved to be his last league championship. Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have since taken points totals to greater heights but none have managed to match the feat of Arsenal’s so-called ‘Invincibles’.

Preston North End 1888/89

Leverkusen would be the first team of the Bundesliga era to go a season unbeaten in Germany. Arsenal can claim likewise when it comes to the Premier League, but English football’s original ‘Invincibles’ etched their name into football folklore at the end of the 19th century.

Preston won 18 and drew four of what was then a 22-game Division One season and also lifted the FA Cup to become the first winners of the English domestic double.

Juventus 2011/12

Bayern’s 11 consecutive titles set a new record in Europe’s major leagues, usurping the nine in a row Juventus strung together between 2011/12 and 2019/20.

In the first of those campaigns, Juve’s first title since the Calciopoli scandal saw Antonio Conte mastermind an undefeated Serie A campaign of 23 victories and 15 draws. Indeed, the only man capable of ending Juve’s dominance proved to be Conte himself when he led Inter Milan to glory in 2020/21.

Antonio Conte

Celtic 2016/17

Scottish football heavyweights Celtic and Rangers boast two undefeated seasons apiece, with the most recent coming for the Gers under Steven Gerrard in 2020/21. However, Celtic’s efforts in 2016/17 were pretty special as Brendan Rodgers masterminded an undefeated league season featuring just four draws. The Bhoys also collected the Scottish League Cup and FA Cup to end up with the sort of haul that Leverkusen might soon call their own.

Perugia 1978/79

You would think an undefeated season more or less guarantees the league title, but not always. Perugia’s incredible 1978/79 season in Serie A has entered legend. The Umbrian outfit became the first team since Italy’s top flight became a round-robin tournament to play the entire 30-game season without losing. The catch was they drew 19 of those to miss out on the title by three points (this was the two-points-for-a-win era), finishing second behind an AC Milan side that lost three times en route to glory.

Barcelona 2021/22

Undefeated seasons are one thing, but perfect seasons raise the game entirely. That was exactly what Jonatan Giraldez’s Barcelona Femeni side accomplished in 2020/21, winning every single domestic game. That meant 30 victories out of 30 in Liga F, while also lifting the Copa de la Reina and Supercopa de Espana.

In what might serve as a cautionary tale for Leverkusen if they advance in the Europa League, Barca faltered at the last in Europe. Their unbeaten run ended at game 46 of the season when they lost 2-0 to Wolfsburg in the second leg of their Women’s Champions League semifinal, although they still won the tie 5-3 on aggregate. In the final, they were defeated 3-1 by Lyon.

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