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The 10 longest unbeaten runs in European football history

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Xabi Alonso, Bayer Leverkusen, 2023/24
© IMAGO

Bayer Leverkusen hold the record of the longest unbeaten run in European football history after surpassing Benfica’s long-standing tally of 48 games without defeat.

Xabi Alonso’s side have enjoyed a remarkable 2023-24 campaign, with the Spaniard guiding the club to their first ever Bundesliga title.

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They are also in the final of both the DFB-Pokal and the Europa League, meaning a historic unbeaten treble is on the cards.

READ MORE: How many games unbeaten are Bayer Leverkusen?

Leverkusen were a measly 17th when Alonso was appointed in October 2022 and he has masterminded an unbelievable revival that has seen Die Werkself’s current squad achieve immortal status at the BayArena.

The Bundesliga side broke Benfica’s unbeaten record with a 2-2 draw against AS Roma in the second-leg of their Europa League semi-final, but which other clubs are in the top 10 list of the longest unbeaten streaks in European football history?

READ MORE: The 10 longest unbeaten international runs of all time

The 10 longest unbeaten runs since the introduction of European club competitions

Club Country Games Unbeaten Years
1. Bayer Leverkusen Germany 50* 2023-24
2. Benfica Portugal 48 1963-1965
3. Dinamo Zagreb Croatia 45 2014-15
= Rijeka Croatia 45 2016-17
5. Rangers Scotland 44 1992-93
6. Juventus Italy 43 2011-12
7. AC Milan Italy 42 1991-92
= Ajax Netherlands 42 1995-96
= Celtic Scotland 42 2016-17
10. The New Saints Wales 41 2023-24

*current streak

Although Leverkusen now have the longest unbeaten streak in European history, there are several other top teams who have enjoyed extended periods without being defeated.

Florian Wirtz has played a key role in Bayer Leverkusen's unbeaten run
© IMAGO – Florian Wirtz has played a key role in Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten run

Eusebio-led Benfica had previously held the record for 59 years, following their 48-game unbeaten run from December 1963 to February 1965.

Dinamo Zagreb have the third-longest unbeaten run in European football of all-time, with the Croatian side going 45 games without defeat from November 2014 to September 2015. Fellow Croatian outfit Rijeka also have a 45-game unbeaten streak and are therefore joint-third.

Rangers are in fifth place with a 44-game unbeaten run in the early 1990s. The Scottish giants won a domestic treble and even went unbeaten in the Champions League, but failed to qualify for the knockout stages after too many draws.

In sixth is Juventus. The Old Lady went 43 games unbeaten under Antonio Conte during the 2011-12 season, with their only defeat coming against Napoli in the Coppa Italia final.

AC Milan, Ajax and Celtic are joint-seventh. They each have a 42-game unbeaten streak under their belts, while Welsh side The New Saints complete the top 10.

Incredibly, Ajax would have enjoyed a 74-game unbeaten run had they not lost to Feyenoord in the DNVB Beker quarter-final in March 1995. They hadn’t tasted defeat in 32 matches before that loss and enjoyed their 42-game unbeaten streak following the defeat.

The all-time unbeaten run record in football history

While Leverkusen now hold the record of the longest unbeaten streak in European football history, they only sit in fourth place on the list of all-time unbeaten runs.

Celtic, Union Saint-Gilloise and Al-Ahly have all enjoyed longer unbeaten runs, although the former two completed their spells of dominance before the introduction of UEFA club competitions and the latter does not compete in Europe due to being an Egyptian team.

However, Celtic currently hold the all-time record of 66 games unbeaten – achieving this feat from 1915 to 1917. Union SG are second with an unbeaten streak of 60 games (1933-1935), while Al-Ahly are third on 55 games unbeaten (2004-2005).

The longest unbeaten run in international football

In regards to international football, Italy hold the longest unbeaten run. They didn’t taste defeat for 37 games from September 2018 to September 2021.

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