Granada's rise to the top of La Liga has taken everyone by surprise, the newly promoted side sitting just two points off the summit after 11 games. 

But is their story so exceptional? How hard is it for modern day sides who were playing a division lower the year before to do well?

Darwin Machis

Well, the last team to win the top flight of a major European league the season after they were promoted was Kaiserslautern in 1998.

Four teams have achieved the feat this year, but perhaps becoming champions of East Timor, Armenia, Bangladesh and Antigua and Barbuda respectively does not come with quite the same prestige as the Bundesliga.

With a larger amount of money now in the game and big clubs dominating Europe's top leagues, it looks like this is a feat unlikely to be repeated, and nobody is backing Granada.

Still, that doesn't stop us having some fun with it.

Kaiserslautern (1998)


This was the squad that catapulted the likes of Michael Ballack to the top of world football. The young German had joined at the beginning of the season and helped Die Roten Teufel to a unique German title.

It is something that hasn't happened in German football before or since, and ​Kaiserslautern now toil away in the third tier.

Bonus: All three promoted teams stayed up that season.

Chicago Fire (1998)

Rampage v Fire

An achievement made all the more remarkable by the fact that this was the same year as Chicago Fire had been founded.

Yup, welcome to Major League Soccer. While some may be critical of its franchise system that has no relegation – or promotion for that matter – it did cause one of the big upsets in US soccer history.

Ok, they didn't technically have a back-to-back promotion/title win, but they did manage to come out on top in their first season of a very competitive MLS, winning the MLS Cup over reigning champions DC United in a 2-0 victory in the final.

The Men in Red were coached by young Bob Bradley, later (hilariously) of Swansea City. Remember that? Goodness that was fun.

Rosario Central (1987)


​Under club legend manager Angel Tulio Zoff, Argentine outfit Rosario Central won their domestic league in stunning fashion. Having been promoted finishing second in the season before, Canalla managed to blow away all before them taking victory over bitter rivals Newell's Old Boys.

Central clinched the Primera Division with a 1-1 draw against Temperley on the final day, securing the club's fourth ever title.

Such an achievement is unique to Argentine football.

Nottingham Forest (1978)

Peter Shilton

Manager Brian Clough oversaw Nottingham Forest's meteoric rise to the top of world football, which included their first and only ever top tier win in 1978. They went on to win the European Cup twice in the two subsequent seasons.

The Tricky Trees were dominant in 1978 and only lost three times, including an incredible 25-match undefeated run at the end of the season.

The title win was part of a domestic double after Forest had beaten Liverpool in the League Cup final replay.

Forest were the fifth and last team to do the promotion/title double in English football.

Union San Felipe (1971)

LDU v Union San Felipe - 2010 Copa Nissan Sudamericana

Union are nowhere near one of Chile's biggest clubs, which makes this league win all the more remarkable.

With a ground that only holds 12,000 people, nobody expect the little San Felipe side to win, but they did so, with star player Manuel Nunez bagging 15 league goals for Uni-Uni.

The 1971 title remains the only ever top flight success for Union.

AFC DWS (1964)

Edwin van der Sar

Amsterdamsche Football Club Door Wilskracht Sterk are an obscurity in the history of Dutch football.

The team, whose name means 'Amsterdam Football Club Strong Through Willpower' are now a Sunday league side.

Their colours of blue and black saw them as the last club in Dutch football to win the title who don't play in colours that are predominantly red and white. One for the pub, that one.

Ipswich Town (1962)

League Champions Ipswich

Was this the league title that led to England's 1966 World Cup triumph? You could certainly argue so.

Ipswich had been managed by Sir Alf Ramsey​ since 1955 and by the time they embarked upon their first season in the top flight of English football, Ramsey had already hauled the club from the Third Division South.

They romped to the league over second-placed Burnley and scored 93 goals in the process, confirming the title with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa in May.

Ramsey left to manage England the following season. We hear he did alright.

KS Cracovia (1937)

It was Cracovia who won the 'holy war' with arch-rivals Wisla Krakow that year, the Stripes coming top of ​the Ekstraklasa.

The title that year was remarkable in the sense that AKS Chorzow, who had been promoted with Cracovia the previous season, would finish second.

Their fourth title came on the brink of turbulent times and only a few years later, the team would take part in secret Krakow city championships, which Pasy won in 1943.

The championships were secret due to the Nazi Germany decreeing a ban on Poles playing sports, but the love for the beautiful game won through.

Everton (1932)

Everton v Arsenal - Premier League

​Any football team with Dixie Dean in attack would be a formidable one. The Birkenhead-born, internationally renowned forward scored a total of 45 goals in 38 league appearances that season; 15 goals shy of his unrepeatable 60 in 1928.

The Toffees score 84 league goals at home that season and won the title over nearest challengers Arsenal.

Ajax (1918)

Ajax U17 v Tottenham Hotspur U17

While the rest of Western Europe plunged into the bloody chaos of the First World War​, football continued in neutral Netherlands.

If you've ever wondered where the philosophy of 'total football' originated from, it was actually (maybe) an Englishman by the name of Jack Reynolds.

Reynolds took charge of De Godezonen between 1915-1925, again in 1928-40 and finally from 1945-1947 and is very much a club legend, initiating the type of attacking football the club has become famous for.

Ajax are the most successful club in Dutch history, but their legacy started under Reynolds when they won the top division only a year after promotion.