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The most competitive leagues in Europe over the last 15 seasons - ranked

Jamie Spencer
Mar 3, 2021, 5:45 PM GMT
Liverpool and Man City have dominated the Premier League in recent seasons
Liverpool and Man City have dominated the Premier League in recent seasons | JON SUPER/Getty Images
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Competition is what makes football entertaining, which means the more different clubs that win a national championship, the more interesting and exciting the league is.

When only a few clubs dominate a competition, it strips away the intrigue and anticipation. The opposite is true when there are five, six, seven or even eight sides that can go all the way.

FIFA has released its latest Global Competitive Balance Report for 2020, which seeks to highlight ‘competitive balance’ as a crucial pillar of the sport.

One aspect is assessing the competitiveness of domestic leagues all over the world.

Where Europe is concerned, a strong indicator for just how competitive a domestic league is reviewing how many different clubs have been crowned champions over a set period.

Counting back over the last 15 seasons, here’s a look at all 55 member associations in Europe and how many different title winners there have been.

*FIFA’s original report contained inaccurate counts for Kosovo, San Marino and Wales, which have been corrected here.

7. Different champions - 2

Celtic v Hearts - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership
Celtic have dominated the Scottish Premiership | Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Croatia - Dinamo Zagreb (14), HNK Rijeka (1)

Gibraltar - Lincoln Red Imps (13), Europa (2)

Portugal - Porto (9), Benfica (6)

Scotland - Celtic (12), Rangers (3)

Serbia - Partizan Belgrade (8), Red Star Belgrade (7)

Ukraine - Shakhtar Donetsk (11), Dynamo Kyiv (4)

6. Different champions - 3

FC Barcelona v Levante UD - La Liga
Only three clubs have won La Liga since 2005 | David Ramos/Getty Images

Belarus - BATE Borisov (13), Dynamo Brest (1), Shakhtyor Soligorsk (1)

Italy - Juventus (9), Inter (5), AC Milan (1)

Luxembourg - Dudelange (12), Fola Esch (2), Jeunesse Esch (1)

Moldova - Sheriff Tiraspol (13), Dacia Chisinau (1), Milsami Orhei (1)

Spain - Barcelona (9), Real Madrid (5), Atletico Madrid (1)

Switzerland - Basel (9), Zurich (3), Young Boys (3)

5. Different champions - 4

Dortmund's players celebrate with the tr
Borussia Dortmund were last Bundesliga champions in 2012 | PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

Austria - Red Bull Salzburg (11), Austria Vienna (2), Rapid Vienna (1), Sturm Graz (1)

Bulgaria - Ludogorets Razgrad (9), Levski Sofia (3), Litex Lovech (2), CSKA Sofia (1)

Czech Republic - Viktoria Plzen (5), Slavia Prague (5), Sparta Prague (3), Slovan Liberec (2)

Denmark - Copenhagen (9), Midtjylland (3), Aalborg (2), Nordsjaelland (1)

Estonia - Levadia (6), Flora (6), Nomme Kalju (2), Infonet (1)

Germany - Bayern Munich (11), Borussia Dortmund (2), Stuttgart (1), Wolfsburg (1)

Greece - Olympiacos (12), Panathinaikos (1), AEK Athens (1), PAOK (1)

Lithuania - Ekranos Panevezys (5), Zalgiris Vilnius (5), Suduva Marijampole (3), Kaunas (2)

Northern Ireland - Linfield (9), Crusaders (3), Cliftonville (2), Glentoran (1)

4. Different champions - 5

Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero
Five clubs have won the Premier League since 2005 | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Andorra - Santa Coloma (9), Ranger's (2), Lusitanos (2), Sant Julia (1), Inter Escalades (1)

Azerbaijan - Qarabag (7), Neftchi Baku (3), Baku (2), Inter Baku (2), Khazar Lankaran (1)

Belgium - Anderlecht (7), Club Brugge (3), Standard Liege (2), Genk (2), Gent (1)

Cyprus - APOEL (10), Anorthosis Famagusta (2), Apollon Limassol (1), Omonia (1), AEL Limassol (1)

England - Manchester United (5), Chelsea (4), Manchester City (4), Leicester (1), Liverpool (1)

Iceland - FH (6), Valur (4), KR (3), Breidablik (1), Stjarnan (1)

Malta - Valletta (7), Hibernians (3), Birkirkara (3), Marsaxlokk (1), Floriana (1)

Netherlands - PSV Eindhoven (7), Ajax (5), AZ (1), Twente (1), Feyenoord (1)

Russia - CSKA Moscow (5), Zenit St Petersburg (4), Rubin Kazan (2), Spartak Moscow (1), Lokomotiv Moscow (1)

San Marino - Tre Penne (4), Tre Fiori (4), Murata (3), La Fiorita (3), Folgore/Falciano (1)

Turkey - Galatasaray (7), Fenerbahce (3), Besiktas (3), Bursaspor (1), Istanbul Basaksehir (1)

Wales - The New Saints (11), Llanelli (1), Rhyl (1), Bangor City (1), Connah's Quay Nomads (1)

3. Different champions - 6

Legia Warsaw - Lechia Gdansk
Legia Warsaw have been Poland's most successful team in recent year | MB Media/Getty Images

Albania - Skenderbeu (7), Tirana (3), Dinamo (2), Elbasani (1), Kukesi (1), Partizani (1)

Armenia - Pyunik (7), Alashkert (3), Ararat-Armenia (2), Ulisses (1), Shirak (1), Banants (1)

Bosnia & Herzegovina - Zrinjski (5), Sarajevo (4), Zeljeznicar (3), Siroki Brijeg (1), Modrica (1), Borac (1)

Faroe Islands - HB (6), B36 (3), EB/Streymur (2), Vikingur (2), NSI (1), KI (1)

Finland - HJK Helsinki (9), Tampere United (2), Inter Turku (1), SJK (1), Mariehamn (1), KuPS (1)

Hungary - Debrecen (6), Videoton (3), Ferencvaros (3), MTK (1), Gyor (1), Honved (1)

Israel - Maccabi Tel Aviv (5), Maccabi Haifa (3), Hapoel Be'er Sheva (3), Beitar Jerusalem (2), Hapoel Tel Aviv (1), Ironi Kiryat Shmona (1)

Kazakhstan - Astana (6), Aktobe (4), Shakhter (2), Astana-64 (1), Tobol (1), Kairat (1)

Montenegro* - Sutjeska (4), Buducnost (4), Mogren (2), Rudar (2), Zeta (1), Titograd (1)

North Macedonia - Vardar (6), Rabotnichki (3), Shkendija (2), Pobeda (1), Makedonija GP (1), Renova (1)

Norway - Rosenborg (7), Molde (4), Brann (1), Stabaek (1), Stromsgodset (1), Bodo/Glimt (1)

Poland - Legia Warsaw (7), Wisla Krakow (3), Lech Poznan (2), Zaglebie Lubin (1), Slask Wroclaw (1), Piast Gliwice (1)

Slovakia - Slovan Bratislava (6), MSK Zilina (4), Trencin (2), Ruzomberok (1), Artmedia Bratislava (1), Spartak Trnava (1)

Slovenia - Maribor (8), Domzale (2), Olimpija Ljubljana (2), Gorica (1), Koper (1), Celje (1)

*Montenegro has only held its own top flight league for 14 seasons since 2006 following formal independence being granted from Serbia.

2. Different champions - 7

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-DIJON
PSG dominance in France is relatively new | FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

France - Paris Saint-Germain (7), Lyon (3), Bordeaux (1), Marseille (1), Lille (1), Montpellier (1), Monaco (1)

Latvia - Ventspils (6), Riga (3), Spartaks (2), Liepajas Metalurgs (1), Skonto Riga (1), Daugava Daugavapils (1), Liepaja (1)

Romania - Cluj (6), Steaua Bucharest (4), Dinamo Bucharest (1), Unirea Urziceni (1), Otelul Galati (1), Astra Giurgiu (1), Viitorul Constanta (1)

1. Different champions - 8

Tommi Vaiho
Sweden has one of the most competitive leagues in Europe | Michael Campanella/Getty Images

Georgia - Dinamo Tbilisi (6), Olimpi Rustavi (2), Zestafoni (2), Georgia Tbilisi (1), Dila Gori (1), Samtredia (1), Torpedo Kutaisi (1), Saburtalo (1)

Kosovo - Prishtina (4), Feronikeli (3), Besa (2), Drita (2), Trepca (1), Hysi (1), Vushtrria (1), Trepca 89 (1)

Republic of Ireland - Dundalk (5), Shamrock Rovers (3), Bohemians (2), Shelbourne (1), Drogheda United (1), Sligo Rovers (1), St Patrick's Athletic (1), Cork City (1)

Sweden - Malmo (6), Elfsborg (2), AIK (2), Goteborg (1), Kalmar (1), Helsingborg (1), Norrkoping (1), Djurgarden (1)

Conclusions

The most competitive of Europe's top five leagues over the last 15 seasons is Ligue 1 in France. Despite Paris Saint-Germain's dominance in recent years, seven different clubs have held the trophy aloft during the period in question.

The second most competitive from that elite group is England's Premier League, where there have been five different champions and none with more than five titles to their name.

Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jr, Angel Di Maria
PSG has been surprisingly competitive over the last 15 years | Xavier Laine/Getty Images

The least competitive of Europe's top five leagues are Serie A and La Liga. Each has had only three different champions over the last 15 seasons. Meanwhile, there have been four Bundesliga winners.

The least competitive domestic league in all of Europa is the Prva HNL in Croatia. Dinamo Zagreb have won 14 of the last 15 titles on offer, with no other country so dominated by a single club.

The single most competitive domestic league in the continent belongs to Kosovo, where there have been eight different national champions and no club winning more than four titles during the time frame. The Republic of Ireland's top flight also runs the Balkan nation close.

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