When we talk about unbeaten runs in Europe, one team always comes to mind, Arsenal FC. Their unbeaten run of 49 matches in 2003 season earned them a gold EPL trophy and the name ‘Invincibles’ until rivals Manchester United ended their unbeaten run.
But there are greater unbeaten runs in club football that most people don’t know about. Here are the top unbeaten runs in European leagues.
Steaua Bucureşti – 106 Matches (1986–89)
The Romanian side set this European record during their mid-1980s golden age under Emeric Jenei and later Anghel Iordănescu. Winners of the 1985/86 European Champion Clubs’ Cup, semi-finalists in 1987/88 and runners-up in 1988/89.
Sheriff – 63 Matches (2006–08)
The Tiraspol-based side utterly dominated Moldovan football in winning ten straight championships between 2001 and 2010. However, they hit some kind of critical mass under Belarusian coach Leonid Kuchuk in 2006/07, becoming the first club to claim the national crown without losing a game. Arch-rivals Zimbru finally ended this famous streak in March 2008, before Sheriff marched onto yet another title regardless.
Celtic – 62 Matches (1915–17)
Under their first manager Willie Maley, Celtic established a United Kingdom record for an unbeaten sequence of 62 matches between November 1915 and April 1917, including two games in a day, played against Raith Rovers and Motherwell.
Levadia Tallinn – 61 Matches (2008–09)
They were sponsored by a local metals firm and the rest of Estonia certainly felt Levadia’s steel under boss Igor Prins, although Trans Narva finally ended their extraordinary sequence in November 2009, on the penultimate day of the season.
Union Saint-Gilloise – 60 Matches (1933–35)
Still known as Union 60 for their run of invincibility, which concluded with a February 1935 defeat by Daring Club de Bruxelles, the side from the Brussels suburbs collected three straight titles during their winning streak.
Shirak – 59 Matches (1993–95)
Pyunik – 59 Matches (2002–04)
Two clubs share Armenia’s national record. “Shirak were a very good team in those days,” recalled Andranik Adamyan, who coached them in their 1990s heyday.
Pyunik were led by three different coaches during their successful run: Oscar López, Mihai Stoichiță and then Vardan Minasyan.
AC Milan – 58 Matches(1991–93)
The Milan side that landed the European Cup in 1989 and 1990 under Arrigo Sacchi were labelled ‘the Immortals’; the vintage that picked up three successive Italian titles under Fabio Capello between 1992 and 1994, as well as the 1993/94 UEFA Champions League, were ‘the Invincibles’. Indeed, the Rossoneri won the 1991/92 Scudetto without losing a game at the heart of this marvellous run.
Olympiacos – 58 Matches (1972–74)
The Piraeus outfit claimed three Greek championships in a row from 1972 to 1975, setting a record with 104 goals in the 1973/74 campaign.
Skonto – 58 Matches (1993–96)
Winning 14 titles in a row. Skonto did not lose a single league match in 1994 and 1995.”
Benfica – 56 Matches (1976–78)
Mortimore’s men went unbeaten from October 1976 until a 1-0 loss at Porto in late August 1978.
Porto – 55 Matches (2010–12)
Manager Jesualdo Ferreira kicked off this stirring run in March 2010 and André Villas-Boas kept it going, through a season when Porto also won the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League. However, Porto finally dropped the baton under Vítor Pereira with a 3-1 reverse at Gil Vicente.
Shakhtar Donetsk – 55 Matches (2000–02)
The Pitmen’s gold rush began with a 2-1 victory against Nyva Ternopil in June 2000 and continued despite the resignation of Coach Viktor Prokopenko. Italian boss Nevio Scala took over. He guided Shakhtar to their first-ever Ukrainian title in 2001/02, though the run ended six matches into the next campaign.