5 most surprising clubs in Europe this season
As we gradually reach the end of the 2018/2019 European club football season, clubs are making last-ditch efforts to fulfil their season objectives.
These objectives come in different forms to different clubs, as some seek winning of trophies, while others attempt to consolidate on their European places and yet others battle to avoid relegation.
There are different cadres of clubs on the football hierarchy, and as such, the bigger clubs are always expected to perform creditably better than the rest.
However, almost every other season, some unheralded clubs manage to disrupt the status quo, refusing to conform to the established order and generally punching above their weight, with Leicester's surprise Premier League triumph in 2016 perhaps being the most pristine example of this.
This campaign has been no different, as the 2018/2019 European footballing season has served up its own fair share of surprise packages. In this piece, we shall be taking a rundown of the five most surprising clubs in Europe this season.
#5 Lille (Ligue 1)
We kick off the list with French Ligue 1 side OSC Lille who currently find themselves in the second spot on the league table.
This is made more impressive by the fact that they were involved in a relegation scrap last season which saw them finish in 17th spot and survive the drop by just a single point.
Their charge at the top of the table has been spearheaded by the impressive performance of Nicolas Pepe who has scored 18 goals and registered nine assists from 30 league appearances and it is little surprise that the 23-year-old Ivorian international is being linked with a high profile transfer to a major European club.
Under Christophe Galtier, Lille have earned widespread plaudits for their broad, attractive style of play, coupled with a mean defence which gives away little and results on the field have matched their displays.
Between January and February, the club went on an impressive five-match consecutive winning run in Ligue 1 to all but guarantee that Champions League football would return to Stade Pierre-Mauroy next season.