Football is capable of producing some unimaginable surprises. Record-breaking transfers, unexpected comebacks, infamous feuds and big game upsets all deliver overwhelming experiences to fans. Watching an underdog team upset the odds and go all the way to claim historic triumphs seems to be even more intriguing.
Over the years, football has witnessed a number of dark horse teams. Teams that appeared to have no chance on paper but ended up turning the tide and going all the way to make history. With their incredible exploits, these groups proved you don't need to have the best players or the best reputation to succeed in the beautiful game.
Whether at club or international level, you'll definitely find a number of case studies that will leave you dumbfounded. That said, let's take a look at five of the most unlikeliest triumphs in football history.
#5 Deportivo La Coruna (La Liga 1999-2000)
In a league where you have Barcelona and Real Madrid, you always know other clubs have very little to no chance of coming out on top. Atletico Madrid managed to upset the odds last season but their success isn't as astonishing as the one Deportivo recorded in the 1999-2000 campaign.
With players like Pauleta, Emerson and Joan Capdevilla firing on all cylinders, the Herculeans rose from nowhere to make history in La Liga. They managed to outpace Barcelona and Real Madrid to win their one and only league title.
Deportivo have been more of a second-tier team with just cameo appearances in the Spanish top flight over the last few seasons. But they will be proud to pull off one of the most shocking upsets in Spanish football history.
#4 Chelsea (Champions League 2011-2012)
No one expected Chelsea to win their maiden Champions League crown in 2012. The Blues endured a very difficult outing at domestic level, finding it difficult to nail a top-four spot in the Premier League table.
Their European campaign wasn't going well either. They suffered a 3-1 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 clash with Napoli, prompting the sacking of then manager Andre Villas Boas. The tactician was replaced by Roberto Di Matteo on an interim basis. Then came the magic.
Chelsea managed to overturn their 3-1 deficit against Napoli by beating the Italians 4-0 at Stamford Bridge. They beat Benfica in the quarterfinals before doing the unthinkable by slaying the mighty Barcelona in the semis. Chelsea overcame another gigantic hurdle in the final, defeating a rampant Bayern Munich side in a shootout to win their first ever Champions League trophy.