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9 Longest Winless Streaks In Football History (Ranked)

Written by on May 13, 2024

Highlights

  • Almeria ended a 28-game winless streak in La Liga in February 2024, but it wasn’t enough to save them from relegation.
  • Derby County’s 32 games without a win in the Premier League remains the longest in English football.
  • Norwich City and Hellas Verona, each with 24+ games without wins, faced relegation woes amid turbulent seasons.



La Liga side Almeria ended their winless streak in February after they beat Las Palmas, ending what was an extraordinary run of defeats for the Spanish side. The streak had reached 28 games but they did win their 29th game. Despite this, the La Liga side were relegated from Spain’s top division.

On the other end of the footballing spectrum are Bayer Leverkusen, who are just a couple of games away from completing the impossible. After they secured the Bundesliga title with a 5-0 win over Werder Bremen, thanks to a brilliant hat-trick from Florian Wirtz, the German side is closing in on a historic unbeaten season. Xabi Alonso has done a superb job at the German side and is set to remain at the club for next season. The German side may be closing in on a historic unbeaten season, but these nine football sides have had seasons, sometimes years, to forget. We will detail the 10 longest winless streaks in football.


Ranking

Team Name

Games without a win

1

San Marino

137

2

Derby County

32

3

Ancona

28

4

Almeria

28

5

Perugia

27

6

Hellas Verona

24

7

Kaiserslautern

21

8

Schalke

21

9

Norwich City

20



8 Norwich City – 20 Games

In ninth place on our list is Norwich City, who split their winless run across two periods in the Premier League. The Canaries have been described as a ‘yo-yo’ club due to the regularity in which they were promoted to England’s top division before inevitably being relegated in the following season.

In 2019/20 and 2021/22, the Canaries were under the management of Daniel Farke, who is now managing Leeds United, with a chance for the Yorkshire side to make it back to the Premier League after one season out of the big-time. Norwich’s 20 games without a win began in the 2019/20 season with the Canaries failing to win 10 games towards the end of the COVID-19 campaign.


This poor form carried on into their next campaign in the Premier League, with the East-Anglian side suffering some heavy defeats at the start of the season, with a 7-0 defeat to Chelsea particularly a low point. Norwich began the 2021/22 season without a win in 10 league games before back-to-back victories against Thomas Frank’s Brentford and Southampton at Carrow Road. There is a chance that Norwich could be back in the Premier League as they currently sit sixth in the Championship with a chance of promotion through the play-offs.

7 Schalke & FC Kaiserslauten – 21 Games

Arena AufSchalke


Coming in at joint eighth place, we have two Bundesliga sides who had campaigns to forget in Germany’s top division. FC Kaiserslautern had a torrid time of things back in the 2011/2012 season. Borussia Dortmund under Jürgen Klopp had won the title but on the other side of the table sat Die roten Teufal, who sat rock bottom of the table with just four wins to their name in 34 league games.

The Bundesliga side incredibly went 21 games without a win during the 2011/12 season. They eventually ended this losing run to Hertha Berlin in April, but it was a season to forget for Kaiserslautern as they were relegated to the second tier of German football.

Another side who went 21 games without a win is FC Schalke, who had reached a Champions League semi-final during the 2010/2011 season before losing to Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United over two legs. Nearly a decade on from that remarkable achievement, the Bundesliga giants found themselves bottom of the table.


Similar to FC Kaiserslautern, the German side went 21 games without a win, which began at the end of the 2019/20 season and continued into the 2020/21 season. Current Norwich City manager David Wagner was in charge of the German side before being replaced at the end of September. The winless run did eventually end on the 9th of January as Schalke beat TSG Hoffenheim 4-0. The victory over Hoffenheim was one of just three wins that they completed throughout the season, with victories over FC Augsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt not enough to keep them up.

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6 Hellas Verona – 24 Games

In sixth place on our list is Hellas Verona, who went 24 games without a victory, which, similar to Norwich, was across two seasons in Serie A. During the end of the 2014/15 season, the Italian side finished 13th in the Italian league and were safe from relegation but failed to win any of their final two games and this seemed to be a precursor to how they would perform in the following campaign.


During the 2015/16 campaign, Verona failed to win any of their opening 22 games in Serie A. Verona did have 11 draws during their winless run but did eventually break the duct with a 2-1 victory over Atalanta. Gialloblu, which is the club’s nickname based on their jersey with yellow and blue stripes, were relegated from Italy’s top division with just five wins throughout the season and a staggering 13 draws.

5 Perugia – 27 Games

Another former top Italian side are next on our list, with Perugia failing to record a victory in 27 games. Similar to Norwich and Hellas Verona, AC Perugia failed to record a victory across two seasons. Towards the end of the 2002/03 campaign, with Perugia already safe from relegation, the Italian side failed to win any of their final five games in the division and, similar to Verona, this carried on into the following season.


In what was a bizarre and chaotic campaign for Perugia, with president Luciano Gaucci accusing officials of conspiring to try and get his side relegated to Serie B. Perugia did qualify for the relegation play-offs, but they failed to get over the line across two legs against Fiorentina and were relegated to the second tier of Italian football. They failed to win any of the opening 22 games before finally recording a 2-1 victory away to Reggina and a further four victories after that, but failed to remain in the division.

4 Almeria – 28 Games


Next on our list is one from the 2023/24 season, with La Liga side UD Almeria having a torrid time of things in Spain’s top division. During the previous campaign, Almeria survived in La Liga by the skin of their teeth as they finished just one point clear of the relegation places, which saw Real Valladolid and Espanyol relegated from the top tier of Spanish football. Despite the escape for Almeria, things have not improved.

As of May 2024, Almeria sit rock bottom of La Liga with just two victories to their name in the league after they beat Las Palmas 1-0 at home and Rayo Vallecano away. As of the 10th of May 2024, They have scored 33 goals but conceded 67, which is the most in the division. Unlike other teams who have finished rock bottom, Almeria have scored goals, but it’s keeping them out at the other end which has cost them dearly. They are 15 points away from safety with just four games to go. Relegation has already been confirmed for the La Liga side.


3 Ancona – 28 Games

Another Italian side makes the list and that is Ancona, who were relegated during the same season that Perugia were relegated to the second tier, Serie B. Ancona recorded a measly two victories throughout the campaign and failed to record a victory from September to April. In that run, they lost 21 games and drew seven of these and there was little surprise once their relegation was confirmed.

Christian Bucchi was the club’s top goalscorer that season with just five goals to his name throughout the campaign. Despite having a player called Baggio in their team, scoring goals was a big problem as they netted just 21 goals in 34 games and conceded a further 70 goals.


2 Derby County – 32 Games

Robbie Savage playing for Derby County.

If we are talking about winless runs, it’s hard to move past the Derby County side from the 2007/08 season. After being promoted to the Premier League in the season prior, this was an infamously terrible season for the Rams as they finished rock bottom of the division with just 11 points to their name.

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Under the manager, Billy Davies, who admitted to The Derbyshire Telegraph that they weren’t ready for promotion, they won just one game throughout the season with 8 draws in what was a terrible campaign for the East Midlands club. The Rams have not been back in the Premier League since but did go close in the 2018/19 season under Frank Lampard, but they lost in the play-off final to Aston Villa.


1 San Marino – 137 Games

San Marino equalise against Denmark in a European Championship qualifier.

Coming at the top of our list is an international team in San Marino. The international team last recorded a victory against Liechtenstein back in 2004 and have failed to win a game ever since. Since that victory, they have only been ahead in a game for six minutes, against Malta in 2012.

There have been 137 games that have passed San Marino without a single win to their name, but in recent months it has begun to look more and more likely that they may end the terrible run. A San Marino fan on social media platform X follows them home and away detailing their escapades. San Marino has a population of just 35,000, so it is hardly surprising to see them struggle to produce top-class footballers to try and compete. San Marino are ranked 210th in the world and the hope is they can end the winless streak sooner rather than later.


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