Longest Unbeaten Runs

Top 10 Longest Unbeaten Runs in Football History

Maintaining an unbeaten streak in top-tier football is a monumental achievement, showcasing a team’s resilience and determination. Arsenal’s legendary unbeaten run stands out as a testament to their exceptional skill and fortitude, being the only club to complete an entire Premier League season without a loss.

However, the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) has compiled a comprehensive list of the longest unbeaten streaks in national leagues worldwide since the 21st century began. Surprisingly, Arsenal’s streak ranks at 32nd place among these impressive records.

Currently, Bayer Leverkusen, under the leadership of Xabi Alonso, is making waves in German football, surpassing Bayern Munich’s historic unbeaten streak of 32 games.

Their remarkable feat of remaining undefeated for 50 consecutive matches across all competitions is a testament to their prowess and dominance on the field. This begs the question: what other unbeaten runs exist in the 21st century?

1. Lincoln Red Imps (Gibraltar): 88 games

Longest Unbeaten Run
Lincoln Red Imps (Credits: Getty)

Just think about going five whole years without experiencing a single defeat in the league – it’s mind-boggling. According to the BBC, Lincoln’s incredible streak of 1,959 days without a loss, achieved while winning the Gibraltar Premier Division 14 times consecutively, stands as Europe’s longest chronological unbeaten run in the league.

Yet, even their astonishing accomplishment is overshadowed by the all-time European record confirmed by UEFA: Steaua Bucharest’s unbelievable 104-game undefeated streak in the league from 1986 to 1989. However, it’s worth noting that the Red Imps hold the record for the 21st century.

2. Al Ahly (Egypt): 71 games

Longest Unbeaten Run
Egypt’s Al-Ahly (Credits: Getty)

Al Ahly, the powerhouse of Egyptian football, makes its second appearance on the list, although they fall 17 games short of the top spot. With a history of securing well over 100 trophies, they have faced little domestic competition over the years. Their remarkable 71-game unbeaten streak spanned three different years, starting in 2004 and continuing until 2007.

3. Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldova): 63 games

Longest Unbeaten Run
Sheriff Tiraspol celebrate (Credits: Getty)

In the 2000s, Sheriff Tiraspol dominated the Moldovan football scene, clinching 10 consecutive league titles. Among their remarkable achievements was an unbeaten run throughout the entire 2006/07 season with Leonid Kuchuk at the helm. This remarkable feat set them apart, as few clubs worldwide can claim such a streak. However, their streak came to an end in 2008 when Zibmru handed them their first defeat.

4. Levadia (Estonia): 61 games

Longest Unbeaten Run
Armenia’s Levadia (Credits: Getty)

Levadia became the first team to surpass the remarkable 60-game milestone. While Estonia may not boast many formidable sides, Levadia’s achievement is noteworthy nonetheless, echoing the experiences of several teams and leagues featured on this list.

Under the leadership of Igor Prins, Levadia embarked on an impressive run between 2008 and 2009. Remarkably, they suffered their first defeat of the season in the penultimate game, narrowly missing out on what could have been an almost flawless campaign.

5. Al-Hilal Omdurman (Sudan): 60 games

Longest Unbeaten Run
Al-Hilal Omdurman (Credits: Getty)

Al-Hilal Omdurman holds the remarkable distinction of boasting the longest undefeated run among all African sides in the 21st century. Their Sudan-based team achieved an impressive 60-match unbeaten streak in their domestic league in 2018, marking a period of unparalleled dominance that commenced in 2016 and lasted for two years.

This marks their second appearance on the list, following their previous 57-game stretch a few years earlier. Not only that, only four clubs across the world have achieved a longer unbeaten run, which underscores their achievement.

6. Pyunik (Armenia): 59 games

Longest Unbeaten Run
Pyunik (Credits: Getty)

Shirak originally set Armenia’s record for the longest unbeaten run from 1993 to 1995. While the club had the same number of undefeated games as Pyunik, it doesn’t make it to the rankings here because this period of success occurred before 2000.

Pyunik, on the other hand, had a remarkable run in the early 2000s under the guidance of three different managers: Oscar Lopez, Mihai Stoichita, and Vardan Minasyan, each contributing to the team’s success. Despite not being a well-known European side, Pyunik has participated in European competitions several times over the years.

7. Porto (Portugal) and Vita Club (DR Congo): 58 games

In 2012, Porto established a new record with an impressive unbeaten streak of 55 games. A decade later, the Portuguese powerhouse surpassed that achievement by going undefeated for 58 league matches before experiencing defeat once more. For fans of the club, the concept of losing may have become distant by that point.

Longest Unbeaten Run
Porto in 2012 (Credits: Getty)

Similarly, Vita Club of DR Congo enjoyed an unbeaten run of 58 successive league matches, yet they remain relatively unknown to many European football enthusiasts. Surprisingly, Vita Club is not the highest-ranked African side on the list of unbeaten streaks.

8. Al Hilal Omdurman (Sudan), Crvena Zvezda (Serbia) and Primeiro Agosto (Angola): 57 games

Longest Unbeaten Run
Crvena Zvezda (Credits: Getty)

Crvena Zvezda, commonly referred to as Red Star Belgrade, is renowned for its formidable home atmosphere, making it a daunting venue for visiting teams, including top Champions League contenders. The intimidating ambiance at their stadium may have played a pivotal role in their impressive unbeaten streak, a feat shared with Al-Hilal Omdurman and Primeiro Agosto.

9. Celtic (Scotland): 56 games

Celtic, under the management of former Liverpool and Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers, achieved an unprecedented level of success, securing nearly every trophy available during his tenure. Rodgers orchestrated a remarkable 56-game unbeaten streak, establishing Celtic’s dominance in Scottish football.

Longest Unbeaten Run
Celtic FC (Credits: Getty)

Spearheaded by several outstanding performances, Celtic dominated their domestic rivals en route to clinching nine consecutive league titles. However, despite their domestic triumphs, Celtic struggled to replicate their success on the European stage.

10. Porto (Portugal) and Real Esteli (Nicaragua): 55 games

Longest Unbeaten Run
Nicaragua’s Real Esteli (Credits: Getty)

From 2010 onwards, Andre Villas-Boas’ tenure as Porto manager witnessed the Portuguese club maintain an unbeaten record in the league. Players like Hulk, Joao Moutinho, and a young James Rodriguez showcased their brilliance for the Liga Portuguesa team during this period.

Porto’s success extended beyond domestic competitions, as they clinched the UEFA Europa League title in 2011, underscoring their remarkable performance on the European stage. Alongside them, Real Esteli from Nicaragua also achieved a 55-game unbeaten run, demonstrating their prowess in their respective league.

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