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The holy treble

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With Manchester City thumping defending champions Real Madrid 4-0 (5-1 on aggregate), their dream of completing a treble remains alive. Pep Guardiolaa’s men are already in the final of the FA Cup and are one win away from securing another Premier League title.

For any European club, winning a treble is nothing short of historic. In fact, the most successful years of any club, at least, have one treble win to their name or more. Last year it was Real Madrid who did the treble after winning the La Liga, Champions League and Supercopa de Espana.

Meanwhile, Manchester City’s quest for a treble will start with a home match against underperforming Chelsea before facing Brighton and Brentford on the road. Then on June 3, they will face city rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final before taking on Inter Milan in the Champions League final on June 10.

But who are the other teams that have won the treble that included a European trophy?

Celtic- 1966-67

In the 1966-67 season, Celtic dominated not only the Scottish league but also Europe. The team won the league after finishing just three points above rivals Rangers. They would then win the Scottish League Cup by beating Ranger 1-0 in the final before beating Aberdeen to win the Scottish Cup. However, the Celts were not done yet as they went on a dream run in the European Cups, reaching the final where they would beat firm favourites Inter Milan to win the title. They not only completed the treble but completed a quadruple because of the three domestic tiles.

Ajax- 1971-72 

The team that showed the world the magic of Total Football. Under the brilliant leadership of the legendary Johan Cruyff, the club won three consecutive European Cups between 1971-73. However, it was the 1971-72 season when they were at their best. They lost just one game in the league, even going on a 19-game winning streak. They would add the KNVB Cup to this by winning all their matches. And they would complete the treble by defeating Inter Milan.

Their famous forward line of Cruyff, Piet Keizer, Dick van Dijk, and Sjaak Swart scored a combined 86 goals that season.

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PSV Eindhoven- 1987-88

From one Dutch club to another. 16 years after Ajax’s treble, their Eredivisie rivals PSV Eindhoven would win their own treble. The club won the league with a dominant display which saw them scoring 117 goals, 39 more than the second-best team. They followed up with an equally impressive KNVB Cup campaign, where they defeated Roda JC to win the title.

However, their European Cup win was based on their sturdy defence rather than their flawless attack, which had wreaked havoc in the domestic league. PSV won the quarter-final and semi-final on the away goals rule before beating Benfica in the final on a penalty shootout after a goalless draw.

Manchester United- 1998-99

For the entire 90 minutes of the 1998-99 Champions League final, it appeared as if Manchester United’s dream of winning a treble were over. Then came the injury time when Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored two goals to overturn the tie and beat Bayern Munich to win the Champions League.

United had earlier wrapped up the Premier League title by beating Arsenal by just one point. They would follow this up by beating Newcastle United in the FA Cup final before their miraculous win over Bayern Munich.

Barcelona 2008-09

Perhaps one of the greatest teams ever assembled, the 2008-09 season saw some of the best football ever played in the game’s history. The Catalunya club would script a record never made as they won the treble and ended the year with six trophies, becoming the first team in history to win the sextuple.

The team won the La Liga nine points ahead of rivals Real Madrid before winning the Copa Del Rey. Then they would dismantle Manchester United in the final of the Champions League to complete the treble. However, they were not done yet as they would win the Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup to complete a six-trophy haul.

This was also the start of a new era under Pep Guardiola that saw the rise of Lionel Messi and the famous tiki-taka system.

Inter Milan 2009-10

A season later, it was the turn of Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan to win a treble. Leading a team based on a solid defence with an enigmatic Samuel Eto and Diego Milito as a striker partnership. The Nerazzurri first won the Serie A before winning the Coppa Italia.

However, they would reserve their best for the Champions League, where they would put on a defensive masterclass to eliminate the sextuple-winning Barcelona before beating Bayern Munich to win the treble. Diego Milito ended the season with 30 goals and eight assists to his name.

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Bayern Munich– 2012-13 

After being, on the receiving end of two Champions League losses that got Manchester United and Inter Milan their treble, Bayern Munich would win a treble of their own. In the 2012-13 season, the German club would win the Bundesliga ending the two-year winning streak of rivals Borussia Dortmund. Next came the DFB Pokal, where they defeated Stuttgart to win the title.

Their ruthless best came in the Champions League, where they would put in an impressive show to thrash Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate in the semi-final. Their rivals for the final were Dortmund, making it an all-German affair. Throughout the season, the attacking quartet of Mario Mandzukic, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller were on top form, and two of them (Mandzukic and Robben) got on the scoresheet to help Bayern etch their name in history books.

Barcelona- 2014-15 

Before the start of the 2014-15 season, Barcelona had made their intentions clear by signing Luis Suarez to form a devastating attacking trio of Neymar, Suarez and Messi. And it worked like magic, helping Barcelona win their second treble.

The Catalans first won the La Liga finishing just two points above rivals Real Madrid. Then, they added the Copa del Rey, which they won after a seven-match consecutive winning streak. However, the main aim was always the Champions League, a title that had eluded them for the last three seasons.

And the team didn’t disappoint and won the Champions League. Their path to the title saw them face Manchester City in the round of 16, Paris Saint Germain in the quarter-final, Bayern Munich in the semi-final, and Juventus in the final.

Bayern Munich- 2019-20 

When Barcelona won the sextuple in 2009, it was believed it would take a long time for any other team to match their achievements. However, Bayern Munich had other ideas as they replicated the feat a decade later. In a season hit by Covid-19, Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga by a high margin of 13 points.

They would win the DFB Pokal, too, after beating Bayer Leverkusen. However, what followed in the Champions League was nothing short of impressive. The Bavarians won every match in the season. However, their thumping 8-2 win over Barcelona, the then-current holders of winning a sextuple, shocked everyone. Bayern followed it up with wins over Lyon and PSG in the semi-finals and final, respectively, to win the treble.

The following season they would win DFB Supercup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to become the second team to complete the sextuple.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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