Cup Winners' Cup Trivia

  • Non-Cup Winning Finalists of the CWC
  • The CWC Jinx
  • Most Participations
  • Consecutive Participations
  • Domestically Worst Winners
  • Domestically Best Winners
  • Domestic Ties
  • Beating the Holders
  • Absorbed by the UEFA Cup
  • Lower Level Teams in the CWC (link to different file)
  • Some Players' Records (link to different file)
  • CWC Records

  • European Cups (all tournaments) Trivia | Champions' Cup/Champions League Trivia | Fairs' Cup Trivia | UEFA Cup/Europa League Trivia

    Non-Cup Winning Finalists of the CWC

    The so-called Cup Winners' Cup was not contested by Cup Winners only. In fact, the Cup Winners' Cup was several times won by a team that hadn't won its domestic cup (or the Cup Winners' Cup) the previous season! This happened five times, and five more such teams reached the CWC final.

    The best "non-Cup winners" in the European Cup Winners' Cup:


    No fewer than five teams have won the Cup Winners' Cup in spite of not being domestic cup holders at the time.

    Fiorentina won the inaugural edition of the "Cup Winners' Cup" in 1960/61 in spite of having lost the Italian Cup Final in 1960 to double winners Juventus.

    Rangers were the second team to achieve this, winning the 1971/72 edition after having lost the 1970/71 Scottish Cup Final to champions Celtic after a replay.

    Likewise, Anderlecht won the 1977/78 edition of the "Cup Winners' Cup" for which they qualified by virtue of losing the Belgian Cup Final in 1977 to champions FC Brugge. That was, by the way, the third time in succession that Anderlecht made the final of the CWC: they also won it in 1976, and in 1977 they fell to the CWC Jinx.

    Then, Dynamo Tbilisi won the 1980/81 edition although they had lost the Soviet Union Cup Final of 1979/80 to Shakhter Donetsk. The reason here: the final was played after the deadline UEFA had set for registration; since both clubs were eligible for the UEFA Cup (based on the final table of the 1979 season, in which Shakhter had come 2nd and Dynamo Tbilisi 4th), they were simply "distributed" over the two cups before the final had been played; in the end, the final result (Shakhter 2-1 Dynamo) belied that distribution.

    Finally, Barcelona won the 1996/97 edition after losing the 1996 Copa del Rey against Atlético de Madrid, who accomplished a doblete that season.


    In the 1962/63 season, no Cup was played in Hungary, as indeed in the 4 seasons before. The UEFA accepted MTK as Hungarian entrants in the CWC; they had finished second in the league behind Ferencváros. In the 1963/64 CWC final, it took Sporting of Lisbon a replay to prevent the Cup going to Budapest.

    In 1966/67, Bayern München won both the CWC and the DFB-Pokal of West Germany. Since they had qualified for the CWC 1967/68 by winning it, the UEFA also accepted the entry of the losing finalists of the German Cup, Hamburger SV. It took Milan to eliminate both German participants, Bayern in the semi and HSV in the final.

    In 1978/79 another German non-Cup winner reached the final of the CWC: Fortuna Düsseldorf had lost the 1978 German Cup final to 1.FC Köln, who also won the Bundesliga. Fortuna couldn't be stopped until the final, and Barcelona needed extra time to prevent them from taking the European trophy.

    FC Porto reached the 1983/84 CWC final after losing the 1983 final of the Portuguese Cup to double winners SL Benfica. In the 1983/84 CWC, they only succumbed to the Juventus of Platini, Scirea, Boniek and Rossi, after outplaying them for a good part of the final.

    In 1998/99, RCD Mallorca joined the club after losing the 1998 Spanish Cup final to champions Barcelona; in the last CWC final, they fell 1-2 to Lazio.

    Third in the Domestic Cup

    As a last curiosity, SC Heerenveen played in the 1998/99 CWC despite not even having qualified for the Dutch Cup final 1998 - that was contested by Ajax and PSV, who both qualified for the 1998/99 Champions' Cup. The two losing semifinalists played an additional "third place playoff" for the right to enter the CWC; Heerenveen beat FC Twente and reached the second round of the CWC, losing to Varteks Varazdin.

    In the 1998/99 season, there were two such playoffs between losing semifinalists for a place in the UEFA Cup 1999/2000: Bologna beat Internazionale for the third place in the Italian Cup 1998/99, and Ankaragücü beat Sakaryaspor for the third place in the Turkish Cup 1998/99. While Ankaragücü fell to Atlético de Madrid in the first round, Bologna beat Zenit Sankt-Peterburg and Anderlecht before losing to eventual winners Galatasaray in the third round.

    The CWC Jinx

    No club ever managed to defend the Cup Winners' Cup, although the holders reached the next final on no fewer than 8 occasions - and the teams that failed include some of the most prestigious of the continent, as the following list shows:

    Fiorentina:       winners in 1960/61, lost 1961/62 final to Atlético Madrid;
    Atlético Madrid:  winners in 1961/62, lost 1962/63 final to Tottenham Hotspur;
    Milan:            winners in 1972/73, lost 1973/74 final to 1.FC Magdeburg;
    Anderlecht:       winners in 1975/76, lost 1976/77 final to Hamburger SV;
    Ajax:             winners in 1986/87, lost 1987/88 final to KV Mechelen;
    Parma:            winners in 1992/93, lost 1993/94 final to Arsenal;
    Arsenal:          winners in 1993/94, lost 1994/95 final to Real Zaragoza;
    Paris St-Germain: winners in 1995/96, lost 1996/97 final to Barcelona.
    Since the CWC was discontinued after the 1998/99 edition, the jinx will never be broken. In fact, for more than a quarter of a century it seemed to have been transferred to the Champions League, where both Ajax and Milan again fell victim to it before Real Madrid broke it in 2017.

    Most Participations

    Below we list all clubs to have entered the Cup Winners' Cup (including qualifiers) on at least 8 occasions.
    Note that seasons in which a club withdrew before playing a single match (such as a number of Eastern European clubs in 1968/69) are not included.

    14 Cardiff City
    13 Barcelona
    11 Levski Sofia (Levski-Spartak, Vitosha)
       Steaua Bucuresti
    10 APOEL (Lefkosia)
       Rapid Wien
       Union (Luxembourg)
     9 Atlético Madrid
       Dinamo Zagreb
       Legia Warszawa
       Olympiakos (Piraeus)
       Sliema Wanderers
     8 Aberdeen
       Austria Wien
       Fram (Reykjavík)
       Hajduk Split
       FC Porto
       FC Sion
       Sporting (Lisboa)

    See also the section on consecutive participations.

    Consecutive Participations

    The Cup Winners' Cup rarely saw teams qualifying more than three times in a row. Below all such occurrences:

     5 Cardiff City (1967/68-1971/72) 
       Reipas Lahti (1973/74-1977/78)
     4 Shamrock Rovers (1966/67-1969/70)
       Anderlecht (1975/76-1978/79)
       Barcelona (1981/82-1984/85)
       Dinamo Bucuresti (1986/87-1989/90)
       Dinamo Batumi (1995/96-1998/99)
     3 Olympiakos Piraeus (1961/62-1963/64)     [withdrew from 1962/63 competition]
       Dynamo Zagreb (1963/64-1965/66)
       Galatasaray (1965/65-1966/67)
       Floriana (1965/66-1967/68)
       Standard Liège (1965/66-1967/68)
       Raba ETO Györ (1966/67-1968/69)
       Levski-Spartak Sofia (1967/68-1969/70)
       Górnik Zabrze (1968/69-1970/71)
       Steaua Bucuresti (1969/70-1971/72)
       Sporting (Lisboa) (1971/72-1973/74)
       PAOK (Thessaloniki) (1972/73-1974/75)
       Fortuna Düsseldorf (1978/79-1980/81)
       Swansea City (1981/82-1983/84)
       Rapid (Wien) (1984/85-1986/87)
       Glentoran (1985/86-1987/88)
       Barcelona (1988/89-1990/91)
       Sampdoria (1988/89-1990/91)
       Valur (Reykjavík) (1991/92-1993/94)
       Zalgiris (Vilnius) (1993/94-1995/96)
       AEK (Athinai) (1995/96-1997/98)
       Lokomotiv Moskva (1996/97-1998/99)
    Dinamo Batumi and Lokomotiv Moskva had their series cut off because of the discontinuation of the CWC in 1999, but would not have qualified for the 1999/2000 CWC anyway.

    Domestically Worst Winners

    The worst finish a Cup Winners' Cup winner ever achieved in their domestic league in their winning season was 10th, by Manchester City in 1969/70:

    English First Division 1969/70
          10.Manchester City    42 16 11 15  55-48 43

    In the same season, Arsenal set the corresponding record for the Fairs' Cup.

    The second-worst finish, and the only one with a record under 50%, is that of Werder Bremen in 1991/92:

    German 1.Bundesliga 1991/92
           9.Werder Bremen      38 11 16 11  44-45 38

    West Ham United also finished 9th in the English league in 1964/65 with as record:

    English First Division 1964/65
           9.West Ham United    42 19  4 19  82-71 42

    Domestically Best Winners

    Only 5 clubs have won the Cup Winners' Cup in the same season as their domestic league: Dynamo Kiev did so on both occasions (winning the spring/fall Soviet Union leagues of 1974, 1975, 1985 and 1986 to go with their Cup Winners' Cups of 1974/75 and 1985/86), and Milan (1967/68), 1.FC Magdeburg (1973/74), Juventus (1983/84) and Everton (1984/85) all did so once.

    Domestic Ties

    If the winner of the Cup Winners' Cup didn't win its domestic league, the country in question usually got two representatives in the CWC, and this occasionally led to meeting between clubs from the same country.

    All "domestic ties" in the Cup Winners' Cup:

    1963/64 England       Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United [2nd round, 2-0 and 1-4]
    1970/71 England       Chelsea v Manchester City [semif., 1-0 and 1-0]
    1979/80 Spain         Barcelona v Valencia [quarterf., 0-1 and 3-4]
    1988/89 Belgium       KV Mechelen v Anderlecht [2nd round, 1-0 and 2-0]
    1992/93 Germany       Werder Bremen v Hannover 96 [1st round, 3-1 and 1-2]
    1995/96 Spain         Deportivo La Coruña v Zaragoza [quarterf., 1-0 and 1-1]
    overview domestic ties in Europe

    Beating the Holders

    Only 3 clubs managed to eliminate the holders from the Cup Winners' Cup on more than one occasion. Barcelona won the Cup themselves on both occasions. Two more clubs eliminated the Cup Winners' Cup holders from European competition on 2 occasions.

    All clubs to eliminate the defending champions more than once (seasons in which they won themselves in bold):

     2 Anderlecht           (1977/78, 1989/90)     
       Atlético de Madrid   (1961/62, 1991/92)
       Barcelona            (1978/79, 1996/97)
    In addition FC Porto and Valencia each eliminated the CWC holders once from the Cup Winners' Cup and once from the Champions' Cup.
       FC Porto             (1983/84, 1986/87)
       Valencia             (1979/80, 1999/00)

    Most successful countries against the holders (within the CWC itself):

       Spain         8 eliminations (Atlético 2, Barcelona 2, Deportivo 1, Mallorca 1,
                                     Valencia 1, Zaragoza 1)
       Belgium       4              (Anderlecht 2, KV Mechelen 1, Standard 1)
       England       4              (Arsenal 1, Chelsea 1, Manchester United 1,
                                     Tottenham Hotspur 1)
       Italy         3              (Lazio 1, Milan 1, Sampdoria 1)
       East Germany  2              (Carl Zeiss Jena 1, 1.FC Magdeburg 1)
       West Germany  2              (Borussia Dortmund 1, Hamburger SV 1)

    The English league can claim a fifth case thanks to Cardiff City.

    No other country boasts more than one such elimination.

    Absorbed by the UEFA Cup

    Starting with the 1999/00 season, domestic cup winners (or losing cup finalists if the winners enter the Champions League) enter the (qualifying rounds of the) UEFA Cup. For related trivia, see the file on the UEFA Cup. One noteworthy item to include in this file as well is the fact that on four occasions, the two last remaining clubs to have entered the UEFA Cup (later Europa League) through their domestic cup competitions ("CWC entrants") met in the final stages of the tournament (twice in the fourth round (1/8 finals), once in the quarterfinals, and once in the semifinals), and thus contested a Cup Winners' Cup final aprčs le lettre:

    2004/05 Rd 4 Austria Wien        1-1 2-2 Real Zaragoza
    2013/14 Rd 4 AZ (Alkmaar)        1-0 0-0 Anzhi Machachkala
    2014/15 QF   Dynamo Kyiv         1-1 0-2 Fiorentina
    2018/19 SF   Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 1-1 Chelsea             [aet, 3-4 pen]

    CWC Records

    Highest win in one leg:

    1963/64, 2nd round: Sporting CP (Lisbon) 16-1 APOEL Nicosia
    (record for all European Cups)

    Highest aggregate win:

    1971/72, 1st round: Jeunesse Hautcharage 0-8 Chelsea
                        Chelsea 13-0 Jeunesse Hautcharage
                 Chelsea win 21-0 on aggregate
    (tie for record for all European Cups)

    Most goals in game:

    1963/64, 2nd round: Sporting CP (Lisbon) 16-1 APOEL Nicosia, total 17 goals
    (record for all European Cups)

    Most goals in tie:

    1976/77, 1st round: Levski-Spartak (Sofia) 12-2 Reipas (Lahti)
                        Reipas (Lahti) 1-7 Levski-Spartak (Sofia)
                 Levski-Spartak (Sofia) win 19-3 on aggregate, total 22 goals
    (record for all European Cups)

    Best come-backs:

    1961/62, 1st round: FC La Chaux-de-Fonds 6-2 Leixões (Porto)
                        Leixões (Porto) 5-0 FC La Chaux-de-Fonds
                 Leixões win 7-6 on aggregate
    1984/85, 1st round: FC Metz 2-4 Barcelona
                        Barcelona 1-4 FC Metz [after 1-0 at 33']
                 Metz win 6-5 on aggregate
    1985/86, quarterf.: Dynamo Dresden 2-0 Bayer Uerdingen
                        Bayer Uerdingen 7-3 Dynamo Dresden [after 1-3 halftime]
                 Uerdingen win 7-5 on aggregate

    European Cups (all tournaments) Trivia | Champions' Cup/Champions League Trivia | Fairs' Cup Trivia | UEFA Cup/Europa League Trivia

    About this document

    Prepared and maintained by Karel Stokkermans for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation

    Author: Karel Stokkermans
    Last updated: 17 Sep 2020

    (C) Copyright Karel Stokkermans and RSSSF 1996/2020
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