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SBI European Club Top 25


When Xabi Alonso’s game-winner for Liverpool on Sunday went in, it didn’t just move Liverpool into sole possession of first place in the English Premier League. It also catapulted the Reds into the No. 1 spot in the SBI European Club Top 25.

There is little arguing Liverpool’s claim. Going unbeaten in EPL and Champions League play through October is impressive enough, and there is little reason to believe Rafa Benitez’s boys will give up the spot any time soon.

If there is one team that looks better in recent weeks than Liverpool, it is red-hot Barcelona, which is shredding opponents with scary ease. While Barca does have a La Liga loss, Lionel Messi’s boys are also the only team in the Champions League with a perfect 3-0 mark. Also, outscoring their past four opponents 17-2 is enough to take Barcelona seriously again as a multi-cup contender.

The top of the rankings wasn’t the only area shaken up last week. You saw Juventus storm back into the top 25 after beating Real Madrid and Torino last week. You also saw Dynamo Kiev take its rightful place in the rankings after staying unbeaten in Champions League play while continuing to dominate the Ukraine League. You also saw TSG Hoffeinhem manhandle Hamburg to take over first place in the German Bundesliga. Lastly, you saw several teams tumble out of the Top 25, including CFR Cluj, Lazio and Olympiakos.

Here is how this week’s SBI European Club Top 25 shook out:

SBI European Club Top 25

1. LIVERPOOL (7-0-2 league record)

2. BARCELONA (6-1-1)

3. VILLARREAL (5-0-3)

4. CHELSEA (6-1-2 )

5. AC MILAN (5-2-2)

6. REAL MADRID (6-1-1)


8. INTER MILAN (5-1-2)

9. VALENCIA (6-0-2)

10. ARSENAL (6-2-1)

  • 11. Napoli (5-1-2)
  • 12. Udinese (5-1-2)
  • 13. Sevilla (5-1-2)
  • 14. Aston Villa (5-2-2)
  • 15. Juventus (3-2-3)
  • 16. Lyon (6-1-3)
  • 17. Dinamo Kiev (10-1-1)
  • 18. Standard Liege (6-1-2)
  • 19. TSG Hoffenheim (6-2-1)
  • 20. Bordeaux (6-2-3)
  • 21. FK Rubin Kazan (17-3-6)
  • 22. CSKA Moscow (13-4-8)
  • 23. Hull City (6-1-2)
  • 24. Bayern Munich (4-2-3)
  • 25. Fiorentina (5-2-1)

Others Receiving Consideration: Atletico Madrid (3-4-1), Bayer Leverkusen (6-3), Hamburg (5-1-3), Benfica (3-0-3), CFR Cluj (5-3-4), Lazio (4-3-1), Marseille (5-1-4), Sporting Lisbon (3-2-1), NAC Breda (5-1-1), Celtic (8-1-1).

So why did the tumblers tumble? Cluj’s Champions League loss to Bordeaux wasn’t the reason as much as its follow up domestic defeat was. Lazio was the victim of the numbers game as six other Serie A teams made the cut. I wasn’t totally sold on Olympiakos either so its first domestic defeat was enough to send them off the radar screen for now.

I did make one adjustment after posting, which was to move Bayern Munich in and drop Hamburg. Bayern has been very mediocre this year before last week, but the 3-0 Champions League win vs. Fiorentina coupled with recent hot streak moves them in.

I will look to update this same post with some schedule information for the upcoming week and weekend so stay tuned for that.

What do you think of this week’s rankings? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.


  1. Ives I really have to question your judgement here. I think you are just an MLS junkie and you really don’t know anything about european futbol. How can you put Villareal, Barcelona and Real Madrid in front of Valencia! Valencia is first in LA LIGA and you have them 9th on your list! Not to mention that you Milan 5th. That is a joke in itself!

  2. Fair enough. Although it’s my opinion that Hull are better than many (aside from Ives) give them credit for, and I’m sure a few top sides will learn that the hard way. I for one would be shocked to see Arsenal achieve less than a top-4 finish and ECC quarterfinals berth or better. But as always, we’ll have to see how it all shakes out, which is what makes the beautiful game so interesting.

  3. Fenerbahce’s form was NOT what it was last season, Porto is in 4th (narrowly, I know) in a weak league. I think those games, for a highly regarded EPL side, are easy pickings.

    And they have lost to Fulham and Hull.

    I’m not saying they are terrible by any means, only that they very well may be overranked.

    We’ll see, they have surprised me before.

  4. And Mig22, how do you figure Porto and away at Fenerbache (who hadnt lost at home in Europe in 15 matches) are easy? Not only did they win those but dominated, and would’ve done so in Kiev if not for a first-class bit of cheating on Dinamo’s part.

    Besides that, you’ve got to show up for all matches, not just the ones you think will be tough. The gunners underestimated Fulham, which proved their undoing. The Hull defeat was down to poor defending from Gallas (again) and a freak, world-class strike from Geovanni. Bottom line, I’ll be more surprised if Liverpool win the league this year than if Arsenal do.

  5. Ives, how on earth do you have Manchester United ranked so highly? I know that 70% of football supporters here in the US love Man U (coincidentally, they also love riding on bandwagons and running in front), but their form has at no point deserved a place in the top 10. As for Milan, not only have they been off form, they’ve played such dull football they’ve made Mourinho look creative.

    No problem with Hull being in the top 25… I agree that they could even be a little higher up. Dangerous club, as I’m sure many will find out.

  6. Interesting note on Arsenal….their opponents to this point:

    West Brom








    West Ham

    Plus CL

    Dynamo Kiev



    WOW…Who do you need to service to get that kind of season opening schedule. Hull (kind of), Dynamo Kiev, and MAYBE Sunderland would be considered tough games.

    It’s not their fault that they have an easy schedule but I went out on a limb in the preseason and said they would drop out of the top-4, maybe to 6th and I haven’t changed my mind yet.

  7. mikeK – Rubin is also, as of yesterday, the first team to clinch qualification for the 2009-2010 Champions League as they can finish no worse than 2nd in the RPL after Dinamo’s loss to CSKA.

    Winning the Russian League by a comfortable margin is nothing to sneeze at. Nonetheless, Ives seems to be about the only person doing such rankings who even knows who Rubin are!

  8. Al17, Bayern got off to a truly terrible start to its year, there is no denying that. I had Bayern as a pre-season Top 10 team so it’s not like I don’t rate them. They just started so poorly I had to drop them. They are working their way back now and will climb the rankings as results dictate, just as Hull’s ranking will disappear if and when it struggles in the deep water of the EPL.

    As for Anorthosis Famagusta, are you serious? I would put up Hull City’s EPL schedule as more difficult than Anorthosis’ combined domestic and Champions League schedule. Beating Panathanaikos and tying Werder Bremen isn’t enough to offset playing in a very, very weak league.

  9. Huricano, Barcelona is ahead of Real Madrid because A) they’ve looked better in La Liga, B) they’ve looked better in the Champions League, and perhaps most importantly C) they improved their club with more quality signings than Real Madrid did.

    Madrid being defending champions hardly matters two months into a new season. You don’t get bonus points for being holders. I see Barcelona as being the stronger and more impressive team right now. When Real Madrid or Barcelona proves me wrong I will change my mind.

  10. Ives,

    this is the first time I’ve actually looked at your ratings. I tend to avoid looking at ratings from all sites since I tend not to agree with the criteria – assuming they’ve explained it all, they’re using to come to those conclusions. Your site is the exception to that rule it’s why went bonkers when I saw Bayern’s lack of a ranking. I still disagree with where you currently have them but at least you can argue your point clearly. Here’s a very strong argument to Hull City’s ranking. It’s Anorthosis Famagusta FC. You know the team from Cyprus sitting in 2nd place in their Champion’s League group. Why aren’t they ranked? Based on current form they damn well should at least be mentioned. More so since they come from a true minnow league.

  11. Tom: You just read a bunch of strangers response to Ives’ blog; if they need to get a life, you do as well. Ives posted the ranking for discussion. If you don’t want to see the discussion, then don’t read it.

  12. Some of you people need to get a life. Hull gets thrown a bone and ranked at the bottom of the Top 25 and everyone cries about it? Celtic gets mentioned in the fine print and a Rangers fan emerges to cry about it. Grow up people.

  13. This is a great distraction from studying gross anatomy and medical physiology…thanks Ives.

    And on that, I’m going to defend Ives on the Hull decision. His rankings are on current form, which is the only fair way to do it, and Hull is tied for second place in the best league in the world. I doubt Ives thinks that Hull is in the top 25 talented teams in the world, and in fact, I’m going to guess that he probably wouldn’t put them in the top 50 of that ranking, but right now they are playing well, and in fact, over the last 6 games have posted a 5-0-1 record with a win away at Arsenal, and +7 goal differential. That’s pretty excellent. My gut reaction to Ive’s putting them on his list last week was, “seriously,” but when I considered his argument I came to agree with him.

    And on that note, I must be done with this website for a few hours. Thanks for the distraction again Ives.

  14. Rangers aren’t listed cuz they’re shite.

    Celtic and Rangers are even on points in the SPL. Celtic is in the CL. Rangers, are they even in the UEFA cup anymore?

  15. also, i think its clear that fk ruben kazan, having 10 more wins than any other team out there, is obviously the best team in europe.

  16. too bad for chelsea and manU they have to get through hull city next.

    beckster…i think you fail to realize the fact that alhtough some people with suits claim hull will finish mid table, people who had probably never seen a Hull game untill this year. 10/10 of the people who really know hull, their fans, understand that now the big 4 is joined not by the likes of robinho and city, but by king and the tigers.

  17. All you Hull haters will be eating your words when they host Werder Bremen Humberside in the Champions League group stage next year.

  18. I love watching Hull, just like I did Reading their first year in the EPL but it is just plain goofy to rate them in the top 25. They have had a run of good form but they don’t play Europe and most experts expect them to finish no better than mid-table. I think Aston villa makes more sense given the fact they have European cup play success and their strong play. The problem with just going on record is that you over rate and under rate just like the MLS ratings. For example, DC United never deserved to be first, they never deserved to be last yet they were ranked that way several times…never that good, never that bad…some judgement needs to be exercised!

  19. And again this week, I mourn the fact that there isn’t a Dutch team even worth considering this year. Sad state of club affairs in Holland.

  20. Sure Valencia are 1st, but they’ve got 4 teams within 3 points. Plus, who’s their biggest scalp, Malaga domestically, or Maritimo in the UEFA Cup? 9th sounds right (with 4 La Liga-ites in the top 10), but I can’t wait until they start playing each other.

  21. Ives: Why is Celtic receiving consideration but Rangers not? Rangers is 7-1-1 and beat Celtic 4-2 at Celtic Park. And while Rangers is out of the Champions League, Celtic isn’t doing much better. 1 tie and 2 losses so far.

    I think both teams should be considered, so I don’t fault you for putting Celtic, I just expected to see Rangers listed as well.

    (Is that the first complaint you’ve had about the receiving consideration section?)

  22. Innocent question, Who the hell is FK Rubin Kazan? They’ve got quite the record, I suppose they top some eastern euro league?

    If we’re talking about european leauge winners, where’s the love for the FAI League of Ireland winners, Bohemians? Lol, don’t worry Ives, this is in jest. Sadly.

  23. A117, you act as if Hull just entered the rankings. If you followed the rankings you would know they entered last week.

    So you write them off because of an early season loss to Wigan? So no good teams lose to bad teams? Last time I checked Bayern Munich lost to Hannover 96 and AC Milan lost to Bologna earlier in the year. both those teams are ranked lower in their respective leagues than Wigan is in the EPL.

    Hull hasn’t lost since that Wigan defeat, is unbeaten in six (5-0-1) with a win against Arsenal and tie vs. Everton in the mix. Do I think they’ll be a Top 25 team by season’s end? Not really, but I think being tied for second place in the world’s best league two months into the season merits a ranking right now (that might change next week if Chelsea shreds them, but right now Hull deserves the ranking). You can disagree, but I have yet to hear a strong argument against it, certainly not one from you.

    And to suggest I don’t factor in Champions League into my rankings is ridiculous. European performance are a key reason why several teams are ranked higher than their domestic counterparts. In fact, Hull is the only team in my Top 25 not competing in Europe, yet that alone means I’m not factoring in Champions League right?

    I’m all for people disagreeing with me about the rankings, as someone stated, they are a conversation starter, but if you’re going to have a strong opposition to a specific ranking I’d like to hear a good argument against it.

  24. I don’t care about 24 of those places but if Hull is still up there this time next week I’m going to start praying every day and being nicer to people. Go Tigers!

  25. Hey Ives,

    im not hateing on hull city

    but how are they still in your top 25 when they are not in any european tournaments?

  26. I’m a bit pained to see Valencia only at 9th. They are top of La Liga and have been playing very well this season. I realize they aren’t in the Champions League this season, but I would not hesitate to pick them against any team above them in these rankings.

    Vampire Bats!

  27. Hull merits their ranking because their 2nd in the EPL? Come on. Yeah, they had an impressive win over Arsenal but explain an Ass kicking to Wigan of all teams (5-0) earlier in the season would merit a ranking in the top 25 or even a mention. You’ve completely disregarded teams participating in Champion’s League and UEFA Cup play. How did you come to this week’s ranking? Hell, based on their past two matches, Barcelona should #1 easily. 10 Goals in their last two matches (one of which was a Champion’s League match) and non conceded. Hell, Saturday, they scored 5 goals in the first half and in 37 minutes to be exact. Rolling my eyes, I agree that we’ll disagree from time to time but this week’s list just bothers me bigtime.

  28. Steve (and Sonic), you need a MUCH better argument than that regarding AC Milan. You mention that they are in fourth place but conveniently leave out the fact that they are a point out of first, hold a win against Inter Milan, and haven’t lost since their second game overall.

    In fact, AC Milan hasn’t lost since starting the season with two losses. That’s a nine-game unbeaten streak that included the Inter win and blowouts of Lazio and Sampdoria. The Inter win was a big factor in moving Milan up the rankings, but their form the past six weeks has been among the best in Europe.

    The rankings aren’t just based on overall league record, but record, form and opponents faced and European competition. It’s a variety of things. If certainly isn’t based solely on domestic records when we are just two months into the season and not everyone has faced the same opponents.

    You can still choose to disagree with my rating of AC Milan but please realize that there is a method to the rankings.

  29. Generally, I don’t take much stock in these kind of rankings….they are mostly conversation generators, but yeah, AC Milan fifth overall is a bit daft. Unless you are figuring in the Beckham effect, perhaps?

  30. A few things:

    How far am I supposed to drop Villarreal, a team unbeaten in ALL competitions this year? Yes, dropping a two-goal lead late was bad, but it was still a draw against a tough Atletico team. Their punishment was not becoming No. 2, which went to Barcelona.

    And Ai17, fair point about Bayern deserving to be in the Top 25, I moved them in (the Fiorentina win slipped my mind). That said, Hull is tied for second in the EPL right now and merit their ranking. Bayern Munich was well below par up until last week while Leverkusen isn’t even competing in Europe and has exactly one quality win this year(a 5-2 drubbing of Hoffenheim back in August). Villa is playing well, getting results in a tougher league AND competing in the UEFA Cup so comparing Leverkusen to them, or Hull for that matter, is pointless. I mean you can make the argument. I just don’t think it’s a strong one.

  31. Milan is 4th in Serie A and yet 5th here? Sorry, but that’s not right.

    They’re not a top-10 team right now and short of taking the lead in their domestic comp. they shouldn’t be w/o Champs. League to otherwise prove their qualifications.

  32. How in the H… do you have Aston Villa and Hull City in your top 25 yet Bayern Munchen and Leverkeusen outside of it. Goodness, the bias towards the EPL is truly over the top. Come on, get real.

  33. ‘ey, who’s that last team getting considered? =D

    Villareal and Chelsea are up there pretty high for both seeing negative results this weekend. I suppose Chelsea gets the benefit of losing to #1 Liverpool, but any loss at home hurts. Villareal is in a similar boat, looking none to convincing in blowing their lead to 10 men Atletico on the weekend. Though, Atletico did just come off of drawing against #1 Liverpool…

    What a mess trying to sort this out is.


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