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When Manchester City play Italian side Inter Milan in the Champions League final on Saturday, they know victory will see them secure a historic treble — having already won the Premier League and FA Cup in recent weeks.

But how many other clubs across the continent have achieved the impressive feat of winning their country’s league championship and main cup competition plus the European Cup/Champions League all in the same season?

Is it becoming more common? Has any club done it more than once?

The Athletic takes a look at every time it has happened…

Country: Scotland
Manager: Jock Stein
Top scorer: Joe McBride (35)

The first European treble was achieved by a Celtic team all born within a 30-mile (48km) radius of the club’s stadium in the Scottish city of Glasgow. Their 1966-67 side actually did the quadruple — also winning the Scottish League Cup in the October — which remains a unique feat.

Jock Stein’s side held off local rivals Rangers to win the league by three points, having beaten Aberdeen 2-0 in April’s Scottish Cup final thanks to a brace by Willie Wallace.

Then, following a European Cup run that saw them beat FC Zurich (5-0 on aggregate), Nantes (6-2), FK Vojvodina (2-1) and Dukla Prague (3-1) in the competition’s then two-leg, straight-knockout format, they came up against Inter in the final in Lisbon (amazingly, this 12th European Cup final was the first not to feature one or both of Real Madrid and Benfica).

Helenio Herrera’s team, using the defensive ‘Catenaccio’ system, went 1-0 up with an early penalty, but second-half goals by Tommy Gemmell (63 minutes) and Stevie Chalmers (84) saw Celtic become the first British side to win the European Cup, earning that team footballing immortality — and the nickname ‘the Lisbon Lions’.

Ajax in 1971-72

Country: Netherlands
Manager: Stefan Kovacs
Top scorer: Johan Cruyff (33)

A Johan Cruyff-inspired Ajax side playing ‘Total Football’ lost just once all season in all competitions to claim their treble (they played 48 games, winning 42, drawing five). The Amsterdam team won 26 of their last 27 league matches to seal the title at a canter and won the Dutch Cup by beating FC Den Haag 3-2.

They warmed up for the European Cup final, also against Inter and played on Dutch soil in Rotterdam, by beating Vitesse Arnhem 12-1 in their last league match — with Cruyff (four goals), Johan Neeskens and Dick van Dijk all scoring hat-tricks.

Cruyff then got both goals against Inter as Ajax became the second European club to achieve the treble.

PSV Eindhoven in 1987-88

Country: Netherlands
Manager: Guus Hiddink
Top scorer: Wim Kieft (33)

Sixteen years on from Ajax’s treble — which remains the biggest gap between clubs winning one — their compatriots PSV achieved the feat.

This was future Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink’s first full season as a manager, having previously been an assistant after retiring as a player in 1982. His team easily won the Eredivisie, finishing nine points clear of second-placed Ajax and scoring 117 goals in their 34 matches (an average of 3.44).

They almost lost the Dutch Cup final, needing an 85th-minute equaliser by Belgian right-back Eric Gerets (his second goal of the game) to take Roda JC to extra time, where Danish midfielder Soren Lerby scored their winner.

Despite not winning a game in the European Cup (also still just a knockout competition in those pre-Champions League days) after November 4, Hiddink’s team battled their way to the final — beating Bordeaux in the quarter-finals on away goals and Real Madrid in the semi-finals by the same method after both ties finished 1-1 on aggregate.

They faced two-time European champions Benfica in the final and, after the match finished goalless after 120 minutes, completed their treble on penalties, winning 6-5 when Hans van Breukelen saved Antonio Veloso’s spot kick in sudden death.

Country: England
Manager: Alex Ferguson
Top scorer: Dwight Yorke (29)

Manchester United became the only English team to win the treble (for now) at the end of an extraordinary 1998-99 season.

Using several players who were products of the club’s academy system, Sir Alex Ferguson’s team played exciting, attacking football and produced a host of famous comebacks to keep their campaign on track.

They fought off Arsenal and Chelsea to win the Premier League but only secured the title on the final day — and had to be rescued by David Beckham and Andy Cole goals after going behind at home to Tottenham Hotspur. United finished one point ahead of Arsenal and their goal difference was also just one better than Arsene Wenger’s side.

A dramatic FA Cup run’s most notable moments saw United knock out arch-rivals Liverpool 2-1 in the fourth round despite being 1-0 down after 87 minutes and, in the competition’s last ever semi-final replay, edge out Arsenal as they would do in the title race. United won 2-1 following extra time thanks to a wondergoal by Ryan Giggs after Peter Schmeichel had saved Dennis Bergkamp’s penalty in second-half stoppage time. They did it while down to 10 men, too — captain Roy Keane was sent off in the 74th minute.

In what was by now the Champions League, United had to get through an August play-off to reach the group stage having finished as runners-up to Arsenal the previous season. After seeing off LKS Lodz of Poland 2-0 on aggregate, they drew 3-3 home and away with Barcelona, scored 11 in two games against Denmark’s Brondby and drew twice with Bayern Munich in the group phase before beating Inter (3-1 on aggregate) and Juventus (4-3) in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

They faced Bayern Munich again, who were also on for a treble, in the final in Barcelona’s Camp Nou and were 1-0 down heading into stoppage time before substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored from Beckham corners in the space of two minutes to snatch victory.

While United’s manager was knighted the following month for his side’s achievements, becoming Sir Alex Ferguson, Bayern counterpart Ottmar Hitzfeld watched his devastated team lose the German Cup final to Werder Bremen, on penalties, to cap a miserable end to their season.

Barcelona in 2008-09

Country: Spain
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Top scorer: Lionel Messi (38)

In Pep Guardiola’s first season as Barcelona manager, his side — playing brilliant football — swept all before them to become the first Spanish club to win the treble.

A star-studded team with Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta as its leading lights easily triumphed in La Liga (finishing nine points clear and scoring 105 goals) and won the Copa del Rey by beating Athletic Bilbao 4-1 in the final — with Yaya Toure, Messi, Bojan and Xavi all finding the net.

Barcelona had to go through a play-off to reach the Champions League proper having finished third in 2007-08 and even lost away at Polish side Wisla Krakow in the second leg (though they’d beaten them 4-0 in the first). They then topped their group before beating Lyon (6-3 on aggregate), Bayern (5-1) and, most famously and controversially, Chelsea.

In the semi-final’s second leg at Stamford Bridge, the English side had several penalty appeals denied before Barcelona went through on away goals after Iniesta’s 93rd-minute goal made it 1-1 on the night and on aggregate.

They then beat defending champions Manchester United 2-0 in the final in Rome — thanks to a Samuel Eto’o goal after 10 minutes and a stunning second-half leaping header by the 5ft 7in (170cm) Messi.

Inter in 2009-10

Country: Italy
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Top scorer: Diego Milito (30)

The very next season, Jose Mourinho’s clinical Inter side became the first Italian club to do the treble.

An efficient team with a strong core consisting of Walter Samuel and Lucio at the heart of the defence, Wesley Sneijder as an attacking midfielder and Diego Milito as the No 9 just pipped Roma to the Serie A title (Inter’s fifth in a row) by two points. They also beat Claudio Ranieri’s side on their own turf in Rome’s Olympic Stadium in the Coppa Italia final, with Milito scoring the only goal.

In the Champions League, they went through as runners-up behind Barcelona after only winning two of their six group matches, before beating Mourinho’s former employers Chelsea in the round of 16 (3-1 on aggregate) and CSKA Moscow (2-0) in the quarter-finals.

That made it Mourinho vs Guardiola’s Barcelona again, this time in the semi-finals, with the Spanish club having to make the 600-mile (965km) journey from Catalonia to Milan for the first leg by coach because the Icelandic volcano eruptions that spring had grounded air travel.

Inter won 3-1 in San Siro, then (with flights having resumed) clung on in the second leg — losing 1-0 but progressing 3-2 on aggregate. Mourinho’s team had just 24 per cent possession that night at the Camp Nou and had to play for more than an hour with 10 men after midfielder Thiago Motta was sent off.

They then beat Bayern in the final in Madrid with a Milito goal in each half.

Mourinho left to join Real Madrid that summer and hasn’t won the Champions League since. The same applies to all Italian clubs.

Inter’s triumph means striker Eto’o, who joined them from Barcelona at the start of that season, has the distinction of winning back-to-back trebles.

Bayern Munich in 2012-13

Country: Germany
Manager: Jupp Heynckes
Top scorer: Thomas Muller (23)

Up until this point, there had been one treble per decade (1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s) but Bayern ended that streak by finally achieving the feat themselves following several near-misses.

They had lost out in the Bundesliga in each of the two previous seasons to Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund but made no mistake in this one — taking the title by a mammoth 25-point margin. They scored 98 goals in their 34 league games (an average of 2.88) and conceded just 18 times.

This was the season that began Bayern’s ongoing streak of 11 consecutive Bundesliga championships.

Bayern also easily won the German Cup, scoring 20 goals in their six ties (3.33 per game) and beating Stuttgart 3-2 in the final (it was 3-0 with 20 minutes left) thanks to a Thomas Muller penalty and two Mario Gomez goals. That game took place after the Champions League final, so they sealed the treble on German soil in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.

The weekend before, they had beaten domestic rivals Dortmund in the Champions League final at Wembley, with Arjen Robben scoring an 89th-minute winner.

Jupp Heynckes’ team had topped their group, then saw off Arsenal (3-3, won on away goals) and Juventus (4-0) before thrashing Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals.

Having delivered the treble, a 68-year-old Heynckes was replaced with Guardiola, but the current Manchester City boss failed to reach the Champions League final in all three of his seasons at Bayern, losing in the semi-finals each time.

Barcelona in 2014-15

Country: Spain
Manager: Luis Enrique
Top scorer: Lionel Messi (58)

In 2014-15, Barcelona — spearheaded by the ‘MSN’ trio of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar in attack — became the first club to win the treble twice, following their success under Guardiola six years before.

That superb trio each scored 25 goals or more in all competitions (besides Messi’s 58, Neymar got 39 and Suarez 25) and the team proved unstoppable domestically and across the continent. They held off Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid (who got 92 points and scored 118 goals) to win La Liga by two points and, just like in 2009, beat Athletic Bilbao in the May final of the Copa del Rey to set up a shot at the treble.

They then faced Juventus in the Champions League final having reached that match in Berlin the hard way, beating Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in the knockout stages.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side went the same way, losing 3-1, with Ivan Rakitic, Suarez and Neymar (a stoppage-time clincher) all scoring. The men from Turin had also gone into that final knowing victory would secure a treble.

This remains the most recent Champions League final for both Barcelona and Messi.

Bayern Munich in 2019-20

Country: Germany
Manager: Hansi Flick
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski (55)

A European season that at one point looked like it might be abandoned because of the Covid-19 pandemic eventually concluded on August 23 (many seasons have started by then during a normal year) in a near-deserted stadium in Portugal, with Bayern becoming the second club to do the treble twice.

Bayern had sacked Niko Kovac at the start of November and replaced him with assistant (and now Germany manager) Hansi Flick, making this the only treble-winning season to see more than one coach in charge of the team concerned.

Under Flick, Bayern won their final 13 Bundesliga games to secure the title by a 13-point margin (the league was suspended from mid-March to mid-May with the country in lockdown), then beat Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 in the German Cup final on July 4.

Seven weeks later, they beat Paris Saint-Germain (who were quadruple-chasing, having won all three of France’s main domestic competitions) in Lisbon thanks to Kingsley Coman’s 59th-minute header and sealed the treble. It was the first Champions League final to finish 1-0 since Real Madrid beat Juventus in Amsterdam in 1998, but the two since have also only seen a single goal in each.

The pandemic meant Bayern had to wait until early August to play the second leg of their round-of-16 tie against Chelsea, having won the first leg 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in late February, before the tournament uniquely turned into one-off ties for the remaining three rounds — with all matches taking place in the Portuguese capital.

They beat Barcelona 8-2 in an extraordinary last-eight game, then Lyon (surprise winners over Manchester City four days earlier) 3-0 before doing enough to see off PSG.

(Top photos: Getty Images)



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