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Road to nowhere: How bad is Schalke’s wait for a win?

Schalke host Hoffenheim on Saturday needing victory to avoid equalling the all-time Bundesliga record for most matches without a win of 31 games, set by Tasmania Berlin in the 1965/66 season.

Here, AFP Sport takes a look at other miserable winless streaks in Europe’s biggest leagues:

England

Derby County: 32 Premier League matches (2007/08)

Newly-promoted Derby set multiple records in the 2007/08 Premier League, including the lowest points tally of only 11 from their 38 games. The Rams’ only league win of the campaign came in their sixth fixture against Newcastle United, but they failed to secure another victory and were relegated in March.

Spain

Sporting Gijon: 24 La Liga matches (1997/98)

Sporting set several records in the 1997/98 La Liga season, including the longest winless run of 24 games, although that spanned two terms. They finished bottom of the Spanish top flight with a La Liga record-breaking 13 points, although they did at least win two games after finally snapping the streak on February 8, 1998. Like Derby, they were relegated in March, becoming the first La Liga side to have their fate sealed before April.

Italy

Ancona: 28 Serie A matches (2003/04); Varese: 28 Serie A matches (1971/72)

Ancona failed to win a single Serie A game between September 2003 and April 2004, although they did at least manage seven draws in their 28-match winless run. They mustered 13 points over the whole season, which fittingly ended in bankruptcy and relegation to the Italian fourth tier. Their run matches that of Varese, whose “achievement” in going 28 matches without a win was arguably even more impressive as it came in a 30-game season, in a 16-team league, in 1971-72. The club from just north of Milan, near the shores of Lake Maggiore, went almost the entire campaign without a victory before breaking their duck in the penultimate round of matches. Needless to say they finished bottom.

France

Arles-Avignon: 23 Ligue 1 matches (2010/11)

Arles-Avignon “enjoyed” a single season in France’s top flight in 2010/11. They lost their first eight games in Ligue 1, eventually recording their maiden victory in early November. However that was followed by a miserable sequence of 23 games without tasting another win. By the time they won again, they had already been relegated. In fact their fate was sealed in record quick time, with seven games of the campaign remaining, and they finished 15 points adrift at the foot of the table. In 2015 they dropped down into the amateur ranks and are these days to be found plying their trade in the regional leagues.

Other

Although far from Europe’s top leagues, Scottish outfit Fort William were dubbed the UK’s “worst professional football team” during a run of 73 games without a win in all competitions. The Highland League outfit finally ended more than 700 days without success in 2019 with a North of Scotland Cup triumph over Nairn County. In the 2018-19 season, Fort William finished bottom of their league with minus seven points following a nine-point deduction, conceding 245 goals in 34 matches.

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