End of season review: From league champions and cup winners to ups, downs and European qualification

The winners and losers from an unforgettable season of football across Europe - including promotions, relegations and silverware.

Published: 1 June 2021 - 9.32am

It’s been a season like no other in Europe. While fans have been unable to attend for the majority of the 2020/21 campaign, players have still put on a show in the major leagues across the continent.

Here BTSport.com provides an overview of the movers and shakers in the Champions League, Europa League, the major five European leagues, the top-five tiers of English football and the action north of the border.

Read on for how the issues of relegation and promotion were settled across the continent as attention turns to Euro 2020.

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Champions: Manchester City

Champions League Qualification: Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea

Europa League Qualification: Leicester and West Ham

Europa Conference League Qualification: Tottenham

Relegated: Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United

Manchester City wrestled back the Premier League title they lost to Liverpool last season with a dominant second half of the season to claim a third top-flight success in four seasons under Pep Guardiola.

In the top four, City’s rivals Man United kept things interesting briefly but ultimately finished a distant second while Liverpool, who looked out of it at one point, put a string of results together to finish third. Thomas Tuchel’s revived Chelsea pipped Leicester to the fourth and the final Champions League place.

The Foxes dropped into the Europa League places along which West Ham who, after flirting with the top four for much of the season, ultimately finished sixth. Tottenham came seventh to enter the inaugural Europa Conference League.

Down the bottom, Sheffield United endured a severe case of second-season syndrome to finish 20th while newly-promoted West Brom and Fulham made it an immediate return to the Championship.

Winners: Chelsea

Runners-up: Manchester City

Chelsea won the Champions League for a second time with a deserved victory in an all-English clash against favourites Man City in Porto.

Thomas Tuchel got the better of Pep Guardiola for the third time since he took over from Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge to secure Europe’s biggest prize for Chelsea for the first time since 2012.

City, who raised eyebrows by leaving out Rodri and Fernandinho, were favourites to lift a maiden Champions League trophy but were second best throughout against an organised Chelsea outfit.

Kai Havertz got the winner for the Blues before half-time after meeting a defence-splitting pass from Mason Mount. His cool finish was enough to see off City and make Chelsea only the third English side to win the Champions League on two occasions.

Winners: Villarreal

Runners-up: Manchester United

It was glory once again for Unai Emery as the former Arsenal manager lifted the Europa League trophy for a record fourth time in his career.

David de Gea failed from the spot at the end of a marathon penalty shootout as Villarreal dashed Manchester United's hopes of glory in Gdansk, giving Villarreal a first major trophy in their history.

The Yellow Submarine became the first side to win in their first appearance in a major European final since Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2008-09 Uefa Cup.

Winners: Leicester

Runners-up: Chelsea

Leicester claimed a first-ever FA Cup by seeing off much-fancied Chelsea in the final thanks to Youri Tielemans’ stunning long-range winner.

The Foxes saw off Stoke, Brentford, Brighton, Man United and Southampton en route to the final while Chelsea overcame Man City in the semis.

In Leicester's first FA Cup final appearance for over 50 years, star striker Jamie Vardy made his own piece of history by becoming the first player to compete in 13 rounds of the competition.

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers also became the first manager to win both the English and Scottish FA Cup since Sir Alex Ferguson.

Champions: Lille

Champions League Qualification: Lille, PSG and Monaco

Europa League Qualification: Lyon and Marseille

Europa Conference League Qualification: Rennes

Relegated: Nimes and Dijon (Nantes in a relegation play-off)

Lille ended PSG’s spell of dominance in Ligue 1 with a surprise success under Christophe Galtier in a race which went down to the final day. 

PSG, who swapped Thomas Tuchel for Mauricio Pochettino, couldn’t reign in Galtier’s side and were ultimately made to pay for a poor start.

Monaco and Lyon played their part too with the Monegasques’ young squad drawing plenty of admirers but ultimately finished third and fourth respectively.

Four wins all season for Dijon condemned them to Ligue 2 where they’ll be joined by Nimes.  

Champions: Bayern Munich

Champions League Qualification: Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg

Europa League Qualification: Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen

Europa Conference League Qualification: Union Berlin

Relegated: Werder Bremen and Schalke (Cologne in a relegation play-off)

It was business as usual in Germany as Bayern Munich claimed a ninth successive Bundesliga title with three matches to spare when RB Leipzig, whose manager Julian Nagelsmann will now leave for Bayern, lost to Borussia Dortmund. 

Robert Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller’s 49-year goalscoring record of 40 goals in the German top flight with his 41st on the final day of the final game for Bayern.

RB Leipzig continued to establish themselves among the big boys with a second-placed finish while Dortmund, who dismissed Lucien Favre, and surprise packages Wolfsburg will join them in the Champions League.

A disastrous season for Schalke saw them collect only 16 points and they were joined in going down by Werder Bremen, who suffered relegation to the second tier for the first time since 1980.

Champions: Inter Milan

Champions League Qualification: Inter Milan, AC Milan, Atalanta and Juventus

Europa League Qualification: Napoli and Lazio

Europa Conference League Qualification: Roma

Relegated: Benevento, Crotone and Parma

Inter Milan ended Juventus’ run of nine successive titles as Antonio Conte showed his former club what they were missing by leading the Nerazzurri to glory.

The defending champions never truly got going under Andrea Pirlo and were ultimately in a battle for the top four while AC Milan and Atalanta provided Inter with their sternest challenge.

Napoli, Lazio and Roma suffered disappointing campaigns but salvaged European football while down the bottom it was a return to Serie B for Parma, who were joined by Benevento and Crotone.

Juventus avoided the prospect of a first season without a major trophy in a decade as they beat Atalanta to win the Coppa Italia, but it wasn't enough to save Andrea Pirlo, who was relieved of duties after just one season in charge.

Champions: Atletico Madrid

Champions League Qualification: Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla (Villarreal as Europa League winners)

Europa League Qualification: Real Sociedad and Real Betis

Relegated: Huesca, Valladolid and Eibar

La Liga produced one of the most nail-biting finishes to a title race in years with Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona all vying to finish top dog on the final day of the season.

In the end, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid lifted the title for the first time in seven seasons as they edged out rivals Real on the final day of the season.

The Mattress Makers were looking comfortable for much of the campaign but a run of poor form had allowed Real and Barcelona in with a chance.

Sevilla rounded out the top four while Copa del Rey winners Real Sociedad’s strong start soon faded and they were made to settle for Europa League qualification.

Eibar’s fairytale stay in the top tier came to an end as they dropped to Segunda Liga with Huesca and Valladolid.

Champions: Rangers

Champions League Qualification: Rangers and Celtic 

Europa League Qualification: St Johnstone 

Europa Conference League Qualification: Hibernian and Aberdeen

Relegated: Hamilton Academical and Kilmarnock

Rangers were crowned champions of Scotland for the first time in 10 years as Steven Gerrard picked up his first trophy as a manager in his third season at Ibrox.

Celtic were bidding for an unprecedented 10th successive league title but their Glasgow rivals produced a remarkable unbeaten season to end the Bhoys' dominance. 

At the other end of the table Hamilton Academical were relegated to the Championship on the final day of the season after losing 2-0 to 11th-placed Kilmarnock, who were themselves relegated after losing to Dundee in the play-off final.

In the Scottish Cup, St Johnstone, having already won the League Cup, edged out Hibs to seal a domestic trophy double in the greatest season in the club's history.

Champions: Chelsea

Promoted: Leicester City

Relegated: Bristol City

Chelsea Women won their second successive Women's Super League title as Manchester City Women finished runners-up for a fourth season in a row.

Emma Hayes' side were awarded the title last season after the WSL was decided on points-per-game, despite Man City leading when the league suspension was announced.

But there was no doubt this time around as Chelsea capped an incredible season with a 5-0 victory over Reading to retain the title.

Their latest WSL title sees them overtake Arsenal for the highest number of wins in the league (4), having also secured the Women's League Cup earlier this season.

Bristol City's four-year stay in the top flight came to an end as they finished the season with just victories after shipping the most goals in WSL history.

Champions: Norwich City

Promoted: Norwich City, Watford and Brentford

Relegated: Sheffield Wednesday, Wycombe Wanderers and Rotherham

Norwich City won promotion to the Premier League for a fifth time, clinching the title with a game to spare.

The Canaries make an instant return to the top flight under Daniel Farke following relegation to the Championship in the 2019-20 season.

Watford also secured a promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. 

The play-off final was won by Brentford who beat 10-man Swansea 2-0 at Wembley.

At the other end of the table, three teams were relegated to League One on a dramatic final day.

Sheffield Wednesday went down after drawing 3-3 with Derby (who stayed up), while Rotherham United suffered the drop after a 1-1 draw at Cardiff and Wycombe Wanderers were relegated despite beating Middlesbrough 3-0.

Champions: Hull City

Promoted: Hull City, Peterborough and Blackpool

Relegated: Bristol Rovers, Swindon, Northampton, Rochdale

Hull City confirmed their promotion to the Championship with a 2-1 win at Lincoln on 24 April, before clinching the title with a victory over Wigan, while Peterborough United sealed the second automatic promotion place.

In the play-off final Blackpool fought back from an early setback against Lincoln to win 2-1 and seal a return to the Championship after a six-year absence.

Bristol Rovers were relegated to League Two on 24 April after losing 1-0 at Portsmouth and Swindon Town joined them later that day after a 5-0 loss at Milton Keynes. 

Rochdale and Northampton Town went down on 1 May after losing to Doncaster and Blackpool respectively.

Champions: Cheltenham Town

Promoted: Cheltenham Town, Cambridge United, Bolton Wanderers and Morecambe

Relegated: Grimsby Town and Southend United

Cheltenham Town secured promotion to League One in late April, before clinching the title on the final day of the season by beating Harrogate 4-1. 

They will be back in the third tier next season for the first time since 2009, five years after they made an immediate return to the English Football League, winning the National League title in 2016.

Cambridge United and Bolton Wanderers both picked up final-day wins to secure the two remaining automatic promotion spots.

The play-off final for the fourth promotion place was won by Morecambe after extra time.

Grimsby Town were relegated to the National League after losing 3-2 at Exeter on the final weekend of April.

Southend United joined them despite a 2-1 win at Barrow.