So far at least, 2010/11 has been a season of surprises. Europe has become accustomed to the same names topping its league tables, but Bayern Munich, Lyon and the Milan giants are just a few of the pre-season title-favourites currently gazing upwards in disbelief.
In Germany, Mainz have been the early-season sensations, and currently share top spot with a resurgent Borussia Dortmund. Their closest challengers, six and five points behind respectively, are Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim, with Bayern a distant tenth.
Lazio are the team on top in Italy, the previously crisis-hit Rome outfit currently perched two points clear of the two Milan clubs, with Napoli completing an unlikely top four. France has thrown up an even less predictable scenario, with Rennes – a team without a single top-flight title to their name – taking over from fellow surprise packages Saint-Etienne at the summit of Ligue 1.
Blackpool haven’t quite managed to scale those heights, but having been written off as relegation certainties before a ball was kicked, the manner in which they have set about securing a top-half place in England’s Premier League has won the Seasiders plenty of admirers. Nor have the shocks been confined to Europe’s major leagues, with FC Luzern, Viktoria Plzen and Racing Genk leading the Swiss, Czech and Belgian title races, while Olhanense and Kayserispor continue to defy gloomy predictions in Portugal and Turkey.
Many more teams across the continent are currently to be found punching above their weight, but what we at FIFA.com want to know is: Who has been the biggest surprise? Simply click ‘Add your comment’ to join the discussion, remembering to keep your comments clean, respectful, on-topic and in English.