Big names back in Europe

In the 1970s, they took home five German league titles in seven years as well as two UEFA Cup wins and a European Cup final appearance in 1977. After those glory years, however, things went a little quiet for Borussia Monchengladbach as they slipped down into the lower reaches of the Bundesliga before finally dropping into the second division in 1999. They bounced back the following year, but still failed to hit their earlier heights.

2007 again saw them relegated from the top flight, but with former German international Christian Ziege as head of sport, Dutch coach Jos Luhukay at the helm and talented youngsters like Marko Marin on the pitch, Borussia again made it straight back into the Bundesliga.

First ever Bundesliga winners up where they belong
The original Bundesliga winners also made it back up into the top flight alongside Monchengladbach. In 1963, FC Cologne took the first ever title and went on to win another five, the most recent being in 1990. Since then they have been too good for the second level, not quite good enough for the first, with three relegations and as many promotions in the past eight years alone.

With a widely experienced coach in the shape of Christoph Daum, internationals such as Milivoje Novakovic (Slovenia) and Roda Antar (Lebanon) and an incredible fan base (an average attendance of 43,000 per match), Cologne are now looking to prove that they belong back in the big time and that the second division is a thing of the past.

Nantes ready to start a new streak
With Nantes' return to Ligue 1, France is not just getting an eight-time champion back in its first division. The canary yellows actually hold the record for the most consecutive seasons in the top flight. This run of 44 came to an end in the summer of 2007 - an ignominious fall from grace for a club which has also won three French cups and even got as far as the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 1996, where none other than Juventus knocked them out.

After a mere 12-month hiatus, coach Michel Der Zakarian's team are looking to get back to title-winning form in Ligue 1. The club has a great reputation for youth development, having blooded three FIFA World Cup™ winners in the shape of Marcel Desailly, Didier Deschamps and Christian Karembeu, and who knows - perhaps 45 years from now they will have broken their own record...

Chievo and Bologna looking to shake things up
The football-crazy nation of Italy also has its share of comeback kings in the upper echelons. Chievo have bounced straight back after relegation, while it took Bologna three years of Serie B before they had had enough. Both are looking at a long stint in the top flight now, with the team from the Emilia-Romagna region hoping to hark back to the seven titles they won between 1925 and 1964. Bologna also won the Italian Cup twice, the more recent of the two victories coming in 1974.

Chievo, on the other hand, only made it up into Serie A for the first time in the 2001/02 season, despite the club being founded in 1929. Nobody gave them a chance that season, but they were very much the surprise package, finishing fifth in the league and even qualifying for the UEFA Cup - a feat which they repeated four years later.

England and Spain following the trend
On 4 May 2008, Stoke City made it back up into the big time for the first time in 23 years. The club was founded in 1863 and was traditionally seen as a top flight outfit, though their trophy cabinet is limited to a League Cup win in 1972 and two Football League Trophies, in 1992 and 2000.

The Primera Division meanwhile is welcoming back Malaga, under the aegis of coach Antonio Tapia. 2002 is the best year to date in the south coast club's history, when they won the UEFA Intertoto Cup and then went all the way into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup itself before slipping to an unfortunate defeat against Boavista.

For some of the promoted clubs, survival will be enough. For others, nothing but a return to the halcyon eras of their past will do. Either way, they are all delighted to be back in the big time.