VfB Stuttgart's first Bundesliga title in 15 years is proof that the high-spending 'Galactico' model is not the only way to bring success and spectacle.
Saturday's 2-1 victory over Energie Cottbus made it eight successive wins during the run-in and took them to the title with 70 points from 34 matches, two points clear of Schalke 04 in second place and 10 ahead of outgoing champions Bayern Munich in fourth.
They now stand on the brink of a domestic double, with the Cup final to come against Nuremberg on 26 May at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.
This season's frankly unexpected success can be traced back to the sacking of the high-profile Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni midway through last season, a move that signalled a shift in philosophy at the club from the wealthy southern city.
The appointment of Armin Veh, a man for whom the word unassuming could have been coined, was unpopular with many fans and it took guts to extend his contract after a second half of the season that brought only minor improvements.
Manager Horst Heldt deserves great credit for that, as well as a series of moves in the transfer market that transformed the team.
Out went the expensive, ineffective Jon Dahl Tomasson and Jesper Gronkjaer, and in came a bunch of talented, hardworking professionals who quickly gelled with a great group of young players coming through.
Mexicans Pavel Pardo and Ricardo Osorio, signed to little fanfare in July, have made vital contributions in midfield and defence, while Brazilian Antonio da Silva, a bargain buy from Mainz, has excelled as a creative midfielder.
Of the younger players, the 21-year-old Mario Gomez has captured most of the attention with his 14 league goals and a call-up to the Germany team, while the 20-year-old defender Serdar Tasci has been one of the players of the season.
There are, in fact, very few players in the squad other than Germany goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand that other teams would have coveted at the start of the season.
That is far from being the case now, and Veh's biggest problem for next season might be to fend off the expected bids for half his team.
It is a nice problem to have, of course, especially when few people even within the club expected them to do so well.
Veh told reporters this week: 'We couldn't have imagined this at the start of the season.
'But we have constantly improved over the course of the season.
'The players clicked and we kept getting better.'
Stuttgart's first game of the season was a 3-0 defeat at home to Nuremberg and they did not win at the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion until mid-October.
They had shown what was possible, however, in a 3-2 win away to Werder Bremen and they briefly moved top of the table in November.
As Bayern played themselves out of contention, Stuttgart stayed on the trail of Schalke and Werder without ever really suggesting they were about to pounce.
When they lost 1-0 at Schalke on 17 March they slipped seven points off the pace and were duly written off by the media.
Their reaction was to win and keep on winning, with their seventh straight victory away to Bochum last week finally seeing them overtake Schalke.
That set the stage for Saturday's celebrations, as a full house of 56,000 saw them clinch their fifth German title - with the promise of more silverware to come.