Neftochimik finished 3rd in the regular season but later won the play-offs in the Bulgarian league. This gave me the idea to discuss what the lowest rank of an eventual national champion is in a domestic league anywhere in the world. I am too lazy to go across all championships with stats sheets from previous seasons, hence I though a discussion would be worthy in case you guys remember such unusual season finishes. I don't even know if there has been research on that matter already, a quick search on the Internet says otherwise.
Berlin (3rd-seeded after a disastrous regular season) could theoretically be champions if they beat Friedrichshafen. Chaumont (6th) could pull a surprise in France, although they are yet to start the semifinals. The most impressive achievement so far this season (up to my knowledge) comes from Turkey where Fenerbahce (5th) lead 2-0 in the final series against Arkas and are a win away from a remarkable triumph. How about previous seasons? Anyone remembers something or has anyone already done a similar research?
Such a discussion is, of course, only possible in leagues/seasons with play-offs, for the champion wins the regular season otherwise and that's it.
I started with male competitions as that is my area of interest but I won't divide between genders. I will do so only if it becomes too long. Feel free to include female teams as well.