A History of Bayern München in European Cup Finals

Saturday’s match at the Allianz Arena is the first time since AS Roma played Liverpool in 1984 that a team has the honour of playing a European Cup (or Champions League) final in their own stadium. It will be the second final in three years for FC Bayern, who beat Real Madrid against all the odds in the semi-finals. Their opponents will be Chelsea, another team who has gotten to the final against all odds, beating FC Barcelona on the road to München, in what will be their second final in five years. However, FC Bayern have much more experience when it comes to these kind of games. Here’s a run down of the times that Bayern have reached the final of the world’s most prestigious club competition.

Surprisingly enough, the first German team to compete in a European Cup final was not Bayern but Eintracht Frankfurt who lost lost 7-3 to the almighty Real Madrid in 1960 at Hampden Park, Glasgow. At that time, Bayern München was just overcoming bankruptcy. However, after the arrival of young and talented players such as Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller and goalkeeper Sepp Maier amongst others, their fortunes began to change drastically. After a Cup Winners Cup victory in 1967, 1974 was the year that Bayern finally made a big impression in the European Cup. The stage was Heysel in Brussels, the stadium that would make the headlines for all the wrong reasons eleven years later, and the rivals were Atlético Madrid.

Bayern in 1975 after their first European Cup triumph

This final was to be the first and only in history that was to be replayed. The 90 minutes ended in a scoreless draw and in extra time, with six minutes to go, a man by the name of Luís Aragonés, who later managed Spain to a European Championship win in 2008, scored with a free kick from just outside the box. However, the tie wasn’t over and in the last minute, Bayern’s defender Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck controlled the ball halfway into Atlético’s half, took a few steps on the run and powered an unstoppable shot brushing the post and past the keeper to make it 1-1 in the most dramatic fashion possible. Since matches weren’t decided on penalties in those days, they played a replay two days later. That match was quite a different affair. Udo Lattek’s side ran riot and ended up winning the match 4-0 quite easily, with two goals by Uli Hoeneß and another two by Bayern’s most prolific striker, Gerd Müller. It proved to be a great year for German football since Germany won the World Cup later that summer with a core made up of Bayern players.

1975 proved to be a case of déja vu for Bayern in Europe. Once again they reached the final of the European Cup, this time against Leeds United at the Parc des Princes in Paris, after just narrowly beating 1.FC Magdeburg and Ararat Yerevan in the second round and the quarter-finals respectively. The match however didn’t go according to plan at first, and the scoreboard remained at 0-0 thanks to some controversial refereeing decisions and the reflexes of Sepp Maier and Leeds United clearly having the upper hand in the match. This game also went down in Bayern history as the match that was to practically end the career of Uli Hoeneß, at the ripe age of 23, after a tackle by the Leeds fullback Frank Gray in the dying minutes of the first half caused an injury to his knee from which he’d never fully recover from.  He later retired at 27.  Hoeneß wasn’t the only man to come off early in the match for Bayern. Swedish international defender Björn Andersson only lasted six minutes on the pitch until he was brutally tackled by midfield hard-man Terry Yorath. Andersson only played a few more matches for Bayern after recovering from his injury and moved back to his native Sweden.

Bayern players celebrating their second consecutive European Cup

Despite all the injuries and the controversial refereeing decisions (the referee disallowed a goal with half an hour to go which he had initially given after Beckenbauer cleverly persuaded the linesman that Leeds had a player in a positional offside position) which caused problems in the stands amongst Leeds fans and a subsequent European ban for them. Bayern brushed aside their physical adversaries and went in front with a counter-attack goal by midfielder Franz Roth. After all the events in the match, the goal severely knocked Leeds’ confidence and ten minutes later, who else but Gerd Müller added another one for Bayern, sealing the win and their second European Cup in a row.

The following year saw Bayern’s great rivals in the 70s, Borussia Mönchengladbach, take part in the European Cup as well along with East German side 1.FC Magdeburg.  It was the first time that three ‘German’ teams competed in the tournament.  The latter only got as far as the first round, falling to Swedish side Malmö, but Gladbach made it a bit further and lost on away goals to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals. Once again, Bayern proved to be the strongest German team in Europe and made the final, beating Real Madrid (A Madrid team that included Paul Breitner) in the semis to set up a final with French team Saint-Étienne in Hampden Park in Glasgow. Bayern should have been a goal up in the first ten minutes, had the Hungarian referee not wrongly ruled out a Gerd Müller goal for offside, but this did not put the French off and they hit the crossbar and had chances to go one up at the break.

However, Bayern came out stronger after half time and got a free-kick on the left side. Beckenbauer layed it off for Franz Roth, who drilled a shot past the keeper at his near post. In typical German fashion, Bayern went one up and held onto the result until the final whistle for what was their third consecutive European Cup and arguably their most difficult final. The world press in general praised Les Verts’ performance and claimed against the unfair result but Bayern didn’t care, since this was the last major trophy of their golden generation. They also matched the great Ajax Amsterdam team and their three consecutive European Cups just before them.

Klaus Augenthaler in the 1982 final against Aston Villa

Despite Bayern having lost their best generation of players, it only took six years to reach another continental final, this time against English champions Aston Villa in Feyenoord’s De Kuip, in Rotterdam. Bayern had scored freely throughout the tournament, a stat that we can see since the top three scorers of that year’s European Cup were all Bayern players, Dieter Hoeneß, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Paul Breitner, with 7, 6 and 5 goals respectively.  The Germans were the clear favorites for the final and most expected them to win their fourth European Cup.  Unlike Bayern, Aston Villa had got to the final just by doing enough, beating Partizani Tirana, Dynamo Berlin, Dynamo Kiev and Anderlecht all by narrow margins. Even though Bayern were favourites Villa proved to be a tough team to crack. Bayern had a goal ruled out by officials once again and, together with the excellent saves by Villa’s substitute goalkeeper Nigel Spink, Bayern were kept at bay. With roughly 25 minutes to go in the match, Villa’s Tony Morley squared it for an unmarked Peter Withe, who put it away off the post to make it 1-0 to the English side.  Villa held onto the lead and pulled off one of the biggest upsets in European Cup final history.  It was Bayern’s first loss in a final but certainly not their last.

Five years later in 1987, they once again reached the final, this time pitting themselves against an efficient Porto team that included players such as Paulo Futre, Rabah Madjer and Fernando Gomes amongst others. Bayern comfortably saw off PSV, Austria Vienna, Anderlecht and even the great Real Madrid team known as La Quinta del Buitre, after a resounding 4-1 victory at the Olympiastadion, the famous match where Real Madrid’s marquee player Juanito stamped on Lothar Matthäus’ back and face. The return was a 1-0 victory for the Spaniards but Bayern were in the final. Bayern didn’t have to travel far for the final, since it was held in the Praterstadion (today the Ernst Happel Stadion) in Vienna. Porto reached the final without making too much noise, narrowly beating their opponents and struggling only in their semi-final encounter with Oleg Blokhin and Igor Belanov’s Dynamo Kiev, who they beat 2-1 in both legs.

Lothar Matthäus's Bayern blew a lead against Porto in the '87 final

Again, Bayern were clear favourites despite being without their influential captain Klaus Augenthaler or star striker Roland Wohlfarth and they certainly seemed to impose their superiority, going a goal up inside the first half hour thanks to a Ludwig Kögl header from a poorly-cleared throw-in. However, with roughly a quarter of an hour to go, Algerian international Madjer equalised in spectacular fashion, with a slick back-heeled goal that levelled the scores. Bayern must have been in shock because four minutes later, Algerian Madjer ran down the sideline, easily beating Bayern’s fullback Winklhofer and put a cross in that was put away by Brazilian striker Juary unmarked at the far post. Porto had turned the match around and there was no way back for Bayern.  Another upset, another huge disappointment for Bayern.  There couldn’t possibly be a more dramatic final loss, could there?

1999 was perhaps the most famous Champions League (the new name for the European Cup) final of them all. Both participants were by far the two strongest teams in the competition, with Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United team playing some wonderful football with players such as David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane along with star strikers Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, and Ottmar Hitzfeld’s Bayern, who had players such as Mario Basler and Mehmet Scholl to feed their powerful strikers, Carsten Jancker and Alexander Zickler. Both teams met previously in the group stages, with both games ending in draws. They were destined to meet in the final and so it was, with the stage being Barcelona’s Camp Nou, Europe’s biggest stadium hosting Europe’s biggest game.

Manchester United were missing their influential midfield duo Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, something which gave Bayern a lift. After only six minutes, Carsten Jancker was brought down just outside the box and Mario Basler curled the free-kick low into the bottom corner past a static Peter Schmeichel. United were shell-shocked but started to push on, never troubling the strong German defence, with Lothar Matthäus playing the sweeper role. After half time, Bayern came out the stronger side and had plenty of chances to finish the game off, first with an exquisite chip by Scholl that came off the post and into Schmeichel’s hands. A few minutes later, Jancker’s spectacular overhead kick hit the crossbar and Bayern were in disbelief as to how this match was still 1-0. Then the world came apart for the Bavarians.

In the 90th minute, United’s corner was poorly cleared by Thorsten Fink and, after Giggs’ shot, Sheringham ended up putting it in the back of the net. The goal was met with clear dismay by the Bayern players and this spurred United on, who, 30 seconds after the restart got another corner. This time, Beckham whipped it in, and Sheringham headed it down for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to stick his foot out and send the ball to the roof of the net. In just seconds minutes, United had pulled off the most remarkable comeback in Cup final history. Famously, UEFA president Lennart Johansson had gone to put the ribbons on the European Cup while it was still 1-0 but, when he came back on to the pitch, he said he couldn’t believe his eyes since “the winners are crying and the losers are dancing”. Or, as Alex Ferguson put it, “Football, bloody hell!”.  Bayern had now lost three finals after initially winning their first three. What would the next one hold for them?

Bayern lost in the 1999 final in the worst way imaginable

Memories of Barcelona haunted the club until 2001, when Bayern had another opportunity to lift the trophy, meeting Valencia in the beautiful San Siro, in Milan. Bayern had gotten their revenge and beaten United in the quarter-finals along with Real Madrid in the semi-finals while Valencia’s attractive style of football had seen off Arsenal and a young and exciting Leeds United team. The game didn’t start off well for Bayern, with Swedish defender Patrik Andersson handling the ball with his hands inside the area in the second minute, a penalty duly dispatched by set-piece maestro Gaizka Mendieta. A few minutes later, Bayern had their own penalty, with a foul on Steffan Effenberg by Jocelyn Angloma, but Mehmet Scholl had his penalty saved by Santiago Cañizares.  By that point, it seemed as though Bayern had been cursed in European finals.

Half time came and Bayern were staring in the face of bad luck and yet another defeat. However, five minutes after the restart, Amedeo Carboni handled the ball in the area and the Dutch referee pointed to the spot once again. This time, Steffan Effenberg took the responsibility and made no mistake and levelled the score for Bayern. There was nothing between the two sides, with 90 minutes and extra time not being able to separate the sides and so penalties loomed. Again, it was level until the seventh penalty, with Paulo Sérgio and Patrik Andersson having missed for the Bavarians and Zlatko Zahovic and Amedeo Carboni having done the same for Valencia. Mauricio Pellegrino, who is now Valencia’s new coach for the next season, stepped up having to score to keep los chés in the match. However, Oliver Kahn pulled off a brilliant save and dispelled hte ghosts from Barcelona once and for all.  They had finally gotten their fourth trophy.

All was made right again in 2001

After a few disappointing performances in the following seasons of the Champions League, Bayern were back in the final in 2010. To get there, they impressively saw off Manchester United on away goals in the quarter finals after coming back from being 3-0 down in the second leg and getting it back to 3-2 with an incredible volley by Arjen Robben from outside the area. The 2-1 victory in München helped Bayern through to the semis where they made easy work of Olmpique Lyon.  The opponents in the final, Inter Milan; the venue, the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid. The Italians were managed by José Mourinho and had miraculously held off Barcelona in the semi-finals, despite being one man down for most of the match. Mourinho was Bayern manager Louis van Gaal’s apprentice at Barcelona and now met his old mentor in the final.

Bayern struggled to break down Inter’s strong defensive partnership of former Bayern player Lúcio and Walter Samuel throughout the match. They had nearly 70% possession for the whole match and 10 shots on goal. Inter were happy to give the ball to Bayern and hope for the counter attack, and proved to be an incredibly effective team, creating very few chances but being ruthlessly efficient when presented with them. Argentinian striker Diego Milito was at the head of the strikeforce and it came as no surprise when he put Inter 1-0 up ten minutes before the break, finishing a through ball by Wesley Sneijder in front of the helpless Hans-Jörg Butt. His second goal was much more spectacular. 20 minutes before the end, he turned Daniel Van Buyten inside out in the box and finished to make it 2-0 to the Italians. Despite having most of the possession, Bayern couldn’t make that last pass or threaten Júlio César’s goal too much and didn’t create much danger except for a Thomas Müller shot, who after being put through on goal, missed in front of the Brazilian goalkeeper. Inter comfortably won 2-0 in the end, with Milito and Sneijder being the stars of an Inter team that proved too strong for Van Gaal’s side.  It was probbaly the least dramatic of all Bayern’s Cup finals and the most justified loss.

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Aleix Gwilliam

Is a 27-year-old living in Barcelona who gets more pleasure from watching German lower-league football than from going to watch his hometown team at the Camp Nou every other week. Passionate about European football, its history and culture, you can follow him on Twitter at @AleixGwilliam

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