German Teams in the Super Cup and Bayern’s Chance at Redemption

On Friday August 30th, Bayern Munich will take on Chelsea in this year’s edition of the UEFA Super Cup. Last year’s Champions League winners will take on the reigning Europa League champions at the Eden Arena in Prague for a chance at 3m Euros in prize money and the opportunity to win the trophy for the first time in club history.

As a matter of fact, it won’t just be Bayern’s first Super Cup, but the first for a German club in the competition’s 40+ year history. Since it began in 1972, German clubs have had a chance to win it on eight occasions and failed every time.  Add to that the fact that Bayern are playing a Chelsea side that beat them in their own stadium in the Champions League final two years ago and there is no shortage of incentives for the Bavarians to go out and try to win it.

1974 – Bayern Munich v FC Magdeburg

Bayern Munich’s first opportunity at the trophy came just two years after it was initiated and after they won the first of three successive European Cups. And it came against East German side Magdeburg.  It was the first of only four times that teams from the same country faced each other in this match. Bayern had beaten Atletico Madrid in historically dominant fashion to win the European Cup while Magdeburg shocked the football world and beat Milan in the Cup Winner’s Cup.

This matchup also came during a very tense political time between West and East Germany who also squared off during the summer at the World Cup.  Another meeting between the West and the East at club level was just another symbolic step in an intensifying political and sporting rivalry, which is also what makes the eventual outcome so bizarre.  The match never happened because the two clubs could not agree on a mutual date to play the game. As fate would have it though, the two met the following season in the round of 16 of the European Cup in which Bayern prevailed 5-3 on aggregate on their way to another trophy.  Surely, their next try would prove more bountiful.

1975 – Dynamo Kiev v Bayern Munich

By this point, Bayern was considered arguably the best side in Europe, but they faced a close competitor in Valeriy Lobanovskyi’s Dynamo Kiev, who stormed their way to a Cup Winner’s Cup the previous season in very impressive fashion.  Lobanovskyi was one of his time’s great tacticians and in this game almost completely neutralized Bayern’s usually dynamic and fluid attack.  They won the first leg 1-0 and the return leg in Kiev 2-0.  Bayern missed out a second time. Third time was surely a charm, right?

Watch the entire first leg as Dynamo come to the Olympic stadium in Munich and stifle Beckenbauer’s Bayern.

1976 – Anderlecht v Bayern Munich

Despite many not expecting anyone to replicate it, Bayern had just matched Ajax Amsterdam’s three consecutive European Cups with their win against Saint-Étienne.  Their opponents and Belgian champions Anderlecht had beaten West Ham 4-2 in the Cup Winners Cup final.  Bayern, despite being outplayed by Saint-Étienne in their final, were the favorites in this match and by missing out on the trophy two years running were expected to come away with it.

But once again Germany’s champions would miss out.  After beating Anderlecht 2-1 in the first leg in Munich through two Gerd Müller goals, they were comprehensively beaten 4-1 back in Brussels two weeks later.  Anderlecht combined brilliantly, catching Bayern off guard with their quick attacks while the usually confident Bavarians showed lapses in concentration and Sepp Maier made an uncharacteristic error to pave the way for another Super Cup defeat. Bayern wouldn’t get another chance for nearly 30 years.

1977 – Liverpool v Hamburg

The next year it was Hamburg’s turn to try to win one for Germany.  But they too had to wait.  This was an interesting match because it was two sides that were in the beginning stages of their greatest ever ever eras.  Liverpool had beaten fellow German side Borussia Mönchengladbach in the European Cup final while Hamburg dispatched of the Anderlecht side that had beaten Bayern in this very final in the Cup Winner’s Cup the season before.

A 1-1 draw at home at the Volksparstadion gave Hamburg a decent result to take to England but Liverpool displayed their full power and what was to come from them in Europe with a dominant 6-0 win that handed them their first Super Cup. Hamburg’s best years were yet to come though and they would reach the European Cup final three years later, the UEFA Cup final in 1982 and eventually win the European Cup in 1983 for another chance at this trophy.

1983 – Aberdeen v Hamburg

Germany had to wait five years before another German side had their chance at the Super Cup and it was Hamburg once again after they beat Juventus in the European Cup final.  Their opponents, Aberdeen, meanwhile pulled off a huge surprise of their own by beating Real Madrid in the Cup Winner’s Cup earlier that year.  At that time, Aberdeen were coached by a certain Alex Ferguson. On their way to the CWC, they also famously beat Bayern Munich 3-2 on aggregate.

As with Hamburg’s game against Liverpool five years back, the first leg was promising, a 0-0 at home that gave them, or should have given them, an advantage going to Scotland.  But Ferguson’s side were up for it and with the fervent support of the home crowd overcame them 2-0.  Ferguson would add another Super Cup in 1991 with Manchester United.  For Hamburg it was their last appearance in a significant European final.

1992 – Barcelona v Werder Bremen

Nearly a decade passed before Bremen represented Germany again in the Super Cup final.  They had gone on a remarkable run to win the Cup Winner’s Cup the previous season, beating Monaco in the final. They were up against Johan Cruyff’s Dream Team, who had beaten two German teams to reach and win the final of the European Cup.  It was regarded as Barcelona’s greatest ever side and arguably the best in the world at that time.

Although Klaus Allofs’ late goal in the first leg in Bremen gave them a hopeful 1-1 to take back to the Camp Nou, it was Barcelona’s class that prevailed in the end.  Bremen’s goalkeeper Oliver Reck was sent off in the first half and the skill and vision of Michael Laudrup was too much for Bremen to take for 90 minutes, with Barcelona running out 2-1 winners.  Another one bit the dust.

1997 – Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund

Now it was Dortmund’s turn to have a go at the trophy and Germany’s representative was up against Barcelona once more. Dortmund shocked the football world by reaching and beating Juventus, then touted as the best team in Europe, in the Champions League final while Barcelona beat PSG in the Cup Winner’s Cup final.

Boasting talented players like Rivaldo, Luis Enrique, Sonny Anderson and Luis Figo, Barcelona took a comfortable lead in the first leg, scoring off a brilliant counter attack before finishing them off with a penalty.  The Germans only managed a 1-1 in the return leg in Dortmund and so Germany had to to put their hopes of a Super Cup win on hold yet again.

2001 – Liverpool v Bayern Munich

Liverpool reached this match by contesting one of the craziest Cup finals in European football history by beating Alavés 5-4 in the UEFA Cup final while Bayern overcame Valencia on penalties in the Champions League final.  Germany’s record champions had been waiting nearly 30 years for another opportunity to win this and they were once again the favorites in this matchup.

No longer a two legged tie, this came down to one match at a neutral venue and to Bayern’s surprise, Liverpool took a 3-0 lead before the hour mark.  To Bayern’s misfortune, they were missing key players like Stefan Effenberg, Jens Jeremies and Mehmet Scholl and had to wrestle their way back into the tie.  The Germans pulled two goals back but left it too late for a third.  They had their chances but, as luck would have it, they ended up falling just short.  Little did they know that 12 years later they would get another chance.  But will they finally break their duck?

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Cristian Nyari

Cristian is a football writer and analyst living in New York City, fascinated with the history and study of the beautiful game and all it entails. Follow Cristian on twitter @Cnyari

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