On 31st May 1984 the great German football rivalry of the Seventies would be temporarily revived, as FC Bayern München took on Borussia Mönchengladbach at the Waldstadion in Frankurt – in the days before the event moved to its permanent residence in Berlin.
Both sides would be looking for that coveted piece of silverware to close off their season: Mönchengladbach had finished in third in the Bundesliga and Bayern would end yet another disappointing league campaign in fourth place, and many would predict a close contest between two teams that had scored a hatful of goals in their semi-finals. Die Fohlen (“The Foals”) had edged past Werder Bremen 5-4 in extra time, while Bayern would overcome Schalke 04 3-2 in a replay in Munich after a dramatic 6-6 draw at the Parkstadion in Gelsenkirchen.
In the end, the game would be a cagey affair and garner just the two goals, as Frank Mill’s first-half strike for Mönchengladbach would be levelled eight minutes from time by Wolfgang Dremmler moments after substitute Reinhold Mathy had hit the base of the post. Extra time would come and go with the score still locked at 1-1, resulting in a penalty shootout that would carry its own dramatic subplot.
Earlier in the season, Foals’ star man Lothar Matthäus would signal the end of his time at the Bökelberg – signing for Bayern. With transfer arrangements often being made early in Germany this in itself would not be a ground-breaking story, but with the two teams meeting in the cup final everything would be set up for a moment that for Mönchengladbach fans would be clouded in controversy.
As the teams lined up for the start of the Elfmeterschießen with Mönchengladbach starting proceedings, the first man to step up would be none other than the twenty-three year old Matthäus, in his final game before heading south to Bavaria. His approach was confident and his side-footed effort would beat Bayern ‘keeper Jean-Marie Pfaff, but unfortunately it would also beat the frame of the goal. Having seen the ball fly high and to the right of both the ‘keeper and the target, Matthäus could only trudge back to his team mates waiting in the middle of the pitch.
Danish international Søren Lerby would put Bayern in front, and Norwegian Kai-Erik Herlovsen would put Borussia on the board. The coolest of kicks from Norbert Nachtweih would maintain Bayern’s advantage, and Uli Borowka’s poorly-taken shot would squirm under Pfaff – prompting a typically theatrical show of rage from the Belgian ‘keeper. Wolfgang Grobe would just about beat Foals ‘keeper Ulrich Sude to push Die Roten closer towards the finish line, but Hans-Günter Bruns would keep his side in the contest with a well-taken shot that gave Pfaff no chance.
With the scores level at 3-3 Klaus Augenthaler would have the opportunity to put Udo Lattek’s side one hit or miss away from the trophy. Instead, the usually reliable sweeper would hit the ball straight at Sude.
With the shootout now effectively entering the sudden death phase Wilfried Hannes would put Gladbach ahead, suddenly putting all the pressure on Bayern skipper Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. One need not have worried, as he stroked the ball home. And so it continued: Hans-Jörg Criens, 5-4 Gladbach. Dremmler, 5-5. Michael Frontzeck, 6-5 Gladbach. Bernd Martin, 6-6.
Up then stepped Norbert Ringels for Gladbach. He would send the ball to the Pfaff’s right, and despite diving the correct way the Bayern ‘keeper would be unable to get a hand on it… Only for the post to come to his aid! With Bayern now one kick away from the victory Michael Rummenigge would step up, and showing the same calmness as his brother he would slot his kick home. 7-6 Bayern! Pokalsieger!
The game would for a long time be a sore subject with Mönchengladbach fans, many of whom would suggest that Matthäus had missed his opening spot-kick deliberately. The player would naturally refute these allegations, and just by looking at the disappointment on his face one can see that that it was an unfortunate miss – and nothing more than that. It would be a controversial farewell.
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