European Flashback 1987: Club Brugge Stage Incredible Comeback to Stun Dortmund

With Borussia Dortmund having been paired with Club Brugge in this seasons Champions League draw, we thought we’d cast our minds back to a classic European encounter between the two clubs from yesteryear. The 1987 UEFA Cup produced an amazing tie- which unfortunately for the Schwarzgelben didn’t go in their favour.

Courtesy of their fourth place Bundesliga finish in the 1986-87 season, BVB found themselves competing in the UEFA Cup alongside fellow German sides Borussia Mönchengladbach, Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen. Since winning the European Cup Winners Cup back in 1966, Dortmund had had a very quiet time in Europe not appearing at all between 1967 and 1982.

Having overcome Celtic and Velez Mostar in the opening two rounds, Dortmund were paired with Belgian side Brugge in the third round. The first-leg at the Westfalenstadion saw Reinhard Saftig’s side cruise to a 3-0 win with goals from Frank Mill (2) and Ingo Anderbrugge all-but booking themselves a place in the quarter-final.

Captains Jan Ceulemans and Frank Mill prior to kick-off

However, the return leg two weeks later at the Jan Breydel Stadion was to go anything but according to plan. On a cold December night it took the Blauw-Zwart just nine minutes to open the scoring with Jan Ceulemans beating Gerhard Kleppinger to head in an inviting cross from the left delivered by Israeli Ronny Rosenthal. There was to be no further scoring in the first 45 minutes, but that only disguised what was to come for Dortmund.

The second period began just as impressively as the first with Brugge on the front foot and a quick goal ensuing. Just three minutes after the restart, a corner from Marc Degryse wasn’t cleared properly by the Dortmund defence and Leo Van Der Elst fired it through a crowd of legs to make it 2-0 on the night and give the home side real belief the comeback was on.

The atmosphere was electric and the voltage was upped even more when Welsh referee Ronald Bridges disallowed what looked to be a legitimate Brugge goal. Captain Jan Ceulemans thought he had scored his second only to be penalised for shirt pulling. Trainer Henk Houwaart’s side however were not going to be denied and got themselves a penalty seven minutes from time after a push inside the area on Rosenthal. Leo Van Der Elst kept his cool to fire past BVB keeper Wolfgang de Beer to level the tie on aggregate.

There was still time for some late drama with the impressive Rosenthal seeing a late goal ruled out for offside meaning the tie would go to extra-time. With their tails up, there was only ever going to be one winner and when Dortmund once again failed to clear their lines in the 100th minute, midfielder Franky Van Der Elst (no relation to Leo) rifled home a left-foot shot.

Israeli Ronny Rosenthal was a constant threat

Eight minutes later and it was 5-0 with another goal coming from the penalty spot. With Dortmund pushing forward Rosenthal raced through and after first avoiding a rugby tackle from a BVB defender, was pulled down by keeper De Beer as he tried to round him.  Once again Leo Van Der Elst dispatched the spot-kick without any bother making it 5-0 and completely turning the tie on its head going from 3-0 down to 5-3 up.

Dortmund were out having surrendered a healthy first-leg lead and having been blitzed by the Belgians in the second. There was however to be some German joy in the competition with Bayer Leverkusen beating Werder Bremen in the semi-final, before going on to beat Espanyol on penalties after finishing 3-3 over the two-legged final.

Club Brugge: Vande Walle, Tew, Broos, F.Van Der Elst, van Wijk, Beyens, L.Van Der Elst (Vereycken 119), Ceulemans, Creve, Degryse, Rosenthal (Kimoni 113)

Borussia Dortmund: de Beer, Kutowski, Storck, Kleppinger, Helmer, Pagelsdorf, Spyrka, Macleod, Lusch, Mill (Dickel 72), Simmes (Banach 18)

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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