Three magic nights in Munich

Borussia Dortmund win the 1997 UEFA Champions League
© Getty Images

When Bayern Munich run out at their home stadium, the Allianz Arena, for the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League final against Chelsea on Saturday night, it will be the first time the competition’s showpiece has been held at the venue, which opened in 2005.

The city of Munich itself has considerable pedigree in that regard, however, having previously hosted one European Cup and two Champions League finals at Bayern’s former dwelling, the Olympiastadion, which was also used during the 1974 FIFA World Cup™ and UEFA EURO 1988.

English side Nottingham Forest won the first of back-to-back European titles in Munich in 1979, while the same location was the scene of both Marseille and Borussia Dortmund’s sole triumphs in the competition, in 1993 and 1997 respectively.

Although many have suggested that home advantage favours Bayern, their opponents from London - who have never lifted the Champions League - will take heart from the fact that all three winning teams in previous Munich finals were in the same position at kick-off. FIFA.com now remembers those three classic evenings in Bavaria.*

Nottingham Forest 1-0 Malmo, 30 May 1979
Francis 45’
Four years after they had been languishing in England’s second tier, Nottingham Forest became European champions. Reaching their peak under maverick manager Brian Clough, Forest had eliminated defending champions Liverpool in the first round and narrowly overcome Cologne in their semi-final after a 1-0 victory in Germany. In Munich they would meet Malmo, the only Swedish team to ever reach a European Cup or Champions League final.

The Swedes had reached the final thanks to a string of defensive displays but their strategy was spoiled for the showpiece by injuries to key players Roy Andersson and Bo Larsson. Their captain, Staffan Tapper, was also injured but chose to play, only to leave the field before half-time. Clough handed a start to his record signing Trevor Francis but positioned the striker on the wing, which would later pay huge dividends.

With Malmo trying to contain Forest, the match lacked genuine opportunities until a crucial moment on the stroke of half-time. Winger John Robertson tricked his way past several opposition players on the left wing before drifting a cross across the Malmo penalty box. Arriving at the back post at the perfect moment with the goalkeeper stranded was Francis, who directed a strong header into the net for the only goal of the match.

Marseille 1-0 AC Milan, 26 May 1993
Boli 43’
Around the turn of the decade, AC Milan were a dominant force in the European Cup. Back-to-back winners in 1989 and 1990, the last team to achieve that feat, I Rossoneri qualified for the final again in 1993. Standing in their way, though, were Marseille, a team who had previously proven their worth when they eliminated the Italian holders at the quarter-final stage two years earlier before losing the final on penalties against Red Star Belgrade.

Boasting an array of talent including Alen Boksic, Marcel Desailly, Didier Deschamps and Rudi Voller in their starting XI, Marseille were again a match for Milan in the first final to be played since the competition was rebranded as the Champions League. A single goal separated the two sides on the night, with defender Basile Boli rising highest to head home from a corner moments before the break.

By virtue of their victory, Marseille became the first and only French side to lift a European Cup or Champions League during the tournament’s 57-year history. That meeting was the first of three successive Champions League finals under Fabio Capello for Milan, who provided a masterclass performance in beating Barcelona 4-0 a year later and then lost 1-0 to Louis van Gaal’s Ajax a further 12 months on.*

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Juventus, 28 May 1997
Riedle 29’, 34’; Ricken 71’ – Del Piero 64’
Bayern would not be the first German team to take advantage of playing a Champions League final in their own country, as their Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund did just that 15 years ago. Having won both of their semi-final legs 1-0 against Manchester United, Ottmar Hitzfeld’s men faced their last obstacle in the shape of holders Juventus, who had won the competition after a penalty shoot-out against Ajax the previous season.

Undaunted by their task, Dortmund were two goals ahead after the opening period courtesy of a brace from Karl-Heinz Riedle. The German international striker capitalised on confusion in the Juventus area after 29 minutes to control and smash a left-footed strike past Angelo Peruzzi and then doubled the lead five minutes later with an accurate header from a corner.

Juve rallied, Zinedine Zidane striking the base of the post with a trademark effort from distance and Christian Vieri seeing his unorthodox, looping shot tipped onto the crossbar at full stretch by Dortmund goalkeeper Stefan Klos. The Turin outfit eventually reduced the deficit after 64 minutes through half-time substitute Alessandro Del Piero, who produced an impudent backheel flick to beat Klos.

The game was all over within seven minutes, however, as another substitute, Lars Ricken, delivered the final say. Within seconds of entering the pitch, the local lad latched onto a ball through the Juve defence and chipped Peruzzi with his first touch to secure Dortmund’s single Champions League triumph. Like Milan, coach Marcello Lippi and Juve would make it three consecutive final appearances the following season, but they were beaten again, 1-0 by Real Madrid.

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