Friday, May 24, 2013

Last time they won: Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are facing one another in what will be an exciting German invasion of Wembley! Both teams share a long national rivalry and play high quality attacking football so the final has all elements to become an epic clash. Furthermore, both teams have already won the Champions League before, and I vividly remember both finals where they won. In 1997 I was in university, and we were in the process of finalizing a heavy group assignment at a group member's place north of Copenhagen. We took the evening off to watch the final between Borussia Dortmund and Juventus. The final was played, of all places, in Munich, and the Italians, with a young superstar called Zinedine Zidane, were probably weak favourites after having eliminated Manchester United. But Dormund, with Ottmar Hitzfeld as coach, started attacking. Karl-Heinz Riedle scored two goals in the first half. In the second half Alessandro Del Piero scored one for Juventus but the young Lars Ricken sealed the victory for Dortmund with a goal 20 seconds after coming on as a substitute. Four years later was the last time Bayern Munich won the Champions League (but they have been in two finals since). I watched the final with my compadre Soren (whom I had also watched the 1997 final with) in a bar in downtown Copenhagen. The Germans were facing my dear Valencia, who started best, went 1-0 up, but ended up losing by penalties and breaking my heart. Incidentally, on the next day I travelled to Valencia but did not talk about football. One thing of the final in 2001 should be noted: the coach of Bayern Munich was Ottmar Hitzfeld! Same manager who four years before had led Dormund to the title. All these years after I will be watching this final in Caracas, Venezuela (who would have thought back then?), and one of these sides will be celebrating as they did many years ago!

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