What makes a Champions League final a classic? It has to be when the underdog comes out on top or there appears to have been some sort of divine intervention to help a team to win. The following five all have those traits… but dally we shall not. There’s only so many hours in the day, so buckle up and enjoy.
1994 AC Milan 4 – 0 Barcelona
Now it might be hard for some people to remember, but Barcelona PPM (Pre Pep the Manager) were actually quite good. In fact, they were a dream team, and they played some of the silkiest and best attacking football in Europe under Johan Cruyff.
The Rossoneri on the other hand, went into the game as underdogs supreme. Fabio Capello‘s side went into the game as Italian champions but had failed to win any of their last six league games and had van Basten on the physio table with Baresi and Costacurta missing through suspension. A Barca side featuring Romario, Hristo Stoichkov, Pep Guardiola and Ronald Koeman were expected to saunter their way to victory.
What followed was outstanding. A depleted Italian side that had won Serie A by scoring just 36 goals in 34 games utterly dominated and destroyed the Dream Team. Goals from Daniele Massaro (2), Dejan Savicevic and a fourth from Marcel Desailly sealed a 4-0 victory. With half an hour still left to play.
1997 Borussia Dortmund 3 – 1 Juventus
Juventus were supposed to win this game. They were looking to pick up a second successive title back in 1997 and after beating European heavyweights Ajax in the semis, they were odds on favourites. Yet, the Germans raced into a 2-0 lead at the half, with Karl-Heinz Riedle grabbing a brace.
Substitute Alessandro Del Piero pulled one back for the Old Lady, but it wasn’t to be as 16 seconds after coming on, 20 year old Lars Ricken sealed the victory for Dortmund with a delightfully chipped goal, his first touch of the game.
It was an impressive win for the German side, but it shall not be remembered for the scoreline nor the winners… It will forever be remembered because this was the day that Paul Lambert found Zinedine Zidane still hiding in his pocket.
2012 Chelsea 1 – 1 Bayern Munich (4-3 Penalties)
Surely the origin of Chelsea‘s bus? Chelsea had already beaten Barcelona thank to a Torres goal (wonders never cease), and were holding Bayern Munich at home for 80 minutes.
Chelsea were not expected to win despite the Barca heroics, and when Thomas Muller scored in the 83rd minute it looked as though it wasn’t going to be Chelsea’s night.
Didier Drogba equalised five minutes later to send the game into extra time, and Arjen Robben missed a penalty. Maybe it was going to be their night. Bayern were all over Chelsea, but the game came down to penalties and Drogba was once again the here as Chelsea made up for their shootout defeat four years prior to claim their first Champions League.
2005 Liverpool 3 – 3 AC Milan
One of the greatest of footballing comebacks ever does seem as though it was scripted. It was just meant to be. But they did it the hard way. The Scousers went in for their half time oranges and cuppas absolutely shocked after a rollicking saw them 3-0 down after goals from Paolo Maldini and two from Hernan Crespo.
Gerrard did his best Roy Keane impression and started the comeback with a great header. 60 minutes into the game, it was 3-3 thanks to goals from Smicer and Alonso. All that was left was for Jerzy Dudek to do his jelly legs routine in the shoot out, and Liverpool collected yet another Champions League trophy.
Even to this day, if a team is a couple of goals down and they pull one back, you start to hear the whispers of “Istanbul”.
1999 Manchester United 2 – 1 Bayern Munich
It’s been said (too often) that football is a game of two halves. Not this one though, this game was only a couple of minutes. The fans saw more action in three minutes than Hugh Hefner had in his life.
This was day light robbery at its finest. Bayern led for 84 minutes after scoring a cheeky low free kick. But then! Cometh the hour… Sheringham and Solskjaer were sent on as Manchester United went in search of the Promised Land.
Fergie can sum this one up: “I haven’t said anything to my players yet. I’ve just hugged and kissed them. I’ve slobbered all over them.”
After going through past finals, and especially the ones above, here’s what our research tells us: Juventus are the underdogs going into the game but history is on their side. For a goalscorer and to beef up the return, we’ve pinpointed Lichsteiner as a potential danger man. He has three goals and five assists this season – That mean’s he’s been involved in as many goals as Fernando Llorente.
We do the hard work, you reap the rewards – The milky bars are on you.