Juventus haunted by Dortmund’s familiar faces

Olympiastadion, Munich – 28/05/1997 – Final
Dortmund
Dortmund
Riedle 29, 34 Ricken 71
3 - 1
Juventus
  • Del Piero 65
Juventus
End-to-end drama

"It was a big surprise – Juve had great players and were unbeaten in two years." Ottmar Hitzfeld

1996/97

• Borussia Dortmund registered nine victories from 11 games in the competition, losing once against Club Atlético de Madrid. No other UEFA Champions League winners have had such a high win ratio.

• The 1996/97 season brought a new innovation as squad numbers were introduced, although Walter Smith fielded 1-11 for Rangers FC's group stage opener, a 3-0 defeat away to Grasshopper-Club.

• The competition witnessed its first period of extra time in a two-legged tie as AFC Ajax and Spanish Liga outfit Atlético contested a thrilling quarter-final, the Dutch side winning 4-3 on aggregate.

Four familiar faces came back to haunt Juventus in the 1997 showpiece as the curse of the UEFA Champions League holders struck again.

The reigning champions had fallen at the final hurdle in each of the last two years and, for Juve, bad luck came in threes as Karl-Heinz Riedle set Borussia Dortmund on course for a famous win. Never has revenge tasted so sweet.

Revenge, because four years earlier Ottmar Hitzfeld's side had been demolished 6-1 on aggregate by an unremitting Bianconeri in the UEFA Cup final. The blow was softened by the arrival of Julio César, Jürgen Kohler, Paulo Sousa and Andreas Möller from their vanquishers, and the quartet brought their winning habit to the Westfalenstadion – as Juve would discover.

Yet having overwhelmed AFC Ajax in the semi-finals, it was Marcello Lippi's side who arrived in Bavaria as favourites. Had Christian Vieri shown better poise early on they may have lived up to the billing. Instead it was Riedle who lit the path for the German side with two goals in five minutes midway through the first half.

First he cushioned Paul Lambert's fine cross on his chest before firing under Angelo Peruzzi and, crucially, he then struck again, meeting Möller's corner with a powerful header. The Bianconeri were not about to lie down, however. Zinédine Zidane escaped the attentions of man-marker Lambert for long enough to hit the upright, while Vieri had a deflected effort tipped onto the bar.

The Italy forward had also had a goal disallowed, and Juve finally broke through when half-time substitute Alessandro Del Piero applied a deft flick to Alen Bokšić's cross. Dortmund fans must have feared the worst, but local boy Lars Ricken swiftly allayed them.

A mere 16 seconds after replacing Stéphane Chapuisat the 20-year-old sped onto Möller's through ball before brilliantly chipping Peruzzi with his first touch. A dream introduction; a dream day for Dortmund.

Star players

  • Sammer

    Sammer took the holding midfielder mantle from father Klaus with SG Dynamo Dresden and East Germany before evolving as a midfielder-cum-sweeper with VfB Stuttgart, FC Internazionale Milano and Borussia Dortmund. The first East German to play for unified Germany, Sammer's apogee came in 1996 and 1997 when he won the UEFA European Championship, UEFA Champions League and Ballon d'Or in the space of 12 months.

  • Möller

    Möller was earmarked for success the moment Germany youth coach Berti Vogts said his intelligent passing and goalscoring ability would one day benefit the senior side. The prophecy was borne out with starring roles in Germany's success at the 1990 FIFA World Cup and EURO '96, while at club level Möller won the Bundesliga and 1997 UEFA Champions League with Borussia Dortmund, and 1993 UEFA Cup with Juventus.

  • Del Piero

    'Il Fenomeno Vero' (the Real Phenomenon) made the Trequartista role his own during a career spanning two decades at Juventus. No other player has made as many appearances for the club nor scored as many goals; few anywhere can compete with his honours, including the 1996 UEFA Champions League, five Serie A titles and the 2006 FIFA World Cup. "I'm certain Del Piero never grows old," Diego Maradona noted.

What happened next?

• Juventus endured more final misery against Real Madrid CF 12 months later and Marcello Lippi was back at the helm in 2003 when AC Milan beat them 3-2 on penalties, with Paolo Montero missing his effort.

• Borussia Dortmund rounded off their Bundesliga season three days later, a 2-1 win against 1. FC Köln sealing third place. They lost to Real Madrid in next season's UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

• Karl-Heinz Riedle departed Dortmund that summer to join Liverpool FC but never really made an impression at Anfield. One-club man Lars Ricken finished his career in 2008 with 49 league goals in 301 appearances.

• Four years later Ottmar Hitzfeld became only the second coach to win the European Champion Clubs' Cup with two clubs – after Ernst Happel – when he guided FC Bayern München to glory against Valencia CF.

• Lippi led Juventus to three more Serie A titles in 1997/98, 2001/02 and 2002/03 – he spent 1999/2000 at FC Internazionale Milano – before spearheading Italy's triumph at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

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