When most people think of Bayern Munich losing a European final, they think of Manchester United’s infamous comeback against the German giants in 1999, courtesy of two injury-time goals. But perhaps Bayern’s shaky nerves originated from their experience in the 1987 European Cup final against FC Porto. Die Roten went into the match in Vienna as firm favourites because of their reputation and because of having won the German league and cup double the previous season.
The team was overseen by Udo Lattek in his second spell at the Bavarian helm. His first five-year spell at the club, from 1970 to 1975, brought a hat-trick of league titles and the 1974 European Cup, earned when his Bayern side crushed Atlético Madrid after a replay. Lattek successfully squeezed the best out of the established stars Gerd Müller, Sepp Maier, and Franz Beckenbauer (the latter having recommended him for the job despite his lack of managerial experience) as well as bringing in promising youngsters like Paul Breitner and Uli Hoeneß. Most of these players were crucial in West Germany’s World Cup win that same year, placing Lattek in an almost untouchable position at the peak of the nation’s footballing conscience.
Or so he thought until a bad start to the following season led to his ousting in January 1975. Months of exile (or was it mourning?) followed until he took the job at Borussia Mönchengladbach, the other 70s West German superpower, determined to prove the Bayern top brass wrong. Two league titles, a UEFA Cup triumph over Red Star Belgrade and a European Cup Final defeat to Liverpool was the outcome of this successful spell.
Following a poor spell at Borussia Dortmund, Lattek moved on to Barcelona where he led the club to European Cup Winners’ Cup success in 1982, thus cementing a unique continental treble. But after Barcelona signing a young Diego Maradona, Lattek was ejected at the end of his second season in favour of World Cup-winning Argentine coach Cesar Luis Menotti. The German manager had never been afraid to challenge his players, famously saying: “where there is friction, there is energy”. Evidently Maradona’s friction was too much even for Lattek.
Fast forward four years and Lattek was back at the pinnacle of the German game. In the dressing room on that fateful night in Vienna, he must have been confident of a second career European Cup title. And why wouldn’t he be? Though club captain Klaus Augenthaler was suspended and regulars Roland Wohlfarth and Hans Dorfner were injured, Bayern had no shortage of talent available. Centre-back Norbert Eder, midfielder Lothar Matthäus, striker Dieter Hoeneß and fullback Andreas Brehme were fixtures for the West German national side, while in Jean-Marie Pfaff, Lattek had arguably the best goalkeeper in the world.
FC Porto were no lightweights however with the Portuguese club becoming the dominant force at home and a growing one on the continent. Lattek’s opposite number was Artur Jorge, a man who had studied football in East Germany after a successful playing career at Porto’s rival Benfica. Unlike Lattek, Jorge had worked his way through club management before getting his first big break, having coached Vitoria de Guimaraes, Belenenses and Portimonense before earning the Porto job in 1984.
His side didn’t lack quality, although injury deprived them of the prolific poacher and captain Fernando Gomes as well as centre-back Lima Pereira, but it did lack the pure star power of Bayern’s dressing room. FC Hollywood it wasn’t, although two of its players – Algerian striker Rabah Madjer and Brazilian substitute Juary – would spark a comeback straight out of the movies.
FC Porto had a somewhat easier time reaching the final than Bayern did. After dispatching Malta’s Rabat Ajax with a 9-0 home win and overcoming Czechoslovakia’s Vitkovice 3-1 on aggregate, surprise quarter-finalists Brondby gave them a scare when the Danes took the lead at home in the second leg to level the score at 1-1 on aggregate. Not for the first time, it was Brazilian forward Juary who saved the Dragões’ skin with a late equaliser to send them through to the semis with a 2-1 aggregate win.
Now came Porto’s first real test against Dynamo Kiev, who had thrashed Besiktas 5-0 in Turkey in the quarter-finals and represented arguably the outstanding team in the competition. The home leg was a cathartic 2-1 win, the opening goal a spectacular dribble and lob from winger Paulo Futre that inspired the forward to scale the fence of the Estádio do Dragão and celebrate with the fans. Midfielder António André powered home a penalty to extend the lead, and although Pavlo Yakovenko pulled a goal back in the 74th minute, Porto held their nerve and their hard-earned lead.
The away leg was strangely comfortable. Centre-back Celso scored a free-kick within four minutes then captain Gomes headed in from a corner two minutes later. Alexei Mikhailichenko scored a consolation for the Ukrainians, but the away side was comfortable defensively and eased itself into the final.
Bayern had it a little differently. Starting off confidently they saw off PSV Eindhoven and Austria Vienna 2-0 and 3-1 on aggregate respectively, but in the quarter-finals came up against Anderlecht, a team that had beaten holders Steaua Bucharest 3-1 on aggregate in the second round. But the Belgians offered little resistance and Bayern progressed with ease: goals from Michael Rummenigge, Hans Pfluegler, Roland Wolfarth and a double by Dieter Hoeneß sunk Anderlecht 5-0 in Munich, leaving them neither hope nor prayer of a comeback.
In the semi-final, Bayern took on favourites Real Madrid, who had squeezed past Red Star Belgrade 4-4 on aggregate on away goals and earlier knocked out Juventus. Lattek’s men made it look easy again and the tie was essentially over by the start of the second half of the first leg in Munich. Augenthaler scored after ten minutes then a controversial dive from Hans Dorfner led to a Bayern penalty, which Matthäus converted. Wohlfarth nabbed a third then Madrid’s Juanito was sent off for kicking Matthäus and pushing referee Bob Valentine. Against the run of play, Emilio Butragueño scored for the rattled Spaniards shortly after the red card incident and all this before half-time.
Matthäus finished the match off early in the second half with a second penalty after a handball from Mino, who too was later sent off. Madrid lost 4-1 and two of their players were now unavailable for the crucial second leg at home. That second leg was a typically tempestuous affair, delayed on the night because Madrid fans threw objects at Pfaff – and not for the first time.
Eventually, as football interspersed spells of bad behaviour from ultras, Santillana opened the scoring for Madrid to spark hopes of a comeback, further encouraged when Bayern captain Augenthaler saw red. Pfaff was in fine form and after the East German Norbert Nachtweih fell back into sweeper position – a role he would fill in the fateful final – Bayern repelled every attack the Spanish could muster.
And so to Vienna for the Final. In the 24th minute as Hans Pflügler stepped up to take a throw-in, referee Alexis Ponnet ordered Jaime Magalhães to step away from the left-back. Pflügler sneakily took advantage as his opponent tracked back, causing Magalhães to inadvertently head the ball towards his own penalty box. Bayern youngster Ludwig Kögl reacted to nod into the net. A nightmare start for the Portuguese.
Porto limped through to half-time somehow keeping the deficit to a single goal. Jorge knew a change was needed and brought on Juary, his hero in that quarter-final in Czechoslovakia, for midfielder Quim, encouraging Porto to attack. Juary kept Algerian striker Rabah Madjer supplied with searching balls, although it was only in the last 15 minutes that they proved telling.
On 77 minutes as Juary picked up a pass and ran through on goal, Pfaff immediately dashed out and dived at his feet to try and smother the anticipated shot. The Brazilian cleverly foresaw this and cheekily passed to the right for Madjer to backheel the ball past the Belgian. An audacious goal had brought Porto level. Just three minutes later, this unlikely duo added to Bayern’s misery. Madjer sprinted down the left and played a ball inside for Juary to volley it first-time into the net. Cue delirium. There would be no way back for Bayern.
For both Madjer and Juary this night proved to be the very peak of their careers with the former winning the 1987 Ballon d’Or Africain as a direct result of his performance in Vienna. Artur Jorge, the man who had brought them together, left Portugal to become something of a journeyman manager and his only subsequent achievement of note was a Ligue 1 win with Paris Saint-Germain in 1994.
It was Lattek and Bayern whose legacies endured, the former remembered as one of European football’s most successful managers, the latter as Germany’s dominant domestic club and one of the best factories for youth talent during the 1980s. But for that one night in Austria, it was FC Porto who made history.