MatchDay Memory–1974: Part 3 (1973/74 European Cup)

Forty years ago I came into the world and while I may not have made an impact on the game of soccer, it has surely made an impact on me.  Playing the game from a very early age, I didn’t start following the game until my early 20’s.  Starting with Manchester United, I eventually started reading everything I could get my hands on and watching whatever game was on, learning about the rich and complex history of the game.  My MatchDay Memory posts over the next few weeks will focus on events in world soccer during the year of my birth, 1974.  It is in no way a comprehensive summation but rather an examination of teams and incidents that I was drawn to in my research.

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Bayern Munich were on the rise in the late 60’s, winning their first German title in 1969 with a group of players that would find club and international success.  1974 brought Bayern their first European Cup.  In reviewing results I was shocked to see that Die Roten were almost knocked out at the first hurdle.  A relatively straightforward victory against Atvidaberg in Munich was quickly overturned back in Sweden with the Swedish club scoring two goals in the opening 15 minutes to level matters.  A third goal with 20 minutes remaining had the Germans crashing out before Hoeness pulled one back to force penalties, which the Bavarians won.  A quick look at aggregate scores through the rounds revealed tons of goals scored and conceded: 4-4, 7-6, 5-3, 4-1.

In the final Bayern met Atletico Madrid.  The Red and Whites were in the middle of one of their most successful periods, winning La Liga in 1970 and 1973 and securing the Copa del Rey in 1972.  No goals in the 90 minutes of regular time led to extra time, where Los Colchoneros scored with only minutes remaining.  Schwarzenbeck equalized at the death to force a replay, in which the Germans defeated the Spanish club 4-0. Watching the extended highlights, Atleti had several chances in the first half but couldn’t convert. Bayern, up 1-0 at the half, scored two goals early in the second half and cruised from there.  Reading about the games, I noticed that Bayern’s players played the entire final with one sub and the same starting 11 played the entire replay two days later.  What fitness.  The core group of German players, already winners of the 1972 European Championships, would go on to win the 1974 World Cup later that summer and two more European Cups in succession.  The club became the dominant team in Germany.
Atleti’s glory would be on the wane with only one league title occasional Copa wins until the double of 1995/96.

Franz Beckenbauer

During my research I came across several interesting names of clubs competing in the 73/74 edition of the European Cup.

In college I played for the Great Lakes Christian College Crusaders and during the 73/74 competition a team called Crusaders FC participated.  Champions of Northern Ireland, the team qualified for the European Cup and were promptly smashed 12-0 on aggregate by Dinamo Bucharest.  The 11-0 second leg scoreline was something I was very familiar with during my time at the school, both as a player and coach.

CSKA September Flag survived the first round and then took out three time defending champion Ajax before falling to Bayern Munich in the quarters.  A truly unique name, the evolution of the name of this Bulgarian club is quite complicated.  Summing up the post on Wikipedia, two clubs in Sofia, Athletic Sofia and Slava, merged in October 1923 to form AS-23.  From there a series of further mergers and name changes led to the formation of CSKA September Flag, which was the club’s name from 1968 to 1985.  Currently known as CSKA Sofia, this club would later produce Hristo Stoichkov and Dimitar Berbatov.

Skimming the results, the name TPS jumped out at me, of course referencing the TPS Reports from Office Space.  Turns out TPS is a Finnish club and the letters are short for Turun Palloseura.  During the early 70’s, the club won three league titles in five years, with the last coming in 1975.  Tepsi has not won a title since.

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I chose 1974 simply because it was the year I was born, yet in reviewing the events of those 12 months it was interesting to see how many precursors and foundations and glimpses into the future were present.  The eternal battle between disciplined defenses against attack minded opponents; players and clubs searching for the next dollar/euro/monetary unit; shock results;  the constant emergence of new and dynamic talent from all around the world.  In 1974 I imagine that there were unknown pockets of activity around the world, complete with rich storylines and regional influence, and stories these days are now part of the worldwide narrative thanks to the internet and globalization.  Teams, players, coaches and cultures are more familiar and are part of a global fabric, with the game belonging to the world and being shared with the world.  Part of the sharing is this project, which was hard work, but informative and enlightening, and I hope you have enjoyed this look back into footballing history.

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Bibliography

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