UEFA Cup. A kind of uncertainty could be detected in this issue of the tournament – the leading football nations were a bit shaky, perhaps suggesting change of guard. West German, English, Spanish, and Italian clubs were either eliminated early or struggled against opponents they were easily beating only a short time ago. But no country was really challenging the top nations – rather, the teams were getting more equal and there were no big favourites. To a point, the leading nations were losing ground and lowering themselves. To a point, it was a sign of the 1980s – hardly any exciting and great teams. Instead, fairly equal kind of football played almost everywhere – physical, gritty. Anyhow, some big names were eliminated in the first round: VfB Stuttgart by Hajduk (Split), Atletico Madrid by Boavista (Porto), Napoli by Radnicki (Nis), West Bromwich Albion by Grasshopper, Ipswich Town by Aberdeen. More casualties in the second round: Inter (Milano) was eliminated by Dinamo (Bucharest), PSV Eindhoven by Rapid (Wien), Arsenal by Winterslag (Belgium), Borussia (Moenchengladbach) by Dundee United, Southampton by Sporting (Lisbon). In the third round the only upset was the elimination of Feyenoord by Radnicki (Nis). At this point the modest Yugoslavs were really noticed – they had a good domestic season, but the club was known to be among the top Yugoslavian clubs and the move of their star goalkeeper Dragan Pantelic to France was considered a handicap. But they played strong football so far in the UEFA Cup. The quarter-finals destroyed predictions: Valencia lost to IFK Goteborg, Real Madrid, seemingly going for easy qualification after beating 1. FC Kaiserslautern 3-1 at home, was completely annihilated in the second leg – 0-5, already mentioned Radnicki eliminated Dundee United 0-2 and 3-0, and Hamburger SV continued its precarious season with one more difficult qualification: they won their home leg against the Swiss Nechatel Xamax, hardly one of the strongest team even at home, 3-2 and managed life-saving scoreless tie in the second leg.
So, the semi-finals were quite surprising: Radnicki vs Hamburger SV and 1. FC Kaiserslautern vs IFK Goteborg. Looked like a West German final was coming but… after the first leg it was not going to be. IFK Goteborg extracted a 1-1 tie in Kaiserslautern and Hamburger SV lost 1-2 in Nis. At the end, it was 50-50: The great run of Radnicki ended in Hamburg, where the hosts took full advantage of their much stronger squad and won 5-1. In Goteborg the host prevailed, but only in extra-time – the regulat time ended 1-1, there was no winner, so the extra-time started and only now the Swedes scored the golden goal.
IFK Goteborg vs Hamburger SV. No difficulty, predicting the outcome: IFK Goteborg was no match for the Germans, who seemingly learned their lesson in the semi-final and surely were not going to give any chance to rather accidental opponent. Easy to predict… and nothing to worry about. IFK Goteborg won at home 1-0, but the goal was scored in the 87th minute and such a minimal lead was not going to hold in Hamburg. One glance at the squads was enough to tell the final winner.
Final 1st Leg, Nya Ullevi, Göteborg, 5 May 1982, att 42548
IFK Göteborg (0) 1 Hamburger SV (0) 0
87′ 1-0 G: Tord Holmgren
Wenersson; Svensson, Hysen, C.Karlsson, Fredriksson; Tord Holmgren, J.Karlsson,
Stromberg; Corneliusson, Nilsson (Sandberg 19), Tommy Holmgren (Schiller 46)
Stein; Kaltz, Jakobs, Hieronymus, Groh; Hartwig, Wehmeyer, Magath; Von Heesen
(Memering 82), Bastrup, Hrubesch
Referee: Carpenter (Ireland)
Naturally, the hosts got into focus even before the match begun, but the second leg was a big surprise. First, Corneliusson scored for IFK in the 26th minute. The second half started with IFK Goteborg leading by 2 goals. And it was 2-0 in the 61st minute, when Torbjorn Nilsson kicked the ball towards the German net.
Final 2nd Leg, Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, 19 May 1982, att 60000
Hamburger SV (0) 0 IFK Göteborg (1) 3
26′ 0-1 G: Corneliusson
61′ 0-2 G: Nilsson
63′ 0-3 G: Fredriksson (pen)
IFK won 4-0 on aggregate
Stein; Kaltz (Hidien 75), Hieronymus, Groh, Wehmeyer; Hartwig, Memering, Magath, Von Heesen; Hrubesch, Bastrup
Wenersson; Svensson; Hysen (Schiller 19), C.Karlsson, Fredriksson; Tord Holmgren, Stromberg, J.Karlsson; Corneliusson (Sandberg 67), Nilsson, Tommy Holmgren
Referee: Courtney (England)
Instantly IFK Goteborg was a big news – so unexpected was their success. Going against all odds – it was not a chancy win, extracted by cagy defensive football, full of vicious tackles. It was high-scoring brave kind of play.
Perhaps this was the finest squad of the Hamburger’s great period and that was why it was so surprising to see them lose. They were leading West German football and were more exciting than Bayern by far. Yet, international success was escaping them… Losing 0-3 at home was a bit too match, casting doubts not only of the team, but of West German football as a whole.
This victory instantly placed IFK Goteborg as number one Swedish club: Malmo FF lost finals, Goteborg got the UEFA Cup. The ascent of the team was noticed already, but nobody expected them climbing to the top of European football. IFK Goteborg reached the final without getting much attention and were the obvious losers against mighty Hamburger SV, but it was more than sweet victory of the underdog. The Swedes outplayed their opponents, destroying them at their own stadium in front of their own supporters. Against any odds. Of course, some players were already noticed around Europe, but this victory certainly established them – Hysen, Corneliusson, Stromberg, Nilsson, the new bright Swedish generation. And the mastermind behind the success also firmly established his name: Sven-Goran Eriksson. Important victory on many levels: a new talented generation proved its worth, lead by talented coach. It was entirely Swedish team – Malmo FF, which dominated the 1970s and became the first internationally successful club, was coached by Englishman. They represented an earlier generation, already stepping down – a generation, however, unable to conquer the football world. The new boys went higher already. The only problem – and very serious at that – was the future: no Swedish club was able to keep star players. Now the international market was getting larger with England and Italy eager to sign talent. Swedish players were going abroad for ages and no doubt the new stars would follow their predecessors: and they promptly did, including coach Eriksson. So, the old problem loomed again – wonderful winners, lovely team, but certainly a one-time wonder. Success was also destructive in the same time. IFK Goteborg had to enjoy the moment to the fullest, for there was not going to be anything like that again. Surely! How wrong was this certainty.