Brazil Second Level

Taca de Prata. Hard to tell what the real strength was… the group winners in the second phase moved to Taca de Ouro. These were Americano, Botafogo (Ribeirao Preto), Guarani, and Uberaba. So, the strongest so far teams were out of the competition, but 12 clubs came from Taca de Ouro for the third stage: Moto Clube, Joinville, Galicia, Fortaleza, Mixto, Rio Branco, Brasilia, Treze, Paysandu, CSA, Juventus, and Ferroviario. The third phase corresponds to 1/8 finals – 16 teams and direct elimination. Mind: of the 36 second level starters only 4 and all of them second placed in their second phase groups continued in the third level – the rest all came down from the upper level, thanks to… finishing last in the first phase of Taca de Ouro. Among the early losers were:

Bangu – second phase,

America (Belo Horizonte), better known as America MG – first phase,

Coritiba – first phase,

Santa Cruz – second phase.

In the next round the original second level teams were further reduced in half: Guarany was eliminated by CSA and

Itumbiara – by Juventus.

The rest of the eliminated teams were:


Moto Clube,



Fortaleza, and Rio Branco.

Quarter-finals eliminated the last of the original starters of 1983 Taca de Prata:

Central – by Brasilia, and

Londrina – by Joinville.

Galicia lost to Juventus and Mixto – to CSA.

The semi-finals:

Brasilia (Brasilia) was out after 0-0 and 1-1 against CSA. Rules… CSA qualified because had better 4th record. No away goals, no over-time, no penalties, no replay…just record in the previous stage. Unlucky boys from the capital city.

Joinville was also eliminated after 0-0 and 1-2 against Juventus.

The final opposed CSA to Juventus and it was the typical South American affair: goals did not count, if there was no clear winner after the two legs, a tie-breaking third match was scheduled. There was no clear winner – CSA won at home 3-1, but Juventus won its home match 3-0. They also prevailed in the tie-breaker 1-0 and won Taca de Prata.

CSA – Centro Sportivo Alagoano – from the city of Maceió, one of the traditionally strongest clubs in the state of Alagoas, did well, but it was really mixed season: too weak to last in Taca de Ouro, they were quite fine in the second level, although with luck. Luck, however, rarely carry a team to the end – if away goals decided an outcome, CSA would have been eliminated in the semi-finals. Away goal was against them in the final too, but eventually they lost the tie-breaker, so some kind of justice prevailed.

Juventus – Clube Atlético Juventus (São Paulo) was in the same position like CSA, but managed to end with a trophy. At the time Juventus was practically unheard of and it was something like a miracle they were included in Taca de Ouro. But they did not last in the highest tournament and that was just as well – up there, they had no chance to win, even if they played surprisingly strong football. Taca de Prata was their level really and here they excelled and won. Which, apart from the trophy and name as champions, gave them ‘promotion’ to the next Taca de Ouro, one more try guaranteed.


Brazil. The complicated formula remained intact: 76 teams participated in the two levels, but they were not leagues and some teams moved from one tournament to the other, according to the weird rules. 40 teams started in Taca de Ouro, the highest level, and 36 in Taca de Prata, the second level. Participants were included according the lots given to every state, which depended largely on historic strength and clout. Sao Paulo had 6 spots, Rio de Janiero – 5, and the rest of the country – 2 or 1. State championships decided representatives. Except for two clubs – the winner of the previous year Taca de Prata was promoted in a sense, and one team got place because of ‘historical ranking’: those were Campo Grande (Rio de Janeiro) and famous Santos. “Historical ranking” was a bit of nonsense… ways had to be discovered, imagined, created, so no big club to be left out. So, Santos was in… everybody was in. But for how long and what that meant? After the first phase, played in 8 groups, the last in each moved to the third phase of the lower Taca de Prata. Second to last teams went to qualification play-offs between themselves and the losers also moved to the the third phase of Taca de Prata. In the same time the winners of 4 groups in the second phase of Taca de Prata moved up to continue in Taca de Ouro. 16 clubs moved from one level to another during the outgoing championship – and this rule practically rendered meaningless not only the ‘promotion’ of the winner of the lower level, but also inclusions due to ‘historical ranking’. Taca de Prata followed similar formula, so one way or another the famous clubs were included and their movement up, at least to some point, was more or less guaranteed.

Of course, Brazilian football is almost endless, so 76 clubs hardly cover everything – many clubs remained outside the national championship.

Uniao Skina Esporte Clube naturally had no chance of playing in the national championship – mere provincial amateurs.

Tuna Luso failed to qualify.

Uberlandia also missed the boat. Standing from left: Jorginho (comissão técnica), Moacir, Zé Mário, Zecão, Joel, Luiz Cosme, Carlos Alberto, Wilmar (comissão técnica)

Crouching: Marco Túlio (comissão técnica), Gil, Chiquinho, Maurinho, Wisner, Vivinho

Confianca was also out.

ABC was also out.

From entirely unknown clubs to barely familiar ones… Much depended on geography – states with few spots may have relatively bigger club out and in the same time another lowly state would have practically unknown team playing in Taca de Ouro. At least in the beginning.

Copa Libertadores

Copa Libertadores. The usual format, established for years – five groups at first, where the representative of two countries competed and the winner proceeded to the semi-final round. The current holder joined the five group winners at this stage, the 6 teams divided into two groups of 3 teams each and their winners going to the final. Nothing all that dramatic at the opening stage:

Group 1 – Argentina and Chile. Perhaps the toughest group, but eventually Estudiantes (La Plata) came on top.

1.Estudiantes (La Plata) 6 3 1 2 8- 6 7

2.Cobreloa (Calama) 6 3 0 3 8- 6 6

3.Colo Colo (Santiago) 6 3 0 3 5- 8 6

4.Ferro Carril Oeste (Bs. Aires) 6 2 1 3 4- 5 5

Group 2 – Brazil and Bolivia. No contest here – Gremio was supreme.

1.Grêmio (Porto Alegre) 6 5 1 0 13- 4 11

2.Flamengo (Rio de Janeiro) 6 2 2 2 15-10 6

3.Bolívar (La Paz) 6 2 0 4 13-14 4

4.Blooming (Santa Cruz) 6 1 1 4 4-17 3

Group 3 – Colombia and Peru. The Colombian teams were clearly stronger, but Tolima was no match to America.

1.América (Cali) 6 4 2 0 10- 3 10

2.Tolima (Ibagué) 6 1 4 1 5- 6 6

3.Universitario (Lima) 6 0 4 2 5- 8 4

4.Alianza (Lima) 6 1 2 3 3- 6 4

Group 4 – Ecuador and Venezuela. The weakest countries grouped together, a little joke of chance. And rather surprisingly Venezuelan team won the group.

1.Atlético (San Cristóbal) 6 3 2 1 8- 4 8

2.El Nacional (Quito) 6 3 1 2 7- 4 7

3.Barcelona (Guayaquil) 5 1 2 2 7- 9 4

4.Táchira (San Cristóbal) 5 0 3 2 1- 6 3

Group 5 – Uruguay and Paraguay. The Uruguayans were simply too strong and extra match decided the winner between them.

1.Nacional (Montevideo) 6 4 1 1 12- 4 9

2.Wanderers (Montevideo) 6 3 3 0 9- 5 9

3.Nacional (Asunción) 6 1 2 3 6-12 4

4.Olimpia (Asunción) 6 0 2 4 3- 9 2


First Place Playoff

May 26: Nacional – Wanderers 2-0

[Luzardo, Aguilera]

Semi-final stage:

Group 1: Once again an Uruguayan battle, for the Venezuelans were way too weak to play any role. Penarol prevailed in the classic Montevideo derby, played this time on international stage.

1.Peñarol (Montevideo) 4 3 1 0 5- 1 7

2.Nacional (Montevideo) 4 2 0 2 8- 6 4

3.Atlético (San Cristóbal) 4 0 1 3 2- 8 1

Group 2. To a point, Gremio was lucky – they finished with 5 points, but their Argentinian pursuers still had one game to play and if they won the away match with America, a play-off had to be scheduled. But the Colombians held Estudiantes at a 0-0 draw and thus left them at the second place.

1.Grêmio (Porto Alegre) 4 2 1 1 7- 6 5

2.Estudiantes (La Plata) 4 1 2 1 6- 5 4

3.América (Cali) 4 1 1 2 2- 4 3

So, Gremio and Penarol went to the final, the Uruguayans with a strong chance to win the South American trophy for a second consecutive year and the Brazilians hoping to win it for the first time. It was typical heavy South American clash, with no favourite – relative strength or weakness practically played no role, the sides fueled by ambition. The first leg in Montevideo ended undecided – 1-1.


1st leg. Centenario, Montevideo, 22- 7-1983


Peñarol – Grêmio 1-1

Morena 1-0

Tita 1-1


Peñarol: G.Fernández, W.Olivera, N.Gutiérrez, N.Montelongo, V.H.Diogo, M.Bossio, W.Silva (J.Villarreal), M.Saralegui, F.Morena, J.L.Zalazar, V.Ramos.

Grêmio: Mazaropi, Baidek, De León, Paulo Roberto, China, Casemiro, Renato, Osvaldo, Caio (César), Tita, Tarciso.


Referee: Teodoro Nitti (Argentina)

Attendance: 70,000


The second leg in Porto Alegre only slightly favoured the home team – very often a third match had to be staged to decide the Copa Libertadores winner.

Almost ironically, it was bearded Uruguayan final – captains Hugo de Leon and Walter Olivera before the match started: both defenders, both Uruguayan stars, neither played World Cup finals, but if Olivera was getting old and this was one of his last chances to triumph internationally, De Leon was coming to his prime, a current star of the 1980s football.

Of course, there was nothing friendly on the pitch, both teams determined to win.

Eventually, Gremio scored, thanks to Caio, but Fernando Morena canceled the fragile lead.

Gremio did not give up, of course, and managed to score a second goal – interestingly, the substitute of Caio, Cesar directed the ball into the net.

Cesar celebrates.

Gremio was happy and Penarol had no answer this time – the match ended 2-1.

2nd leg. Olímpico, Porto Alegre, 28- 7-1983


Grêmio – Peñarol 2-1

Caio 1-0

Morena 1-1

César 2-1


Grêmio: Mazaropi, Baidek, De León, Paulo Roberto, China, Casemiro, Renato, Osvaldo, Caio (César), Tita, Tarciso.

Peñarol: G.Fernández, W.Olivera, N.Gutiérrez, N.Montelongo, V.H.Diogo, M.Bossio, W.Silva, M.Saralegui, F.Morena, J.L.Zalazar, V.Ramos.


Referee: Edison Pérez (Peru)

Attendance: 80,000

Copa Libertadores got new winner and to the delight of the massive home crowd Hugo de Leon received the coveted trophy.

Penarol lost, which of course did not please them in the least, but it was fair – the team was getting too old, they won everything possible already and were not getting stronger – it was time to step down. Nobody can blame the Uruguayans, though – their football may not have been the prettiest, but they were fighters and gave everything they had.

Greamio extracted difficult victory and added its name to the list of the greatest South American clubs. Standing from left: Paulo Roberto, Mazaropi, Baidek, China, Casemiro, de Leon.

First row: Renato Gaucho, Osvaldo, Caio, Tita, Tarciso.

A wonderful team at its peak this year – not everybody was a big star, but this victory more or less established bright new talent – Tita and Tarciso. There was more to it – Brazilian clubs rarely won Copa Libertadores and Gremio was only the 4th team to do so, after Santos, Cruzeiro, and Flamengo. Locally, it was even better – Inter (Porto Alegre) played a final once and lost it, so Gremio came ahead of their home rivals. Their victory practically placed Porto Alegre on the map on one hand, and on the other – the formidable team Inter had in the 1970s never managed to win internationally. Gremio, somewhat in the shadow of various Brazilian clubs and their mighty squads, did what others were unable to do – conquer South America. Wonderful achievement.

Intercontinental Cup

The Intercontinental Cup was played on December 11, 1983 in Tokyo. Hamburger SV (West Germany) vs Gremio (Brazil). By now, both teams had some changes, which, initially, appeared to tip the scales in favour of the European champion – Hrubesch was no longer with them, but Gremio was without Leao, more serious loss, considering the general weakness of Brazilian goalkeepers at the time. Yet, it was not easily predictable match – HSV lost quite a lot of its strength after winning the European Champions Cup in the spring, Europeans lost to South Americans all finals played after 1976, Gremio, lesser known to Europeans than other Brazilian clubs, had big group of formidable players. Weather was supposed to help the Germans, for, in theory, South Americans were not used to winter conditions and cold. On the other hand, Brazilians were traditionally very difficult opponent for German teams, no matter what.

The teams came out in front of 62 000 enthusiastic and predominantly Japanese crowd – the Japanese preferred Brazilian football, but they were too polite to create hostile atmosphere, so neither team was going to benefit by the ’12th player’: the hosts were going to cheer both teams, every great effort, and generally abstain from booing.

The match proved to be entertaining clash, played in very fast tempo and neither team shied away from the typical aggressive physical tackles and close marking of the 1980s football.

What was interesting, may be even surprising, was the conditions of Gremio – the Brazilians matched the Germans, never showing any sign of getting tired and slowing down.

Both teams played open, attacking football, and more technical Brazilians eventually started to prevail.

However, it was tiny difference – the Germans attacked at the moment they got the ball, they had their chances, but Gremio was slightly more dangerous and certainly more creative.

Which gave them more opportunities to shoot at the German net – midfielders and defenders were very good at killing attacks, so the chances to score were few, but Gremio had more and better ones than HSV. And they scored in the 38th minute – Renato Gaucho was the hero.

Hamburger SV eventually equalized in the 85th minute, thanks to Schroder, and the match went into extra-time.

Now Renato Gaucho scored his second goal – in the 93rd minute, which was somewhat too early against unbreakable Germans. But Gremio managed not only to keep its fragile lead, but also continued to attack to the last minute and was still the more dangerous team. At the final whistle it was precious 2-1 and Gremio was the King of the World.

Tokyo, National Stadium

December 11, 1983 Att: 62,000 Ref: Michel Vautrot (FRA)


Hamburger SV (GER) 1-2 (0-1) aet Grêmio FBPA (BRA)

0-1 38′ Renato Gaúcho

1-1 85′ Schroeder

1-2 93′ Renato Gaúcho


Hamburger SV : Stein – Wehmeyer, Hieronymus, Jacobs, Schroeder, Groh, Rolff, Magath, Hartwig, Hansen, Wuttke

Grêmio FBPA : Mazarópi – Paulo Roberto, Baidek, De León, Paulo César Magalhães, China, Osvaldo (Bonamigo), Mário Sérgio, Renato Gaúcho, Tarciso, Paulo César Caju (Caio)

Hugo De Leon received the Intercontinental Cup after well deserved victory.

And happiness was endless.

One more name added to the list of best teams in the world – Gremio.

Hamburger SV came close, but lost. It was bitter ending of the year – they lost the Supercup, then lost the Intercontinental Cup… the fall of 1983 was not the same as the spring of the same year. Something was missing, the form was not quite the same. HSV were fighters, but largely fighters now. Hard to point a finger at some major deficiency – they were still hungry, they tried their best, but came a bit short. The absence of three players was quite visible – Hrubesch, Kaltz, and Bastrup. Without them, HSV had problems in attack – it was not so creative, it was not so dangerous, there was no prominent scorer, the edge was lost. HSV was not going to dominate club football, that much was becoming increasingly sure – somewhat they reached their peak and started their slow sliding down this very year.

Gremio had its finest season so far, conquering the world. Strangely, this squad did not get proper attention, although they deserved closer look: they more than matched German strength without losing their technical and creative edge. They battled well, but also produced moments of magic, which was increasingly becoming rare seen. Perhaps the reason was that most of the players were practically unknown in Europe – Paulo Cesar Lima or Paulo Cesar Caju was by far the best known star, but he was kind of dismissed by now, considered too old and even a bit suspect, for he was remembered largely with disappointments: at 1974 World Cup and later with disastrous season with Marseille (France). But the old master was simply great in 1983 and his age did not show at all. China was largely Brazilian star and since he hardly ever played for the national team, remained unknown in Europe. Renato or Renato Gaucho did not impress with the national team, largely because he played during rather lean time for Brazil. Tarciso and Mario Sergio were seen, quite wrongly, as potential future stars – just ‘discovered’. The formidable Uruguayan central defender and captain of the team Hugo de Leon was not considered a star because a) Uruguay was out of view since 1974 and b) de Leon did not move to Europe. But this group of players was world class and the rest blended well too – so good, that the qualities or the lack of them of Mazaropi remained entirely hidden: the goalkeeper had little to do most of the time. Compared to HSV, Gremio did not suffer from the absence of a key star – Leao was still the best Brazilian goalkeeper by far, but even against Germans his absence was not felt. The only problem Gremio faced was the future: Paulo Cesar Lima was not forever and Renato, Mario Sergio, and Tarciso were very likely to be transferred to European clubs. As any other South American club, Gremio had little chances for keeping stars at home – both club and players needed big European money.

European Player Of The Year

European Player of the Year. The usual vote resulted in familiar by now no-contest: one player was practically out of any even remote competition.

Michel Mlatini got 110 points. Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool, Scotland) was second with 26 and Alan Simonsen (Vejle, Denmark) – third with 25 points.

Introducing Platini is pointless – he was already superstar and everybody knows of him, for good or bad, today. But this was the first time he was voted the best European player. And was it right decision? This time it was, after years of detected doubtful choices. Yet, there was something a bit bitter… that there were few really outstanding players in Europe was noticed for some time. Football changed, so individuals did not shine as much as they did before 1970. And there was decreasing number of incredible talent – whether it was just a freak of nature, or a result of uniformed training and molding was open to debate, no matter how futile such debate, but the fact remained. Platini belonged to almost forgotten by now category of true stars and was at his peak – 28-years old, and just joined Juventus, thus able to play for outstanding club, where his talent was going to fully flourish. Platini was pretty much alone, though – inconsistent or outright bad form, age, injuries, conflicts with coaches, difficult adaptation to new environment reduced the possible rivals to none. Instead, oldish players got votes – and let see why. Kenny Dalglish, already 32, had disastrous year with Liverpool and also his play did not improve, nor was going to improve at this age – he already reached the peak of his abilities, but remarkably stayed at his peak for years. Consistency was the key: even when Liverpool played poorly, Dalglish was not to blame. Compared to other current stars, he was quite obvious choice, for they were excellent this year. Alan Simonsen, 31 and no longer interesting for big clubs – released from Barcelona, he played a bit in English Second Division, and returned home to play for Vejle, which was not just going downhill, but rather signaled approaching retirement. But he was still the key player for the national team of Denmark, which was rapidly rising and got many praises – riding on that, Simonsen came back. He was seen as the motor of the new bright Danish squad.

Meantime others had difficulties – Breitner and K.-H. Rummenigge were clearly not the same, Schuster were more in the new for conflicts than for brilliant performance, Gerets got involved in bribing scandal, Boniek had difficulty finding his place in Juventus – what looked like lethal duo, a dream for many a coach – Platini-Boniek – was not exactly dynamite. However, Platini still played better and something almost forgotten happened: the top European player was not playing for a winning club. Juventus lost the title in 1982-83 and also the European Champions Cup final. France had no official games, for they were hosting the 1984 European Championship and did not have to go the trials of qualification. Ir was overall performance, with minor problems and more brilliant ones, which made everybody seeing Platini as the best.

And since the player of the year was decided at the end of the year, the new season was already in full swing – this time Platini and Juventus got together well, it was strong and recent finish. Well deserved award, although some felt it was coming a bit late and Platini was overlooked in the last 2-3 years. As for him, when he was asked who he thinks best, it was Bryan Robson of Manchester United. The specialists placed him 10th with 13 points… and the overwhelming winner thought this lowly creature better than anyone better than Platini.

The Golden Shoe

The Golden Shoe was awarded to the Portuguese striker Fernando Gomes (FC Porto), coming on top with 36 goals and followed by Peter Houtman (Feyenoord, Holland) with 30 goals and Anastopoulos (Olympiakos, Greece), 29.

It was formidable achievement, for Gomes scored 36 goals in 30 championship games – more than goal per match average,which happens rarely and is a real sign of natural scorer. As is often the case with such players, Gomes was not outstanding player, but in front of the net he always found the way to put the ball in. Born in 1956, he was still young, but his reputation was already high and he was also in the right club – FC Porto was ascending and Gomes started his career with them in 1972, which excatly corresponded with the rise of the club. However, he was just starting his second spell with his home club – after scoring 125 goals in 158 appearances, he moved to Sporting (Gijon, Spain) in 1980. It was a mistake, for apparently he did not fit and after scoring 12 goals in 27 games, he returned home in 1982. And became the top European scorer right away. Naturally, his talent was not unnoticed and he was national team player since 1975, thus becoming integral part of the Portuguese revival in the 1980s and playing at the European finals in 1984 and the 1986 World Cup. One of the most prolific scorers of the 1980s.

Fernando Gomes in action.



The Supercup. Hamburger SV vs Aberdeen. It was played in November and December of 1983, with a whole month between the two legs. If it was May, everybody would be certain in the victory of the Germans – but now it was different story. As usual, the Supercup itself attracted little interest – it was not just because it was at the end of the season: it was different season altogether. People were focused on the last qualification matches for the European Championship in 1984. On club level, there was the current domestic championships to worry about. Internationally – the new issue of the European cups and in them West German did not fair well at all. It looked like West German football was losing its edge and particularly Hamburger SV seemingly reached its peak and inevitable decline was beginning. On the other hand, Aberdeen, spurred by its European success was getting stronger and better. They also managed to keep the squad intact, including Alex Ferguson and Gordon Strachan. Hamburger SV was still coached by Happel, but there were changes – minor ones, on the surface, but since the team was playing no better, but worse, apparently important in the negative sense. Horst Hrubesch was out, playing now for Standard (Liege). His transfer was no secret back in May, he was getting quite old too, it did not look like big deal… now it looked the opposite. Kaltz was no longer the same and fragile Bastrup was seemingly permanently injured. The new recruits were not particularly beneficial and suddenly Hamburger SV appeared a rather ordinary squad, having problems in the attacking line. Netzer, HSV manager, was ready to throw the towel – before the second leg with Aberdeen he declared that if HSV loses again, he will quit. Alex Ferguson, cautious as before, urged that Germans are Germans – after losing so much this fall, they had their last chance to win and will be particularly dangerous. Well, he had still in mind reality – even when getting better, Aberdeen did not have the same class of players HSV had, even when weakened. Yes, the inferiority complex was seemingly broken down in the spring, but now there was something else: Aberdeen could be overconfident, arrogant and cocky – not a good idea against Germans.

However, the opening leg in Hamburg ended scoreless.

1st Leg, Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, 22 Nov 1983, att n/a


Hamburger SV (0) 0 Aberdeen (0) 0


Hamburger SV: Stein, Jakobs, Hieronymus, Wehmeyer, Groh, Schröder, Hartwig (Wuttke 46),

Magath, Rolff, Schatzschneider, von Heesen

Aberdeen: Leighton, Cooper, Rougvie, Simpson, McLeish, Miller, Strachan, Hewitt,

McGhee, Bell, Weir

Referee: Christov (Czechoslovakia)

The devil was not all that bad, but still was the devil… Smiling… There was no much to smile about after the referee started the second leg. Aberdeen was better, they pushed forward from the first moment and never stopped.

Aberdeen in control most of the time, Hamburger SV had mostly defending to do,

and in the second half was down on its knees twice – Aberdeen scored 2 unanswered goals. And it was absolutely fair – they were the better team, it would have been a travesty if Hamburger SV managed even a tie. As it was, though, HSV was rather toothless and was outplayed.

Aberdeen celebrated its goals and won the Supercup.

2nd Leg, Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen, 20 Dec 1983, att n/a


Aberdeen (0) 2 Hamburger SV (0) 0

47′ 1-0 A: Simpson

65′ 2-0 A: McGhee

Aberdeen won 2-0 on aggregate


Aberdeen: Leighton, McKimmie, Simpson, McLeish, Miller, McMaster, Strachan, Hewitt

(Black 65), McGhee, Bell, Weir

Hamburger SV: Stein, Kaltz (Hansen 68), Jakobs, Hieronymus, Wehmeyer, Groh, Schröder,

Hartwig, Magath, Rolff, Schatzschneider (Wuttke 41)

Referee: Brummeier (Austria)

Kings of Europe! As usual, the Supercup matters little and hardly ever inspire some analytic observations, but this time was impossible to brush over the whole affair with often made excuses: the losing team did not care for this trophy, too tired, too busy, already in holiday mood – Hamburger SV needed victory if only to restore confidence. And they were outplayed. Aberdeen was in great from, looked stronger than half a year ago, even when handling multiple tasks at the moment – championship, Scottish cups, European tournament, plus providing players for the national team of Scotland. It was important victory for the club – winning it, asserted the place of Aberdeen among the best at the moment. Best in Europe – not a laughing matter in Scotland. As for the team, it was the same as in the spring, so it will redundant to evaluate strength and weaknesses – they were the same, the biggest problem: keeping players and coach with the club. But much was achieved – ‘France Football’ voted Aberdeen the best European club if the year. As for local pride, Aberdeen was not only at par with Celtic and Glasgow Rangers now, but ahead of them – Celtic had one European Champions Cup and Rangers – one Cup Winners Cup. Aberdeen had two – Cup Winners Cup and Supercup.

European Champions Cup

European Champions Cup. No major upsets until the ¼ finals. Ideology and politics played a role in the second round – Albanian 17 Nentori (Tirana) and Dinamo (Kiev) were paired together by the draw and the Albanians refused to play, the Soviet team qualified for the next round. And there they were eliminated by Hamburger SV – the first leg decided the clash: the Germans won 3-0 away. But here Polish Widzew (Lodz) met Liverpool and the unexpected happened – the Poles won 2-0 the home leg and managed to preserve their lead in hostile Liverpool. The hosts won, but only 3-2 and Widzew qualified. It seemed that English domination came to end – Aston Villa was also eliminated at the ¼ finals after losing both legs to Juventus. No English club reached semi-finals in any European tournament this year. However, the draw was easy on the big clubs this year too, so at the ½ finals the pairs were Real Sociedad vs Hamburger SV and Widzew vs Juventus. To a point, in both cases it was enthusiasm vs class and class prevailed. Hamburger SV tied the first leg 1-1 and then won in Hamburg 2-1.

The extraordinary run of Widzew ended here too – and in amusing way as well. To a large degree Widzew came out of obscurity thanks to Zbigniew Boniek However, the biggest European success of the club came without him- he was already sold to Juventus. And it was Boniek and Juventus ending preventing Widzew to reach the final. A rather ironic twist, but objectively Widzew was no match for Juventus. They had a few strong players, this time lead by Smolarek, but were especially strong squad. The fairly tale ended after 0-2 loss in Turin and 2-2 tie at home.

And the big final – Juventus vs Hamburger SV. The established powerhouse of Europe, West Germany vs rapidly recovering lost ground Italy. Neither club won this cup before, so both were eager and hungry. Both teams were mighty on paper, but no paper tigers here – both opponents were really strong, full of national teams players, world and European champions, some of the top stars of the recent years – it was even difficult to start making a list for who would be on top? Platini? Magath? It was a clash of coaches too – old fox Happel, who made nothing but champions, and already reputed Trapattoni, still young and very hungry for success. In fact, when the foes stepped on the pitch, only one thing was easy – to name those, who were not famous and even wonder why they were there: Brio and Groh. No favorite here, a clash of giants and expectations were very high. The clash was there alright, but, as often is the case when highly praised teams meet, expectations did not materialize.

The smiles were wiped out as soon as captain Hrubesch and Zoff moved a step away from the photographs.

The final was a battle

Tough and merciless, with bodies on the ground – bodies not outplayed, but rather failing in their attempt to tackle the opponent.

At first Juventus pushed forward and since Italians were not known for such adventures, it looked like that Juventus was stronger this day. However, Hamburger SV was unruffled and defense is no mystery for the Germans. The initial assault ended in the 7th minute, when Magath surprisingly turned and shoot from big distance.

It was surprise kick out of the blue and on target.

It stopped in the net. Magnificent goal, exciting, even magical moment, but… instant replay was common feature on television. Beautiful as it was, this goal should not have happened – it was typical Zoff’s goal. It was a weakness known for years – Zoff was vulnerable to long shots, he often missed them and reacted late, if at all. It was a surprise shot, surely, but a world champion keeper with over 20 years of experience and considered among the best keepers in the world for about 10 years straight should not be caught like that. It shows even on the picture – Zoff is hesitating, awkward, late… one should think that Happel instructed his players to try precisely such shots and Magath followed the advice.

The early goal turned the table around – Hamburger SV usual the Italian shock to its advantage, pushed and pressed, and dominated the first half. As a whole, Hamburger SV was in control and more effective – even when the roles were reversed in the second half and Juventus looked more dangerous and possessing the ball, the Germans were together, cool, not falling apart, and absolutely sure what they were doing. Defense was what they were doing for the most time of the second half.

If the first half was German,

most of the second half was Italian – but still there was difference. Felix Magath, above, was the key German figure, a playmaker often able to organize attacks, Roberto Bettega was somewhat isolated – he appeared the most dangerous Italian striker, but when he had the ball it was more likely not to be a result of a well organized attack, but his own individual effort. Small differences, but telling…

Scoring opportunities were few and actual shots even fewer,

but the Germans were better in getting the ball first and at least able to finish the attack.

For all its push in the second half, Juventus displayed rather chaotic play and some deficiencies became painfully visible – Rossi was entirely lost. It was not very clear what his role to be – the prime striker, for whom scoring opportunities should have been created and the ball passed to him. If that was the idea, it was understandable why Bettega was moved a bit back and given secondary role. However, nobody was creating opportunities and no ball was passed to Rossi. Platini failed as playmaker, if it was his role for the day, which was also unclear. Bettega was the better option in front against tough physical German defenders – and Juventus was more dangerous when he moved in front, but… that was obviously not the game plan. Rossi roamed aimlessly this way and that way, the Italians passing to him, instead to Bettega, Platini passing to midfielders instead to strikers and what was Boniek role was a pure mystery first of all to him. The whole push ahead in the second half was largely a result of individuals efforts – Platini took clearly attacking role, but Boniek, when the ball went to him simply dribbled alone, trying to do it alone – thus Bettega and Rossi were practically out of the game. It was quite disjointed play, the key stars seemingly convinced that no partner will give them the ball, so why even searching for a scoring position – it was better just to get the ball and try to reach the German net alone. It almost worked… in the 72nd minute it looked like Stein brought down Platini, but the referee did not whistle. The Italians protested, but no call. And that was their best opportunity.. right after that the Germans gained control of the game again, missed two scoring opportunities, but in any case it was their game to the end. As a whole, a great battle, but unattractive… Four yellow cards, a lot of running and tackling, few scoring opportunities, few shots at the nets and defenders, including defensive midfielders more impressive than superstar strikers and attacking midfielders.

Final, Olympiakos Stadium – Spiros Louis, Athens, 25 May 1983, att 75000

Hamburger SV (1) 1 Juventus (0) 0

7′ 1-0 H: Magath


Hamburger SV (trainer Happel): Stein; Kaltz, Hieronymus, Jakobs, Wehmeyer; Groh, Rolff, Magath, Milewski; Bastrup (Von Heesen 55), Hrubesch

Juventus (trainer Trapattoni): Zoff; Gentile, Brio, Scirea, Cabrini; Bonini, Tardelli, Bettega; Platini, Rossi (Marocchino 55), Boniek

Referee: Rainea (Romania)

Familiar, but new for Hamburger SV picture – the winners making their round with the trophy. The moment of glory. Particularly sweet after prevailing in a great battle.

Juventus lost a second European Champions Cup final with the same result as the first time – 0-1. It was unfair, to Italian eyes – they were robbed of a penalty. Fuel was added by Happel’s answer to the question – he did not see what happened, TV cameramen blocked his view. The typical evasion of the truth… no coached ever saw the obvious,when robbery benefited him. Was it a penalty or not, was not clear at all – careful watching of the moment rather shows the referee was right. Yet, it could have been called… but even if it was called, so what? If scored, it would have been a tie. And a tie was pretty much the most Juventus deserved – they were much weaker than Hamburger SV, had more trouble reaching the German penalty area, fewer shots, and were quite unable to create scoring opportunities. Juventus was to blame for something obvious – Platini, Boniek, Rossi, and Bettega were unable to work together. Their teammates seemed often lost as of whom to give the ball – by habit, it seemed, the Italians chose to pass to either Rossi or Bettega instead of Boniek or Platini. But the strikers, told to get the ball from Platini, were simply not in the right position – or not at the expected place at all – for a pass from Italian defender. Rossi in particular was quite uncertain of his position and lost for the most of the game, reduced to nothing, and finally substituted – although, the reason given was injury. Absolutely ineffective. As a whole, the combination Rossi-Bettega was rather weak and perhaps it was just fine that Bettega was leaving. But with them in front, it was entirely unclear what position Boniek was playing – a pure striker he was obviously not and playmaker was supposed to be Platini. In limbo, Boniek was more or less out of the game in the first half. In the second he decided to take all in his hands, trying to get some result individually – and competed with Platini,who decided the same. There was sense of desperation… Bettega also tried to play alone – and what else, since nobody was trying to play with him and for him. It was quite obvious that Bettega was more dangerous in front of the net, when he was the typical center-forward – but apparently that was not the game plan, so instead of seeking him, the ball was passed back to Rossi. If at all passed to a striker. And passed not by Platini, but from some of those with supportive roles. Perhaps it should have been organized differently – Platini as dispatcher in midfield, passing the ball in open space at the flanks to Rossi as a winger, and he crossing to the front of the net, creating opportunity for Bettega and coming from back Boniek. Something like that… or even Boniek used as a winger. Easy to gibe advice after the fact… and the fact was Juventus was rather disappointing.

Nobody criticizes winners – particularly in the heat of the moment: then they are praised to the skies, they are great, outstanding, the best ever. No denying – it was the finest moment of the finest year of Hamburger SV. Happel did it again, whatever he touched ended a champion. It was also a culmination of steady rise of the club, which started in 1975 – coaches and players changed, so only Manfred Kaltz remained from that first team. No longer young… Was it the best vintage is hard to say – there were players like Keegan before – but without a doubt this was the most successful vintage. And since so far the transformations of the squad were successful, there was every reason to believe that Hamburger SV was building a dynasty and joining the small number of the greatest and mightiest European clubs. There was already a tread of continuity – Happel and Hrubesch would be gone, it was already certain – but before them other coaches and players of similar caliber were gone and the team only became stronger. However, there was something else… by now, German football was no longer attractive – only strong, disciplined, competent, and physical. And Hamburger SV was no exception – earlier vintages were more attractive to the eye. These guys were exactly outplaying the opposition – they only prevailed over opponents. They fought and extracted victory – 1-0 was a victory. Magath scored wonderful goal, but it was also a lucky goal… and it was enough. And it was quite telling that the goal was practically the only bright and memorable moment – the rest was just battle, nobody really shined, it was a victory remembered just because it was victory – the football was easily forgettable, a match nothing to talk about. Hardly to blame Happel for that – he played the football the players at hand were able to play: he had Germans, he made competent sturdy team. Winners – that was what he always made. It is always difficult and suspect to judge harshly teams playing against Italians – for chances for entertaining football were slim on such occasions – but Hamburger SV did not particularly excited viewers and… did not build a dynasty. In fact, this victory was their finest moment, their peak. It was May and everything looked great, the future even greater. Comes November… so let stay in May. Brand new European champions. An excellent result of good work, started years ago. German football is still the European leader. Hamburger SV joined the ranks of the greatest. Magath is more effective than Platini.

Cup Winners Cup

The Cup Winners Cup. Given the current state of affairs – lots of lowly teams – upsetting results were practically impossible. Unless there was a joke, played by Lady Luck, pairing strong teams early, results were easily predictable. And so they were until the ¼ finals. Even there the surprises spoke more of the short-comings of big clubs than particularly inspired playing of the underdog. Paris SG was eliminated by Belgian Waterschei Thor. A lesson: by now, most teams were pretty much equal in terms of physical condition and basic contemporary tactics (run, tackle, cover the whole field). Three aging experienced players prevailed over studded with stars, but mismatched and rather clueless team. Austria (Vienna) eliminated Barcelona. Similar story… Schuster, Maradona… out. Bayern was kicked out by Aberdeen. Same thing. Aberdeen were not playing better football than Breitner, Rummenigge, and company… neither team showed interesting football – it was just heavy battle, in which Aberdeen had more guts. The fixtures displayed more of the troubles Bayern had than possible class of Aberdeen. But it was psychologically important victory, reminding the rise of Ajax ten years ago: back then Cruijff and company considered their victory over Arsenal most important: they overcome the sense of inferiority and after beating revered representative of British football felt that they can beat anybody. Which they did. Now Alex Ferguson spelled out the same: eliminating mighty Bayern brought confidence and everything was possible. It was not a matter of skill – it was a matter of the mindset. Inter and Real Madrid were unlucky to play against each other, but here surprise was impossible – one team had to be eliminated, one goal decided which – Inter was out.

The semi-finals hold no mystery – Aberdeen walked over Waterschei Thor 5-1 and the second leg did not matter at all. Austria (Vienna) did their best, which amounted to 2-2 tie at home. In Madrid there was no contest – Real won 3-1.

So, Real Madird vs Aberdeen. Real was the favorite – not just tradition and money were in their favour: the Spaniards simply had much stronger squad. Alex Ferguson again emphasized psychology and the need to fight inferiority complex, but here perhaps the opponents were pretty much in the same boat: if the Scots had to overcome respect and fear of arguably the mightiest club in the world, consider the pressure Real had – the club did not won anything internationally after 1966. The 1970s were pretty lean. Scottish fans perhaps would not be very harsh on their team, if Real won, but in Madrid the reaction was surely to be violent, if the trophy went to Scotland – the opponent was not leading European club, no excuse. Fear of losing is no joke, especially when the team was not all that great in the domestic championship.

Still, the finalists were quite mismatched and Real was seen as big favourite – Aberdeen gained some points in his favour, though: 12 000 out of 17 000 attendees in Goteborg were Scots, so Aberdeen was practically playing at home. The weather smiled at Aberdeen too – three hours before the game heavy rain started and mercilessly poured down until the end of the final: once again, it was just like at home,

Aberdeen was used to play in such conditions, Real was not. Even if it was perfect dry evening, football would have been the same, I am afraid – both teams were determined to fight, driven by their predicament. Aberdeen was not going to play some fancy football, even if they capable of such – they had to compensate for the fact that Real was much classier squad with fighting spirit, tight covering, tackles, hunting and destroying any Spanish attempt for creativity. On the other side, long tradition made Real predictable – what was ugly about Spanish football in general, was the quick replacement of football with war. If the opponent was of similar mind – and the simple straight-forward British approach to the game looked like war to Spaniards – football left Spanish mind at about 5th minute of the game.

That is why little could be said for the match – it was ‘masculine’. Muscular. A battle. In this battle Aberdeen looked preferable just for the lovely spirit they showed. Real was increasingly outrun and, frankly, when one sees players like Stielike unable to organize even simple attack, one prefers relatively anonymous guys, who, unlike the superstar, can reach the penalty area and shoot towards the net.

Black scored in the 4th minute and Real managed to equalize in the 15th, but it a goal, for which the stars could hardly credit themselves: a defensive mistake gave no choice to Jim Leighton, but to bring down Santillana. Juanito scored the penalty. To the end of the regular time Aberdeen did not look better, but only hungrier and somewhat prevailed, yet, no third goal was scored. Everything was decided in the extra time – the substitute Hewitt, who replaced goalscorer Black in the 88th minute, was the first to reach a cross and scored the proverbial British goal, a header. And that was that.

The moment worth remembering of otherwise unmemorable match. Well, depending on standpoint, but unless one is Scottish and Aberdeen fan, nothing all that special – on the contrary, just another nail in the building of the coffin of the Cup Winners Cup. Small attendance, decreasing interest to the whole tournament, nothing new and exciting about the football played. People were getting tired of battles, getting tired to see big stars appearing pretty much dull and similar to countless anonymous players, who had little skills, but run and tackle just the same as the stars and often beating them with just that. Yet, it was preferable to see the likes of Aberdeen winning spoiled brats like Real.

Final, Nya Ullevi, Göteborg, 11 May 1983, att 17804


Aberdeen (1) 2 Real Madrid (1) 1 aet

4′ 1-0 A: Black

15′ 1-1 RM: Juanito (pen)

112′ 2-1 A: Hewitt


Aberdeen: Leighton; Rougvie, McLeish, Miller, McMaster; Cooper, Strachan, Simpson; McGhee, Black (Hewitt 87), Weir

Real Madrid: Agustin; Juan Jose, Metgod, Bonet, Camacho (San Jose 91); Angel, Gallego, Stielike, Isidro (Salguero 103); Juanito, Santillana

Referee: Menegali (Italy)

The rest belonged to the victors.

Naturally, they were happy – the biggest success of Aberdeen ever.

This is not the squad Real fielded at the final and the relative difficulty of finding a photo of the Goteborg losers speaks loud enough. Less said about Real, the better. Spanish football had this special ‘quality’ for arresting the development of players – Stielike was not first, nor the last. True, he was no Beckenbauer on the field, but one of the leading liberos in the world reduced to rather aimless running around… In the same time one should think twice when evaluating Real of this period: Johhny Metgod. Sturdy defender, but Real seeking the services of quite ordinary player? And these two were still the best Real showed in Goteborg… One thing was certain: pretty much this was the end of Alfredo Di Stefano as a coach – magical player, but not magic coach.

The new Cup Winners Cup winners. First row from left: John McMaster, Stuart Kennedy, Doug Rougvie, Willie Miller.

Standing: Neale Cooper, Alex McLeish, John Hewitt, Peter Weir, Ian Angus, Mark McGhee, Eric Black, Jim Leighton, Gordon Strachan, Bryan Gunn, Andy Watson.

A photo for posterity. Still reproduced often – in Great Britain and North America. Negative side first: there is no escape – Aberdeen was not ground-braking team. Rather limited and very British in its play. Which meant it was not a team to influence football culture and it was not to stay on top long. Given the Scottish predicament, it would be very difficult to remain strong even domestically – a victory instantly meant exodus of key players. Since Gordon Strachan was practically the only truly outstanding player, he was to be first to go – and rightly so, for a star naturally wants to play for big club on one hand and on the other – both club and player need money.

Positive side – and there is no denying it: Aberdeen was carefully build and on ascend for 6 years already. Winning Cup Winners Cup was the culmination. It was heroic task, for Aberdeen had limited choice – facing the constant competition of English clubs, Celtic and Rangers, Aberdeen was not exactly able to tap on the best talent. So, it was a work of keen eye – selecting, developing and molding undiscovered talent into strong players and into a strong team. By now a number of them were Scottish national players, Gordon Strachan was a star, and Alex McLeish almost a star. All this was home work – a testimony of great work of young and ambitious coach. More or less, Alex Ferguson became internationally known after this victory.

He deserves the biggest credit for the triumph, it was his work. And it was also inevitable that Aberdeen was getting too narrow for him. One thing which can be pointed out – if one looks back to his early years pragmatism was immediately noticeable. No innovation, nothing radical, but very keen ability to get the best of what he has – what he had at this point was team with simple skills, so he did not try to introduce some fancy technical or tactical football. Aberdeen played typical British football, only Ferguson kept the boys motivated and at the best of their condition at all times. As for his methods, he was Fergie then, just he was ever – when a few years later he joined Manchester United, Gordon Strachan, already there, was not happy at all. Speaking of the coach, who made Strachan a star… But in 1983 the work was seemingly done – Aberdeen achieved what only two Scottish clubs achieved before: winning an European cup. Fantastic achievement, no matter what.


The UEFA Cup. Of course, there were surprising upsets (the demolition of Arsenal by Spatak Moscow in the first round – 2-3 and 2-5) and unlucky draws, eliminating early strong teams (Manchester United losing to Valencia also in the first round), but more interesting was the new trend – the early elimination of the English clubs, all gone after the first round, and the decline of the West German clubs – half of them were eliminated in the opening round, the rest struggled against not so strong opponents, only 1. FC Kaiserslautern reached the ¼ finals and was eliminated there by unlikely foe – Romanian Universitatea (Craiova). On the other side were teams, which performed surprisingly well – Bohemians (Prague), Universitatea (Craiova), and Benfica (Lisbon) reached the semi-finals. Bohemians stood alone somewhat – it was just the strongest period of the club ever, but the other two represented more than club football – both Romanian and Portuguese football recovered from disastrous 1970s and rapidly were coming back to the spotlight. The club’s good performance was early sign, but in the case of Benfica it was great recovery and finally playing really strong football after years of mediocrity. At the semi-finals everything came back to normal, though – Anderlecht was simply too strong for Bohemians and after winning twice reached the final. Benfica had real difficulties and was unable to beat Universitatea – both legs ended in draw, but Benfica benefited from scoring away goal and went to the final.

The final, to most pundits, was between quite equal opponents and could go either way, but Anderlecht was considered slightly stronger. The reason were both historic and contemporary – Benfica was going to play its 5th European final, but the last one was in 1968. Anderlecht on the other hand reached its 4th final and all were recent. However, neither finalist played UEFA Cup final before and if Anderlecht maintained its strong European position successfully since 1975, Benfica rapidly improved just recently and finally had a team somewhat close to their great squads in the 1960s. On one hand, solid and reliable class, on the other – ascending squad,which must be hungrier. But it was to be a clash of equal opponents: Benfica had 7 current national team players, Anderlecht – 5. Benfica had exciting Yugoslav striker – Filipovic and rising Swede Stromberg, Anderlecht its own Yugoslav – Peruzovic – and talented, but erratic Dane Brylle. Both teams had good coaches – Paul van Himst and Sven-Goran Eriksson. Benfica perhaps the edge at the helm, but overall Anderlecht looked a bit stronger. But only a bit.

The opening leg in Brussels proved predictions right – it was tough, but not dirty, fairly equal match, in which Anderlecht was slightly stronger and more aggressive. Both teams displayed modern football, covering the whole field and swarming at the opponents. Benfica was quite surprising, for they were at last at the same level the top European clubs were.

The only goal was scored by Kenneth Brylle in the 29th minute – classy goal, finishing entertaining attack, which moved from the centre to the right flank, from where excellent cross was delivered. Benfica finished the game with 10 men, but this did affect their play.

Final 1st Leg, Heysel Stadium, Bruxelles, 4 May 1983, att 55000


RSC Anderlecht (1) 1 SL Benfica (0) 0

29′ 1-0 A: Brylle


RSC Anderlecht: Munaron; Hofkens, Peruzovic, Olsen, De Groote; Frimann, Coeck, Vercauteren, Lozano; Vandenbergh (Czernatynski 78), Brylle

SL Benfica: Bento; Pietra, Alvaro, Humberto Coelho, José Luis; Sheu, Frederico (Bastos Lopes 78),

Carlos Manuel, Chalana; Filipovic (Nene 68), Diamantino

Referee: Dotchev (Bulgaria)

Red card: José Luis 75

Before the second leg both sides were cautious – van Himst commented only that 1-0 was better than nothing. The match was pretty much the same as the first one: fast, pushing forward, well organized defenses, rapid counter-attacks at the first opporutnity. Anderlecht was still a bit better, more aggressive and dangerous, but Benfica scored first and equalized the result, thanks to Sheu in the 36th minute. It was short lived relieve – Lozano scored for Anderlecht two minutes later. And no more goals were scored to the end, although both teams had their chances.

Final 2nd Leg, Estádio da Luz, Lisboa, 18 May 1983, att 80000


SL Benfica (1) 1 RSC Anderlecht (1) 1

36′ 1-0 B: Sheu

38′ 1-1 A: Lozano

SL Benfica: Bento; Pietra, Humberto Coelho, Bastos Lopes, Veloso (Alves 62); Carlos Manuel,

Stromberg, Sheu (Filipovic 50), Chalana; Nene, Diamantino

RSC Anderlecht: Munaron; Peruzovic, De Greef, Broos, Olsen, De Groote; Frimann, Lozano, Coeck,

Vercauteren; Vandenbergh (Brylle 78)

Referee: Corver (Netherlands)

Anderlecht won 2-1 on aggregate and became the only 2nd clubs which won both the Cup Winners Cup and the UEFA Cup – the first was Tottenham Hotspur.

Vercauteren and Peruzovic proudly display the Cup after well deserved victory.

Losing in front of home crowd is usually more devastating… Standing from left: Sheu, Alvaro, Humberto Coelho, Diamantino, Zoran Filipovic, Bento.

First row: Jose Luis, Frederico, Pietra, Chalana, Carlos Manuel.

Benfica played well, but lost and that unfortunately is all that counts. It was just a tiny difference between them and Anderlecht and that difference was not in their favour. Benfica would have been unblemished winner, if they won – but they did not and instantly the reason was found: old curse was remembered. Years ago, when Benfica sacked Bella Gutmann, the angry Hungarian cursed the club to never win again. And they did not…

Anderlecht had nor trouble with mystic powers working against them – concerned only with the real, they extracted difficult victory. Standing from left: Luka Peruzovic, Walter de Greef, Ludo Coeck, Hugo Broos, Michel de Groote, Jean Munaron.

First row: Morten Olsen, Juan Lozano, Frank Vercauteren, Per Frimann, Erwin Vanderbergh.

Wonderful squad, managing to keep its strength year after year. To a point, it was similar to Benfica – deep team, well balanced, with various options, but a bit better, for Anderlecht’s players were may be a notch classier than Benfica’s and used to winning. Strong members of the great Belgian national team at the time, perhaps the best current Brlgian player – Juan Lozano – among them, vastly experienced foreigners, who were also regulars in their countries’ national teams – Luka Peruzovic and Morten Olsen. If Peruzovic was well known name for many years (key player of the strong Hajduk Split squad of the 1970s and member of the national team at the 1974 World Cup), but slowly and gradually became a starter in the talented and competitive Yugoslav national team, Morten Olsen, pretty much of the same age as Peruzovic, was just getting to the point of fame – along with the national team of Denmark. Anderlecht mastered well transitions, thus able to avoid the painful crisis of changing generations – only Coeck and Vercauteren remained from the squad, which excited Europe in the second half of the 1970s. Back then Vercauteren was talented reserve, pushing his way to the regular team and Coeck was fresh discovery, excellently keeping pace with stars like Rensenbrink. Now both were veterans and leaders. Van Himst also seemingly made well the transition from player to coach and now was able not only to inspire the team with his legendary status, but actually to keep them playing on contemporary level. Anderlecht won its 3rd European trophy in four finals – few clubs were able to do that. No Champions Cup for them, but numerically they surpassed Benfica this year – 3 cups vs 2.