Italy the Cup

The Cup – Atalanta and Napoli reached the final. Given the poor season Atalanta had, the odds were heavily in Napoli’s favour, but it would have been great the underdog to win. Unfortunately, Napoli was unstoppable this year and Atalanta lost both legs of the final – 0-3 and 0-1.
Napoli and Maradona took the Cup, all smiles of course.
No luck… Atalanta was the poorer finalist. What a bitter disappointment – losing the Cup and relegated to the Second Division. Objectively: they had no argument – Napoli in top form, led by Maradona. Too tough for miracles.
Napoli won its 3rd Cup, which was great. They practically sealed the victory in the first leg at home, but ended in style by winning the second leg in Bergamo and receiving the Cup as true winners.
What a season – not only one trophy, but two! First title and first double – nothing speaks better for a team on its peak. Maradona is one thing, but one can argue that this season really put Napoli on the map: players like Ferrara, De Napoli, Bagni and even well established Carnevale and Giordano were elevated from relative obscurity to true stardom. It was no longer a club having Maradona for a show, but a winning club. It was also important for Maradona too – the doubts that he was not a winner finally perished. The great success perhaps made Napoli’s administration more serious about the team – it was still quite short. Depending on Maradona was not enough – especially in Italy was not enough – so strong additions were a must. That plus trying to keep the strong current players in the tam, for the Northern big clubs always had more money to buy whoever they wished and now Napoli had a few guys wetting the Northern appetites. There was a lot of work to be done… but for the moment it was fantastic.

Italy I Division

First Division – Serie A. The top championship of Europe, ergo, the best championship of the world. What could be more proper than the best footballer of the world wins the best championship? That happened this season, although in a bit strange manner – it was not home games, but away record making the difference and also relatively tough defense – not free-spirited attacking football. But that was Italy – you win largely by preventing the opposition from winning. Two teams were lurking nearby – Juventus and Inter – so to beat them was hard and great, especially when they had slightly better squads than yours.
Udinese – last with 15 points and relegated. A team having Edinho, Bertoni, Graziani going down? Well, their fate was sealed in advance – they were penalized with 9 points deduction and could not overcome such handicap no matter what.
Sitting from left: Miano, Galbagini, Edinho, Anzi (?) – condition coach, De Sisti – coach, Ginulfi (?) – assistant coach, Bencivenga, Galraroli, Branca.
Middle row: Criscimanni, Storgato, F. Rossi, Abate, Spuri, Brini, Collovati, Colombo, Tagliaferri.
Top row: Caverzan, Graziani, Pasa, Chierico, Massimo Susic, Dal Fiume, Zanone, Bertoni.
Atalanta – 15th with 21 points and relegated. A bit strange, for they almost finished the season with a trophy.
Brescia – 14th with 22 points and relegated, despite having been sponsored by ‘the best Italian beer’ makers. Well, at least nothing surprising in their relegation – Brescia was the usual candidate.
Empoli survived by a point – 13th with 23 points. Scored the least goals in the championship: only 13, very low even by Italian standards.
Ascoli – another lucky survivor: 12th with 24 points.

Torino – steadily going down… 11th with 26 points.
Fiorentina – 10th with 26 points. Let say Antognoni aged and leave it at that.
Como – 9th with 26 points.
Avellino – 8th with 30 points. Very good for a modest club like them.
Roma – 7th with 33 points.
Sampdoria – climbing up: 6th with 35 points. However, unlucky – if goal-difference mattered, they would have been 5th. But they and Milan finished with equal points and a decisive play-off was staged for the last Italian spot in the UEFA Cup. Sampdoria lost it 0-1…
Milan – 5th with 35 points, thanks to the play-off 1-0 win over Sampdoria. On the road to recovery after the turbulent years following their disgrace and consequent penalty. Perhaps clinching the UEFA Cup spot was most important point at that moment: the club needed confidence.
Hellas Verona – 4th with 36 points. Nobody expected them to build a dynasty, but the team was still running high after winning the title.
Inter – 3rd with 38 points. A title contender – or should have been – but… nothing.
Juventus – 2nd with 39 points. Came ahead of Inter, could not catch Napoli… perhaps something little was missing at the moment. Too bad they did not won – it was the last season of Michel Platini.
Napoli had splendid season and triumphed on top of the table with 42 points from 15 wins, 12 ties, and 3 losses. 41-21 goal-difference. As numbers go, hardly the most impressive record: shared most wins in the season with Inter, but Inter finished with best defensive record and Juventus outscored the champions. Napoli had only the least lost games this season, which speaks more of defensive abilities than for their strikers – one expects the opposite from a team led by Maradona. Then again, we are speaking about Italian football – tough, rough, giving no quarter and not an inch: Napoli prevailed in that and quite heroically, for even with Maradona, the squad was inferior to the teams of Juventus and Inter. So much for numbers. The rest was grand: Napoli won the Italian title for the first time – making the team instant legends. Maradona finally won a title in Europe and that after winning the World Cup – it was somewhat more difficult to win the scudetto than the World Cup. In a nut shell – purely magical moment to be remembered forever.

Italy II Division

Second Division – Serie B. 20 teams in the league – 3 promoted, 4 relegated. This season was quite unusual, with a dramatic battle both at the top and and at the bottom of the table. 8 teams scuffled for the coveted top three places, at least 9 teams tried hard to escape relegation. At the end nothing was settled: teams ended with equal points and play-offs for both promotion and relegation were set up: three teams fought for the 3rd promotion spot and another three teams for survival – if at the top one team was going up, at the bottom the last team in the play-offs was going down. High drama.
Cagliari – last and out with 32 points. If they did not have 5 points deducted, they would have been safe.
Catania – 19th with 32 points and relegated.
Lanerossi Vicenza – 18th with 32 points and relegated.
Campobasso – 17th with 33 points. As one of the three teams with 33 points, they went to the relegation play-offs – there they finished last and were relegated.
Taranto – 16th with 33 points. Finished 1st in the relegation play-offs and were good for another season.

Lazio – 15th with 33 points. Dark period for Lazio – they started with heavy handicap: minus 9 points. And that was pretty much why they ended in danger of relegation – however, barely survived in the relegation play-offs, finishing 2nd.
Sambenettese – 14th with 34 points.
Modena – 13th with 35 points.
Arezzo – 12th with 35 points.
Triestina – 11th with 35 points. They had 4 points deducted, though.
Bologna – 10th with 36 points. Pretty much in danger of relegation too, but all was fine at the end.
Bari – 9th with 39 points.
Messina – 8th with 40 points.
Parma – 7th with 40 points.
Genoa – 6th with 42 points. Lost the race for promotion by small margin.
Cremonese – 5th with 43 points. As one of the teams with 43 points, they went to promotion play-offs, finished last the stayed in second division.
Lecce – 4th with 43 points, but they won the promotion play-offs only on better goal-difference… ,thus, won nothing yet – another play-off was stage and they lost it to Cesena 1-2. No promotion…
Cesena – 3rd with 43 points. Finished 2nd in the promotion play-offs, but since the points were equal, one more match was staged and this time they prevailed over Lecce 2-1 and got promoted.
Pisa – 2nd with 44 points. Clinched second place with one-point more than the competition, but lost the championship title in most curious way: since even the goal-difference between them and the champions was exactly the same, they were placed second for either scoring less goals (one less, to be exact), or had worse head-to-head record. But all that hardly mattered – Pisa clinched direct promotion: that was most important.

Pescara won the championship by the smallest possible margin: equal points, equal goal-difference with Pisa, 44 points each. Anyhow, the points came from 16 wins, 12 ties and 10 losses – Pisa had exactly the same record. Goal-difference was also the same: 43-33 Pescara, 42-32 Pisa. It may have been this one more goal they scored then Pisa, but it was hard battle against 7 other teams, which were unfortunate to finish with slightly less points. Still, the most important thing was Pescara earned direct promotion. Winning the championship did not hurt either, however lucky winning it was.
Pescara, Pisa, and Cesena were the happily promoted teams.

Italy III Division Girone B

Serie C/1, Girone B.
Sorrento – last with 21 points and out.

Siena – 17th with 24 points and relegated.
Benevento – 16th with 28 points and relegated.
Martina – 15th with 28 points. Relegated.
Salernitana – 14th with 31 points.
Licata – 13th with 31 points.
Livorno – 12th with 32 points.
Brindisi – 11th with 33 points.
Nocerina – 10th with 33 points.
Teramo – 9th with 35 points.

Foggia – 8th with 35 points.
Reggina – 7th with 36 points.
Campania Puteolana – 6th with 36 points.
Monopoli – 5th with 37 points.
Cosenza – 4th with 38 points.
Casertana – 3rd with 40 points.
Barletta – 2nd with 44 points and promoted to Second Division.
Catanzaro – won the championship with 45 points. 18 wins, 9 ties, 7 losses, 46-24 goal-difference. Promoted to Second Division.

Italy III Division Girone A

Third Division – Serie C/1. Two groups of 18 teams. Top 2 promoted to Second Division, last 4 relegated to Forth Division.
Girone A.
Legnano – last with 17 points and relegated.
R.M. Firenze -17th with 27 points and relegated.
Carrarese – 16th with 27 points and relegated.
Mantova – 15th with 29 points and relegated.
Lucchese – 14th with 30 points.
Ancona – 13th with 30 points.
Spezia – 12th with 31 points.
Virescit – 11th with 32 points.
Trento – 10th with 33 points.
Prato – 9th with 33 points.
Rimini – 8th with 34 points.
Fano – 7th with 35 points.
Centese – 6th with 35 points.
Monza – 5th with 36 points.
SPAL – 4th with 39 points.
Reggiana – 3rd with 43 points.
Padova – 2nd with 49 points and promoted.
Piacenza – won the championship with 52 points. 22 wins, 8 ties, 4 losses, 55-28 goal-difference. Promoted to Second Division.

Italy IV Division

Italy – ranked number 1 in Europe. In a nut shell: the golden season of Napoli with Maradona and still too many infringements of the rules. Seven teams in the top four divisions had been penalized with point-deductions: Udinese (Serie A) – 9 points, Lazio (Serie B) – 9 points, Cagliari (Serie B) – 5 points, Triestina (Serie B) – 4 points, Foggia (Serie C/1) – 5 points, Perugia (Serie C/2) – 2 points, Cavese (Serie C/2) – 5 points, Casarano (Serie C/2) – 5 points.
Forth Division – Serie C/2. The usual 4 groups of 18 teams each, the top 2 teams promoted.
Girone A.
Alessandria – 16th with 28 points and relegated, but eventually Montebelluna withdrew and Alessandria was readmitted.
Carbonia – 14th with 32 points.
Sorso – 11th with 32 points.
Casale – 10th with 33 points.
Cuoio Pelli – 9th with 33 points.
Olbia – 7th with 34 points.
Pro Vercelli – 6th with 34 points.
Pistoiese – 4th with 41 points.
Derthona – 2nd with 47 points and promoted.
Torres – champions with 47 points and promoted.
Girone B.
Sassuolo – 13th with 31 points.

Pergocrema – 12th with 31 points.

Varese – 10th with 34 points.
Treviso – 7th with 37 points.
Venezia – 6th with 37 points.
Suzzara – 5th with 37 points.
Chievo Verona – 4th with 38 points.
Pavia – 2nd with 45 points and promoted.
Ospitaletto – champions with 47 points and promoted.
Girone C.
Matera – 16th with 25 points and relegated to 5th level.
Galatina – 15th with 25 points. Survived thanks to better head-to-head record against Matera.
Perugia – 9th with 34 points.
Casarano – 8th with 35 points.
Fidelis Andria – 5th with 41 points.
Giulianova – 4th with 45 points.
Ternana – 3rd with 45 points.
Francavilla – 2nd with 47 points and promoted.
Vis Pesaro – champions with 47 points and promoted.
Girone D.
Turris – 15th with 29 points.
Ercolanese – 14th with 29 points.
Cavese – 13th with 30 points.
Trapani – 12th with 32 points.
Lodigiani – 8th with 34 points.
Juve Stabia – 5th with 38 points.
Latina – 3rd with 42 points.
Ischia Isolaverde – 2nd with 44 points and promoted.
Frosinone – champions with 47 points and promoted.

West Germany the Cup

The Cup. Stuttgarter Kickers and Hamburger SV reached the final.
The Second Division team started well and opened the result in the 13th minute after a header by Dirk Kurtenbach. But HSV was not to go down – Beiersdorfer equalized after two minutes. The game was decided in the last minutes: Kaltz made it 2-1 HSV in the 88th minute and in the 90th Schlotterbeck scored in his own net, making it 3-1.
Hamburger SV received the Cup.
Would have been great if Stuttgarter Kickers won, but they were the weaker team no matter what. Their best known player was Kazimierz Kmiecik, World Cup bronze medalist with Poland in 1974. Now, although a good new addition to the team after 2 remarkable seasons in Greece, he was too old. Still, reaching the Cup final was one of the best ever achievements of Stuttgarter Kickers. Too bad they were not able to win the trophy.
Hamburger SV won its 3rd Cup. Standing from right: Thomas von Heesen, Uli Stein, Manfred Kaltz, Ditmar Jakobs, Sascha Jusufi, Dietmar Beiersdorfer, Manfred Kastl, Thomas Kroth, Peter Lux, Tobias Homp, Miroslav Okonski.
Clearly, the stronger squad and to a point – a battle of two Polish generations – Kmiecik, representing the great 1974 generation, vs Miroslav Okonski of the current one. Younger feet won. Also, this was successful moment for the son of the Yugoslav great from the 1960s Fahrudin Jusufi – Sascha. And perhaps the last opportunity for aging German stars Kaltz, Stein, and von Heesen to add one more trophy to their achievements.
Great way to say ‘good bye’ – Ernst Happel had great last season with HSV, although his current squad was kind of short and hardly first rate – the stars were getting old and apart from Okonski there was practically no great current talent. Yet, the great coach managed to win the Cup and finish 2nd in the championship with such a team. Excellent!

West Germany I Division

Bundesliga. Bayern won its 10th title without any trouble. And set the new record of the league – lost only one match during the campaign.
Blau-Weiss 90 (West Berlin) finished last with 18 points and was relegated. No surprise.

Fortuna (Dusseldorf) – 17th with 20 points and out. Their best years were over and long road downhill to obscurity laid ahead.
FC Homburg – 16th with 21 points. Weak, but managed to prevail over FC St. Pauli in the promotion/relegation play-off and kept its place in the Bundesliga.
Eintracht (Frankfurt) – 15th with 25 points. Also a club which lost its leading position and steadily going down.
SV 07 Waldhof (Mannheim) – 14th with 28 points. Good for another year.
Schalke 04 – 13th with 32 points. Trying to reestablish itself in the top league.
VfB Stuttgart – 12th with 32 points. Hard to believe they were champions only a few years ago.
VfL Bochum – 11th with 32 points. Modest, but bravely surviving – that is, nothing new.
1. FC Koln – 10th with 35 points. Rattled by Schumacher’s book scandal, but hardly only by that. This squad – by names – should have been much higher in the table.

1. FC Nurnberg – 9th with 35 points. Not bad…
Bayer 05 (Uerdingen) – 8th with 35 points.
1. FC Kaiserslautern – 7th with 37 points.
Bayer (Leverkusen) – 6th with 39 points. Getting stronger with solid, yet not exceptional squad.
Werder (Bremen) – 5th with 40 points. Let say… coach Rehhagel.
Borussia (Dortmund) – 4th with 40 points. A miracle recovery from the terrible previous season – or may be the other way around: the previous season was accidental slip.
Borussia (Moenchengladbach) – 3rd with 43 points. Deserves to be the story of the season – started with 7 consecutive losses and seen as surely relegated team. Finished with new Bundesliga record – 10 consecutive wins. After so bad beginning, more than bronze medals was impossible, but bronze they got, scoring the most goals this season too. Jupp Heynckes delivered before saying good by.
Hamburger SV – 2nd with 47 points. Significantly weaker squad than the one they had in the early 1980s, but Ernst Happel did his magic again in his last season with the club. Unable to challenge Bayern for the title, but comfortably second.
Bayern – Udo Lattek provided the 10th title in his last season with Bayern. In grand style too: 20 wins, 13 ties, just a single loss, 67-31 goal-difference, 53 points. Six points ahead of Hamburger SV and new Bundesliga record for the least number of lost games in a championship.
Everybody happy – if happiness has to do with ever hungry for success Bayern. The strongest squad in West Germany by far, yet… there was lot of work for Jupp Heynckes, coming to replace Udo Lattek. And Dieter Hoeness announced his retirement. Nobody expected Bayern to go through some shaky period – so, records set and back to work for more.

West Germany II Division

Second Bundesliga. 20 teams, the top 2 directly promoted, the third going to promotion/relegation play-off against the 16th in the Bundesliga, the last 4 – relegated.
FSV Salmrohr – one of the outsiders this season. Last and relegated with 21 points.
KSV Hessan (Kassel) – 19th with 22 points and relegated.
Viktoria (Aschaffenburg) – 18th with 24 points. The best of the outsiders, but relegated as well.
Eintracht (Braunschweig) – 17th with 32 points. Much stronger than those bellow, even finishing with positive goal-difference (+5), but… another bites the dust. Relegated. One more former top league member going down to third level.
Rot-Weiss (Oberhausen) – lucky 16th. Escaped relegation by a point, finishing with 33.
1. FC Saarbrucken – 15th with 34 points.
Fortuna (Koln) – 14th with 35 points.
SSV Ulm 1846 – 13th with 35 points.

SG Union (Solingen) – 12th with 35 points.
SG Wattenscheid 09 – 11th with 38 points.
Rot-Weiss (Essen) – 10th with 38 points. Note Horst Hrubesch here – now a coach and rapidly gaining wait.
Arminia (Bielefeld) – 9th with 38 points.
SC Freiburg – 8th with 39 points.
Stuttgarter Kickers – 7th with 42 points.
VfL Osnabruck – 6th with 44 points.
Alemannia (Aachen) – 5th with 46 points.
Darmstadt 98 – 4th with 47 points.
FC St. Pauli (Hamburg) – 3rd with 49 points. Unfortunately, they lost the promotion/relegation play-off against FC Homburg and remained in second division.
Karlsruher SC – 2nd with 52 points. Promoted and happily returned to top flight.
Hannover 96 – champions of II Bundesliga with 56 points from 23 wins, 10 ties, 5 losses and 86-48 goal-difference. Climbing up to Bundesliga again. Would they stay there or slump back again? Well, let’s wait for the next season.

West Germany III Division

West Germany – ranked 2nd by UEFA. A season of changes and records. One can say now, that the foundations of today’s football were laid down at this season: the coaches of the top three German teams left them right after their success: Udo Lattek, Ernst Happel, and Jupp Heynckes left Bayern, Hamburger SV and Borussia (Moenchengladbach). True, all of them announced their leave well in advance, but it was new approach – at the time, it was highly unusual in the top European championships and certainly not in such numbers. Meantime two new records were set: the first was that Bayern finished with only 1 lost match. The second was set by Borussia (Moenchengladbach) – 10 wins in a row. Borussia had incredible season – it started with 7 losses in a row and it looked like they were going down to relegation, but then they did not lose a game in the next 9 rounds and won every match in the last 10 rounds of the championship, which not only set the new record, but elevated them to bronze medals. They also scored the most goals in this season, but high scoring was nothing new for them. The third news was from the dark side and rattled the national team: it was the book written by Tony Schumacher, revealing the nasty side of inside life of the national team and other dark secrets of German professional football. The book, true or false, was bitter pill to swallow and retaliation followed right away: Schumacher was expelled from the national team and, to a point, the scandalous book eventually removed him entirely from the Bundesliga. Meantime Beckenbauer was trying to build a new national team and experimented with many new players – new goalkeeper was not his goal, but he had to introduce new keeper anyway because of the ban on Schumacher. Since he was the captain of the national squad, a new captain had to be chosen as well and that immediately created a problem, for Klaus Allofs was going to play in France and thus not always available for international games, particularly for the friendlies. Behind all that Bayern dominated and was expected to lead and there was considerable gap between Bayern and the rest of the league – nothing new, but quite alarming, because German teams were losing their edge and new generations were not as talented as those from the late 1960s and 1970s. Frugality was well known feature of German football, but now it was something to think about: yes, it was great to be successful without spending fantastic amounts of cash, but the top stars were leaving for higher salaries in Italy and Spain. It was still possible to be strong and successful club with only 18 professional players (Bayern) – especially when compared to clubs with huge rosters (Manchester United had 35 players on the payroll and Aberdeen – 38) – but Bayern lost the final the European Champions Cup and Dieter Hoeness announced his retirement. Bayern, with its small roster, was seen as unquestionable leader in West Germany, but it was also because the other clubs did not have even half the stars Bayern had: it was nothing like the previous decade when Bayern not only had bigger stars, but also great competition of similarly strong teams. What remained intact was the good youth system and steady introduction of young talent from it – Bayern proudly boasted that 6 regulars were product of their youth system, which was pretty much as it was in the 60s and 70s. The mood was fairly optimistic, yet… there was Schumacher’s critical book and the need to build a new national team, and the exodus of top stars, and less competitive teams, and the fact that West Germany was no longer desired destination for foreign players.
Third level. The champions of the 9 regional semiprofessional leagues went to their promotion tournament. Let say that the negative side of the current state of West German football was perhaps most visible here – there were quite a few former Bundesliga members playing here and not very successfully: Hertha (West Berlin), MSV Duisburg, TSV 1860 (Munchen), Tennis Borussia (West Berlin), Kickers (Offenbach). Of course, teams relegated from the Bundesliga played in the regional league before, but that was when those leagues were second tier, not third. Now such teams were unable even to climb back to Second Division…
Wuppertaler SV,
TSV 1860 (Munchen),
MSV Duisburg. Top row from left: Buddeit, Dronia, Fecht, Friebel, Haremski, Kober, Meuer
Middle row: Telljohann, Notthoff, Puszamszies, Rohr, Ronden, Semlits, Struckmann, Trainer Pirsig
Front row: Zeugwart Schotte, Strunz, Müller, Vossnacke, Kellermann, Macherey, Zils, Canini, Masseur Hinkelmann.
Those three clubs failed to climb up – clubs, which used to play in the European tournaments.
The two promotion groups were divided geographically as ever and the top two teams in each went up:
Gruppe Nord.

BVL 08 (Remscheid) finished first – 3 wins, 4 ties, 1 loss, 11-5 goal-difference and 10 points. Great success for them and also something to think about: third level teams were officially considered amateur and competed for the German Amateur title. But this squad had 2 Yugoslav and 1 Japanese players – more foreigners than the Bundesliga teams had and the foreigners were hardly amateurs.
SV Meppen – 2nd and promoted with 10 points from 2 wins and 6 ties. 13-10 goal-difference – which place them bellow BVL 08.
Hertha BSC (West Berlin) – 3rd with 9 points from 3 wins, 3 ties and 2 losses. 11-10 goal-difference. Failed to climb back to Second Division, from they were relegated in the previous season.
SpVgg Erkenschwick – 4th with 6 points. 1 win, 4 ties, 3 losses, 7-12.
Arminia (Hannover) – 5th with 5 points: 1 win, 3 ties, 4 losses, 10-15 goal-difference.
Gruppe Sud:
Kickers (Offenbach) -1st and promoted with 7 points from 3 wins, 1 tie, 2 losses. 13-7 goal-difference.
SpVgg Bayreuth – 2nd and promoted. Lost top position on worse goal difference, but going back to second level from which they were relegated the previous season. 3 wins, 1 tie, 2 losses, 10-11 goal-difference, 7 points.
Eintracht (Trier) – 3rd with 6 points from 3 wins and 3 losses. 9-8 goal-difference.

SV Sandhausen – last with 4 points. 2 wins, 4 losses, 6-12 goal-difference.
So, BVL 08 Remscheid, SV Meppen, Kickers Offenbach, and SpVgg Bayreuth earned promotions and only BVL 08 did not play second level football before.