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Football history: When four German clubs played in the Uefa Cup semi-finals

Whe Christian Seifert did 40 years ago today is not known. He was probably doing his homework, the current managing director of the DFL was only eleven at the time. If he had already been who he is today or if he had at least had a predecessor, then the question of the date would have been unnecessary.

April 9, 1980 went down in German football history and if the Bundesliga had already been marketed abroad, then even as a festive day. The Bundesliga had had the reputation of being the “best league in the world” since the mid-1970s, after Germany had become European champion and world champion and Bayern had won the national championship cup three times in a row.

But it never became clearer when the eighties began and the semi-finals in the UEFA Cup began 40 years ago today. The Cup was the pool of the best teams behind the master was and is today Europe League. In 1980 he became the Bundesliga Cup!

Bruno Pezzey (2nd from right) scored in the second leg against Bayern 2-0 for Frankfurt Eintracht

Bruno Pezzey (2nd from right) scored in the second leg against Bayern 2-0 for Frankfurt Eintracht

Credit: picture-alliance / Sven Simon

Two games, four teams – all from Germany. Or as the “Bild” headlined on March 21, 1980, when the quarter-finals were played: “Uefa Cup: Now we are among ourselves – no one is allowed to play with us”.

A record for eternity

The feat that Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Mönchengladbach and VfB Stuttgart had achieved was, of course, a European record and can only be stopped, which has not happened to date. “Our clubs stronger than ever,” cheered the “kicker”.

The specialist journal listed the reasons “the undisputed class of our players and the rather declining level among the competition”, the “hard work of our coaches” and the “German ability to concentrate and discipline”.

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A bit of “luck in competition” was also admitted, for example when Frankfurt’s Bernd Hölzenbein scored a sitting header goal in fall 1979 against Bucharest when the keeper dropped the ball.

Teams had been playing in for years

The parties involved today struggle to justify German dominance. European champion Karl-Heinz Förster, then VfB Stuttgart, and Bayern midfielder Bernd Dürnberger, both emphasize that the German teams have been well-rehearsed for years.

Frankfurt - Bavaria 5: 1

Unusual picture: Bayern players sit down on the grass, in the middle is coach Pal Czernai

Source: pa / Sven Simon

Forester: “You were only allowed to have two foreigners. We all knew each other, there were no language problems, once we were eight Swabians. There was simply a great deal of cohesion. ”Dürnberger points out that“ The Germans were very strong at home. If you lost 2-0 somewhere, you still believed in bending it at home. ”Which also applied to both semifinals.

The HSV gained fame in 1980, who was also in the national championship cup and met Real Madrid. Which is one reason why, at least from today’s perspective, relatively little fuss has been made about the record. The major event, which German clubs can only dream of today, was surrounded by a remarkable serenity.

Only one game a day on TV

Since 1997 – the Schalke Eurofighter! – no German club has won this trophy. Back then he was running alongside. Förster remembers: “The Bundesliga was the ultimate for us, the UEFA Cup was not yet so important.”

The competition, which was only introduced in 1971, was the Cinderella among the three European Cups, in second place was the Cup Winners’ Cup, which is far more traditional, and the Landesmeister-Cup outshone everything.

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Traditional club in crisis

That had an impact on the purely German semi-final. Because only one game was allowed to be broadcast live – but only if there was no other match in Germany on the same day – the hosts of the second leg avoided Tuesday. Free travel for HSV, which was then able to celebrate a great moment on Wednesday against Real (5: 1), which was broadcast on ARD.

In contrast, none of the four Uefa Cup semi-finals went live nationwide, the summary of the first leg started at 10:40 p.m. (ZDF), the second leg at 11:00 p.m. (ARD) – probably too late for Christian Seifert and millions of other school children.

Uli Hoeness hoped for the weather god

Happy who lived in the “right” state: So came the return game between Eintracht and Bayern in the third program of the Hessischer Rundfunk. The final games between the champion Frankfurt and Gladbach (2: 3 and 1: 0) only ran in the third programs. It was a completely different media world – and a different football world.

Significant that three of the four games were not sold out. Unthinkable today. Bayern had only played against Eintracht in the league three weeks earlier, before 36,000. Now the Hessians came back on a cool Wednesday evening.

Frankfurt - Bavaria 5: 1

Friedel Rausch led the Frankfurt team to the title as coach

Source: pa / Sven Simon

In vain, young manager Uli Hoeneß hoped for a “slight blow-in” – only 14,000 people saw the 2-0 win. And that where a back payment of DM 2.5 million just fluttered into the house and every mark was needed.

Matthew complained about Müller

VfB beat Gladbach 2-1 in front of 42,000 spectators, but 30,000 seats in the Neckar Stadium remained empty. Karl-Heinz Förster: “It just felt strange to have to play against a German team in international competition. You expect an opponent from England or Italy. ”

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After all, it was “much harder than usual” than in the Bundesliga duels, complained Borussia player Ewald Lienen. His young teammate Lothar Matthäus complained that Stuttgart’s Hansi Müller “looked up against me three or four times”.

The scraps flew, but the European Cup atmosphere was different.

A case for Skull Harry

Bundesliga matches were not very popular in everyday life, after the Argentina World Cup debacle in 1978 and the emergence of hooliganism, the average attendance dropped from 26,000 to 23,000 within two years.

Even fewer were at Bökelberg (22,000) when Borussia beat VfB 2-0 and moved into the finals as in 1979. Only the Waldstadion burst at the seams on April 22, 1980 (50,000), only the around 10,000 guest fans regretted their arrival. Because it was, as always, in that era: Bayern got threshing in Frankfurt.

Eintracht Frankfurt

Karl-Heinz Körbel stretches the trophy in the air after beating Bayern

Source: pa / dpa / Jörg Schmitt

After 90 minutes, defense chief (!) Bruno Pezzey equalized the 0: 2 from the first leg, the extension was a case for “skull Harry”. The no-name bomber Harald Karger, fetched by the regional league club Burgsolms for DM 25,000, gave Bayern goalkeeper Walter Junghans two goals, Werner Lorant put the final point to 5: 1 under an event that no country ever experienced.

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Endgame for the German championship in 1939: Admira Vienna's goalkeeper Buchberger (on the floor behind) clears in front of the attacking Schalke Kalwitzki (front). Schalke triumphed 9-0


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