On This Day: When Munich was colored in Black and Yellow


Underdogs Borussia Dortmund clash against favorites Juventus for the Champions League final in the Olympiastadion, Munich.

Dortmund, who were third in the Bundesliga, looked to cause an upset for the Old Lady who had already celebrated two trophies (Serie A and the Italian Super Cup) and were the current holders of the Champions League title.

The German side were about to experience their first-ever final of the competition while Juventus seem to be the obvious favorites; club legend and manager Marcello Lippi had already led his men to eight trophies and aimed for more. The Italian had all the talent to achieve his goal; a young Zinedine Zidane, a 22-year-old top scorer Alessandro Del Piero, experienced midfielder Didier Deschamps. Supported by a mix of skill and experience hungry for another European triumph.

Meanwhile, in the BVB dugout is Ottmar Hitzfeld who helped them to their first league title in over 30 years during the 1994/95 season and retained it for another year and achieved the Super Cup during both seasons. Half the number of trophies Lippi had at the time but, Hitzfeld started building up a new era for Dortmund before joining Bayern Munich in the summer of 1998.

Under him was a group of complementary and resilient players with 1990 German World and European champions in playmaker Andreas Moller, forward Karl-Heinze Riedl, defenders Jurgen Kohler, Stefan Reuter and Ballon d’Or winner midfielder Matthias Sammer and on the bench was hero Lars Ricken.

It’s the 28th of May 1997 and as ironic as it sounded a part of Munich is colored in black and yellow while the other in black and white. Dortmund in their usual shades and Juventus in blue took the team pictures as the Olympic Stadium vibrated with the colorful flags.

‘’Off we go, BVB and their dream of a fairytale in Munich.’’ said the German commentator as the German side kicked off their last step towards their underdog account.

Lippi standing in the dugout chewing his gum in the usual manner, composed and expected what the Yellow wall fears.

Christian Vieri received the ball on his chest and was closed down by Kohler the Italian half volleyed it to the side netting as Hitzfeld yelled in frustration and tension.

Dortmund were awarded a corner near the half-hour mark, one that is cleared far to the left side. Recovered by midfielder Paul Lambert, the Scot sent the ball back in the box as it passed over everyone and landed on Riedle’s chest, despite the sloppy control he managed to reach the ball and with six yards away from the net, the German struck the ball with no aim and opened the scoring.

Jubilations in the German stands are reflected on the pitch, a blend of disbelief but also relief as the fairytale was beginning to become a reality.

A task they would work on as chances from Zidane and Mark Iuliano flew wide and off the bar and posts.

Once again Die Borussen were still not drawing any serious danger from open play, another corner is given to them five minutes after the first goal.

The ball was directed towards the penalty spot where Riedle was positioned while keeper Angelo Peruzzi struggled to keep a clear vision with a crowd of players ahead of him. By the time he got rid of the blue, yellow and black fog the ball made contact with Riedle’s head as Dortmund’s number 13 became the luckiest charm in his club’s history, the German increased the margin following yet another set-piece.

Lippi’s men reacted quickly as Deschamps found Zidane at the edge of the box, the skillful Frenchman took a few touches to find the space for a clear shot which he did, however it looked like the football gods waved a black and yellow flag from above as the ball slowly approached the mark only to hit the left post.

Half time came with the Yellow and Blacks 2-0 up and 45 minutes away from European glory.

Juventus tried to reduce the damage by sending their talisman Del Piero on the pitch. The Bianconeri were determined to deny their opponents the win as Deschamps released a long shot to Stefan Klos’ left, the keeper managed to extend his arms as his defense live to avoid another threatening situation.

Zidane found Alen Boksic on the left side of the box, the Croatian cut the ball back towards Del Piero who cheekily back-heeled it into the goal with the lead only being only one goal. It’s the 65th minute and Lippi showed his first signs of emotions as he motivated his men to complete the comeback.

Nonetheless, the unusual lucky number 13 got injured and left his place for Lars Ricken in the 70th minute the man who placed the final bullets in the Old Lady’s heart.

After five seconds on the pitch, Moller spotted the substitute and sent him through. Ricken manifested one of the most memorable first touches in a final game’s history, he noticed Peruzzi off his line and chiped him as the Italian watched the ball go up and down above him just as his side’s hopes did.

Riedle who had just put his training jacket on celebrated with his teammates and coaching staff and it seemed that nothing and no one was about to take this win away from them.

The yellow side of the Olympiastadion trembled as the fans from Dortmund knew that the dream was complete.

The whistle finally blew, tears filled the stands and the pitch while Hitzfeld ultimately allowed himself to smile with the Champions League officially sealed.

And no one could have put it better than the German commentator: ‘’They started as underdogs and finished as champions.’’


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