EUROPEAN CUP HISTORY.COM
Bayern’s chances of retaining their crown were helped by UEFA’s decision to ban the Italian champions from the following campaign. As a result of crowd trouble in one of their UEFA Cup games, Lazio were banned from European football and so Italy were denied any representation in the 1974/75 European Cup. The main competition was likely to come from former winners Feyenoord and Celtic, as well as the highly rated English champions Leeds United and Barcelona, making their first appearance since their defeat in the 1961 final.
With Bayern receiving a first round bye, Barcelona began their first European Cup campaign in 13 years by putting five goals past the Austrians of Voest Linz, while Feyenoord scored a total of eleven goals against Coleraine and Leeds knocked out FC Zurich without too much trouble. Celtic, however, were early casualties as they followed a 1-1 draw at home to Olympiakos with a two goal defeat in Greece.
Olympiakos v Celtic
Bayern began their defence with a tie against their East German rivals FC Magdeburg. A few months earlier in the World Cup, East Germany had surprised the West Germans by beating them in the group stages, and Bayern must have wondered if a similar shock was on the cards when they found themselves two goals down halfway through the first leg in Munich. A first minute own goal and a Sparwasser strike just before the interval had put the holders in danger of going out at the first hurdle, but fortunately for the home side, they were saved, not for the first time, by Gerd Muller who scored twice in the second half. Along with a Wunder goal on 69 minutes, Muller’s efforts earned Bayern a priceless 3-2 lead to take over the border. In the second leg, Bayern were again indebted to Muller as his two goals helped them to a 2-1 win and a place in the quarter-finals.
All, however, was not well in the Bayern camp. Despite their new status of European champions, they were a club wracked with internal strife. Tensions between the players and management had already seen Paul Breitner leave for Real Madrid and then, in January, coach Udo Lattek resigned. In his place came the American Olympic coach, Dettmar Cramer.
Leeds had also experienced such turmoil just a few months earlier. In the summer of 1974, Don Revie, the man who over the course of ten years had guided the club from the second division to League Championship, F.A.Cup, League Cup and European success, had left to take over the English national team. In his place came the abrasive and highly controversial Brian Clough who had managed Derby to the European Cup semi-finals. Clough’s style, however, was not to the liking of the Leeds players and he was forced out after just 44 days in charge to be replaced by Jimmy Armfield. Under Armfield’s guidance, Leeds also qualified for the last eight, but only after an eventful match in Hungary. In their first leg away to Ujpest Dozsa, Leeds took an early lead through their Scottish ‘hotshot’ striker Peter Lorimer, but found themselves down to ten men after only 15 minutes when they had a man sent off for retaliation. Moments later Fazekas drew the Hungarians level as he scored from the penalty spot, but they held onto parity for only three minutes before McQueen regained the lead for Leeds. Before the end of the game, Ujpest also had a man sent off, while Lorimer missed from the penalty spot, but a 2-1 lead put the English side in the driving seat and they proceeded to ease through to the next round with a 3-0 second leg win.
The big clash of the second round saw Barcelona up against Feyenoord. A close game between two of the giants of European football was expected, but in the end Barcelona, following a goalless draw in Rotterdam, eased to a 3-0 win in the Nou Camp courtesy of a hat-trick from Carlos Rexach. Barca’s next opponents were the Swedish champions Atvidabergs. The opening game of the Swedes campaign saw them go down 2-1 to Craiova in Romania, and things got little better in the second leg when the game had to be abandoned after just six minutes due to heavy rain. Twenty four hours later they won the replayed game 3-1 thanks to a late penalty, and a subsequent 4-0 aggregate win over HJK Helsinki saw them through to a meeting with the Spanish champions.
Predictably, Barcelona had little trouble getting past the Swedes as they scored five goals without reply. Leeds also progressed to the semi-finals as they defeated the highly rated Belgian champions Anderlecht. The first leg at Leeds saw Jordan give the home side an early lead shortly before the swirling fog forced referee Rudi Gloeckner to take the players off the field. When they returned, Leeds scored twice more to put themselves firmly in the driving seat. A 1-0 win in Brussels saw the English side progress to the last four with impressive ease.
In the other two quarter-final ties, Bayern beat the Armenian champions of the Soviet Union, Ararat Erevan, 2-0 in Munich, courtesy of goals from Hoeness and Torstensson, and, despite conceding a goal after 35 minutes of the return, held on to progress through. The French side St Etienne completed the semi-final line-up following two remarkable comebacks against Eastern European opposition. First, they got past Hajduk Split after losing the first leg 4-1 in Yugoslavia. With the score at 1-1 after an hour of the return St Etienne looked to have little chance, but three goals in the next twenty minutes and another in extra-time saw them through 6-5 on aggregate.
St Etienne v Hajduk Split
As if that wasn’t enough, they then staged an amazing recovery against Ruch Chorzow. After 46 minutes of the first leg, the Poles were 3-0 up and seemingly on the verge a place in the last four, but goals from Larque and Triantafilos brought the score back to 3-2, and a 2-0 second leg win saw St Etienne complete their revival.
St Etienne v Ruch Chorzow
St Etienne’s exciting attacking play had set the competition alight, but in the semi-finals it was no match for the discipline and organisation of Bayern. The French side set out to attack the holders in their home leg, but they could not break through and the holders emerged with a valuable 0-0 draw. The writing was on the wall as soon as the second minute of the game in Munich as Beckenbauer stroked the ball home, and a solo goal from Durnberger twenty minutes from time sealed Bayern’s second successive appearance in the final.
Bayern Munich v St Etienne
The other semi-final saw a fascinating battle between Leeds and Barcelona. Barcelona were a team of all stars who had comfortably won the Spanish League a year earlier and were desperate to go one better than their last attempt to win the European Cup which had seen them surprisingly lose the final 14 years earlier. In charge was Rinus Michels, the man who had first guided Ajax to victory in this competition, and at the heart of the side were two men who had tasted victory with Michels, Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens. These two veterans of the famous Dutch side that had ruled Europe so recently, along with the likes of Marinho, Asensi and Rexach, were the leading players in a team that was expected to make a strong challenge for the ultimate prize in European football. Leeds, however, were a strong and skilful side who would not be intimidated by any players, no matter how famous. This was clear after just ten minutes of the first game at Elland Road as captain Billy Bremner got on the end of a Joe Jordan header and struck a fierce shot into the top corner of the net to put the English side ahead. Leeds continued to dominate throughout the first half, but Barcelona held firm and gradually got more of a foothold in the game. On 64 minutes, the Spaniards were awarded a free-kick and Cruyff’s cross was met by Asensi who scored a crucial equaliser. But Leeds were not to be denied and less than 15 minutes later, Clarke scored from Reaney’s cross to give his side a slim lead to take to Spain.
Leeds v Barcelona
Leeds extended their lead in the second leg when Lorimer tucked home a Jordan flick. Midway through the second half, Clares got one back for Barcelona and shortly afterwards McQueen was sent off for retaliation but, although Stewart in the Leeds goal was forced to make a number of impressive saves, the English side held out to reach their first European Cup Final. Barcelona were left frustrated at their failure in Europe’s most prestigious competition once more and Michels was soon sacked as a result.
Barcelona v Leeds
To mark the 20th anniversary of the competition, UEFA decided to hold the 1975 final in Paris, scene of Real Madrid’s first triumph in 1956. It seemed the perfect match to commemorate such an occasion with the reigning champions taking on a Leeds side that, although they had won 6 major titles in the previous decade, had also finished runner-up 10 times and were determined to ensure that did not finish second once again. Unfortunately, the main talking points at the end of the evening did not concern the brilliance of the players and the drama of an exciting game, but the performance of the French referee Michel Kitabdjian and the behaviour of the Leeds supporters.
The game began with a late tackle by Yorath on Andersson which ended the game for the Bayern defender. Uli Hoeness later said: ‘It was the most brutal foul I think I have ever seen.’ From then Leeds dominated the game completely. During the first half, Leeds had two penalty appeals turned down. Firstly when Beckenbauer looked to have handled the ball inside the penalty area and then when the Bayern captain tripped Clarke. Even Beckenbauer admitted that the second incident should have been a penalty, but on both occasions Kitabdjian waved away the Leeds protests. The Leeds domination continued into the second half with only the heroic efforts of Maier and Beckenbauer keeping them at bay. Just past the hour mark, with Maier having just made a reflex save from Bremner, Peter Lorimer volleyed the ball home for what appeared to be the opening goal, but the linesman flagged for offside against Bremner and the goal was disallowed. Many Leeds fans were unable to contain their sense of frustration and missiles now began to rain down behind Maier’s goal. Five inutes later and those frustrations grew even greater as Muller released Torstensson, and his pass found Roth who hit a right foot shot past Stewart and into the net. Leeds fans now began to tear up their seats and use them as missiles while others attempted to get past the wall and moat that were between them and the pitch. Soon fighting ensued between the fans and the French police. Seven minutes from the end Bayern counter attacked again and Muller scored at the near post after a Kapellman cross.
The night could hardly have been worse for Leeds United. Despite dominating the game they had received no favours from the French referee and had beaten by two late goals. On top of that, their fans had blackened the name of the club and they would be punished by a four year ban from European football. Bayern meanwhile, while not being at their best, had retained the trophy, although they were forced to abandon their lap of honour. It had turned out to be a successful night for Bayern Munich, but for football it had been a stark warning of dark events to come which would culminate in the horrors that occur ten years later.
1975 European Cup Final (Paris)
Bayern Munich 2 Leeds United 0
Bayern Munich: Maier, Durnberger, Schwarzenbeck, Beckenbauer (capt), Andersson (Weiss), Zobel, Roth, Kapellmann, Torstensson, Muller, Hoeness (Wunder)
Scorers: Roth, Muller
Leeds United: Stewart, Reaney, Madeley, Hunter, F.Gray, Bremner (capt), Giles, Yorath (E.Gray), Lorimer, Jordan, Clarke
You can find details of all the results, dates and scorers on the RSSSF website here.