EUROPEAN CUP HISTORY.COM
The 1980 European Cup began with Dundalk, the champions of the Irish Republic, being drawn against Linfield of Northern Ireland. With the Irish troubles at their height, there were depressingly predictable scenes during the first leg in the Republic as clashes broke out between rival supporters and police. UEFA decreed that the second leg would have to be played at a neutral venue and so it was that in front of barely a thousand people in the Dutch town of Haarlem Dundalk won 2-0 to go through 3-1 on aggregate.
Incredibly, just as had happened the year before, a number of big names went crashing out of the competition at the first stage. One of these was Liverpool, winners in 1977 and 1978, who would now be knocked out at the first round stage for the second season in a row. Drawn against the Soviet champions Dynamo Tbilisi, Liverpool could only muster a 2-1 win at home and, having been woken by a student demonstration at 4am outside their hotel, were thumped 3-0 in Georgia in the return game thanks to a scrappy goal from Gutsaev, a tap in from Shengelia after an amazing 60 yard run by defender Chileya, and a late penalty converted by Chivadze. Also out at the same stage were AC Milan who were beaten by Porto. With new manager Massimo Giacomini just installed, Milan managed a creditable goalless draw in Portugal, but were unable to find a way to goal in the San Siro and were beaten by a 25 yard free-kick from Duda, Porto’s veteran Brazilian, which rebounded from the goalkeepers chest onto the post and into the net. To add to Milan’s woes, they were found guilty of match fixing later that same season and were relegated.
Dynamo Tbilisi v Liverpool
Safely through to the second round, however, were the likes of Ajax who twice thrashed HJK Helsinki 8-1, Real Madrid 3-0 aggregate winners over the Bulgarians Levski Spartak, new German champions Hamburg who eased past Valur Reykjavik, former winners Celtic who endured a trip to Albania without any supporters where they lost 1-0 to Partizan Tirana, and then went a further goal behind at home before recovering to win 4-2 on aggregate, and the holders Nottingham Forest who beat the Swedes Osters Vaxjo 3-1.
Having knocked out Liverpool, Dynamo Tbilisi’s next task was to defeat Hamburg. With European Footballer of the Year Kevin Keegan alongside captain Felix Magath in midfield along with the burly Horst Hrubesch up front and German international defender Manni Kaltz at the back, the Germans were certainly one of the strongest teams in the competition and would scarcely be any easier than Dynamo’s first round tie. The first leg in Hamburg’s Volkspark Stadium saw Dynamo take an early lead through Kipiani, but goals on either side of half-time from Kaltz and Keegan put the home side in front and they eventually ran out 3-1 winners. A fifth minute goal from Gutsaev in the second leg threatened to upset the Germans, but Keegan struck again on 34 minutes and a Hrubesch goal just before the interval effectively ended the tie. The game ended 3-2 to Hamburg who went through 6-3 on aggregate and cemented their position as major contenders for the European title.
The other big match up of the second round paired Real Madrid with Porto. Real Madrid, managed by Vujadin Boskov, were captained by Pirri, the sole survivor from their last European Cup winning team, but he was missing from the first leg in Portugal through injury and an in form Porto took full advantage as they took a 2-0 first half lead through two Gomes goals. But Real were back in the game just four minutes after the break when the referee penalised the Porto goalkeeper for taking too many steps and the resulting free kick was squared to Real’s English forward Laurie Cunningham who cracked the ball home for what would turn out to be a crucial away goal. In the return, Porto held out until the 70th minute before Benito headed home a Cunningham cross to see Real through on away goals.
Having beaten the Romanians of Arges Pitesti with little difficulty, Nottingham Forest met Dynamo Berlin in the Quarter-Finals. In Nottingham the holders were frustrated by the strong East German defence, and were shocked when Hans-Jurgen Riediger scored on the counter-attack a goal that looked to have sent the European champions crashing out of the competition. The weekend before the second leg saw Dynamo score ten goals in their league match while Forest were beaten in the League Cup Final. With Kenny Burns out of the Forest defence due to suspension, the odds seemed to be very much against the cup holders. But the game in Berlin proved to be a showcase for the talents of Trevor Francis. Forest’s record signing had spent much of his time under Brian Clough playing on the right wing, but for this match he was pushed into attack and he soon showed why he had been worth paying £1 million for. After 35 minutes, Francis had scored twice to put Forest ahead, and when John Robertson was brought down for a penalty which he converted himself, the holders had incredibly wrapped up the tie before half-time. Despite scoring a penalty in the second half, there was no way back for Dynamo Berlin and Brian Clough had achieved yet another memorable European result to see his side through to the semi-finals.
Having come from two goals behind to beat Porto in the previous round, Real Madrid would do the same against Celtic in the Quarter-Finals. Having dominated the first half in Glasgow, Real - once again without the injured Pirri - were undone after half-time by two crosses from Celtic full back Alan Sneddon. The first was dropped by goalkeeper Garcia Ramon and stabbed home by George McLuskey, and the second was headed into the net by Johnny Doyle. In the second leg, Celtic could have sealed the tie if McLuskey had made it 3-0 on aggregate rather than hitting the crossbar, but Cunningham was on top form for Real and it was his corner that was bundled home by Santillana moments before half-time, and his cross that was converted by Stielike on 56 minutes. Then, with just four minutes remaining, Angel’s cross was headed home at the far post by Juanito and the Bernabeu Stadium erupted.
Celtic v Real Madrid
In order to reach the last four, Hamburg had to get past Hajduk Split. The first game in Germany was settled by a single controversial goal which could have seen the referee blow for either a foul or offside but did neither as Willi Reimann gave Hamburg a single goal lead to take to Yugoslavia. Hrubesch seemed to have settled the tie as early as the second minute in Split when he gave the Germans a two goal lead in the tie, but Zlatko Vujovic struck on 21 minutes to give Hajduk some hope, and two minutes later they were right back in the tie as Djordjevic was brought down in the penalty area. Sadly for the home team, the penalty was saved by Kargus in the Hamburg goal and the Germans scored almost immediately to give themselves a 3-1 overall lead. Hajduk did hit back with two second half goals, but Hamburg were through on away goals.
The semi-final line-up was completed by Ajax who, after putting a total of 16 goals past HJK Helsinki and 10 goals in one game against Omonia Nicosia, continued their impressive form when they followed a goalless draw away to Strasbourg with a fine 4-0 win to reach the last four.
Ajax next faced Nottingham Forest, but the holders would prove to be a much tougher test than any of their other opponents. The first leg in Nottingham was settled by errors in the Ajax defence and the scintillating form of Trevor Francis. Francis gave Forest the lead just after the half hour when Ajax failed to clear a corner and the England forward pounced to fire the ball home. Then on the hour, his cross was unnecessarily handled by defender Cees Zwamborn and Robertson scored from the spot. The game finished 2-0 and Ajax had a mountain to climb if they were to reach the final. In the Olympic Stadium, Ajax put plenty of pressure on the Forest defence, but with the English back four as solid as ever and Peter Shilton in impressive form in goal, the Dutch team grew ever more frustrated. On 63 minutes, Soren Lerby found himself free at the far post and headed a corner home to bring the capacity crowd to its feet, but despite their best efforts, they could not find a vital second goal, and Nottingham Forest were through to the European Cup Final once more.
Nottingham Forest v Ajax
Ajax v Nottingham Forest
The other semi-final turned out to be one of the all-time classic European Cup ties. Hamburg, led by European Footballer of the Year and England captain Kevin Keegan, up against the great Real Madrid. The first leg was to be played at the Bernabeu Stadium which would host the final just a few weeks later. Packed to the rafters with well over 100,000 supporters, Real were soon on the offensive as they strove to break down a strong German defence. With a little luck the home side could have been three goals ahead at half-time and the tie would have been virtually over, but goals by Santillana and Cunningham in the opening seven minutes were both disallowed while Cunningham’s goal bound header was cleared off the line. Into the second half and the Real attacks kept on coming. The breakthrough finally came just short of the hour mark when the Hamburg defenders finally made a mistake, leaving Santillana free in the box to put the Spaniards ahead. Then, with just ten minutes remaining, brilliant work by Stielike enabled Santillana to score his second with ease and put Real Madrid in a commanding position. It could have been worse for Hamburg as a Cunningham volley thumped the crossbar near the end, but the game finished 2-0 and the Madrid fans went home dreaming of returning to the Bernabeu for the final the following month.
The second leg, however, was in remarkable contrast to the first. Hamburg were now going all out on offensive as they had to do, and Real could not cope with the waves of German attacks. The two goal deficit from the first game was halved as early as the 11th minute when Keegan was brought down in the penalty area and Manny Kaltz scored the resultant spot kick. With less than 20 minutes gone, a Hrubesch header cancelled out Real’s first leg advantage and the game was well and truly on. But as soon as Hamburg had clawed their way back, they looked to have lost the initiative again as, on the half hour, Hamburg’s goalkeeper Rudi Kargus found himself stranded off his line and Cunningham cleverly lobbed him from 30 yards out. Now Hamburg found themselves needing two goals once again - surely an insurmountable task. And yet, by half-time, the Germans were back in front. Kaltz brought the home crowd back to life with a thunderous 25 yard strike that made it 3-3 on aggregate on 40 minutes, and then, remarkably, Hrubesch rose once more on the stroke of half-time to head his side into the lead again. In the second half, Real had to go forward, but they made little impression on the German defence and it was Hamburg who continued to look the more dangerous. There was one more goal in the match, but that came in the last minute as Hrubesch set up Caspar Memering to make it 5-1 and crown a famous night for Hamburg and their 60,000 jubilant fans packed into the Volkparkstadion.
Hamburg v Real Madrid
The 25th anniversary European Cup Final was to be held at the home of the most successful team in the competitions history - the Bernabeu in Madrid. Sadly, the presence of two of Europe’s lesser known clubs in the final meant that the ground was barely half full for such a prestigious occasion, but that did not mean that the match mattered any less to the two teams involved. Both, however, were hampered by injury to their star centre-forwards. Forest were without Trevor Francis who had torn an Achilles tendon, while Hamburg’s Horst Hrubesch had an ankle injury which meant that he was relegated to the substitutes bench.
With Keegan taking his position at the head of the Hamburg attack, the Germans made a bright start as Forest took up the defensive positions that they would keep for most of the game. During the opening twenty minutes, the English team rarely ventured outside their own half while Hamburg piled on the pressure. During that time, the nearest anyone came to a goal was when Shilton tipped a Magath free-kick round the post with an outstanding fingertip save. But despite all their possession, Hamburg could not find the net, while Forest on almost their first venture up field found themselves in the lead. Having exchanged passes with Birtles on the left hand side, John Robertson, Forest’s Scottish winger moved inside and as he approached the penalty area, struck a low right footed shot that beat Kargus in the Hamburg goal, hit the inside of his left hand post and into the net.
Hamburg looked to have made an immediate recovery when Reiman slotted home after Shilton had parried a Magath shot, but the linesmans flag was up for offside and the celebrations were stopped. And that was as close as they came to equalising. From then on Forest performed a classic rearguard action. It was nothing that had not been seen many times before over the previous two years with Burns and Lloyd stopping nearly every attack that the opposition could throw at them and Shilton behind them brilliantly keeping out the few chances carved out from the few occasions that his defenders were beaten. The Forest players ran and harried the opposition until some of them could barely stand, but in the end hard work and determination triumphed over greater skill and technique as Nottingham Forest ran out 1-0 winners to retain the trophy that they had won in Munich a year earlier.
It had not been a great game and with it coming on such a significant anniversary for the competition was compared unfavourably with previous finals by many commentators. But for the romance of a small club triumphing over the biggest names in Europe for the second time, and for the triumph of pride and hard work, it was a story to rank with the best finals of all. Shorn of their most exciting player, Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest had taken the European Cup back to England once again. Forest would never touch such heights again in Europe, but they will go down in history as the small town club who showed just what was possible as they won and retained Europe’s biggest prize.
1980 European Cup Final (Madrid)
Nottingham Forest 1 Hamburg SV 0
Nottingham Forest: Shilton, Anderson, Lloyd, Burns, Gray (Gunn), O’Neill, Mc Govern (capt), Mills (O’Hare), Bowyer, Birtles, Robertson
Hamburg SV: Kargus, Kaltz, Nogly (capt), Jakobs, Buljan, Hieronymus (Hrubesch), Magath, Memering, Reimann, Keegan, Milewski
European Cup Highlights 1979/80 part 1 (in Italian)
European Cup Highlights 1979/80 part 2 (in Italian)
You can find details of all the results, dates and scorers on the RSSSF website here.