Season 1997-98


Before the start of the 1997/98 season, changes were made that would alter the European Cup for ever. No longer was the competition solely for national champions and the cup holders. Now the runners-up in the eight top ranked countries would also have the opportunity to compete for Europes biggest prize. And so the likes of Barcelona, Newcastle, Paris St Germain, Parma, Feyenoord, Sporting Lisbon and Bayer Leverkusen took their place in the qualifying round, hoping to make it into one of the six Champions League groups. There were few surprises in the qualifying round, but the most remarkable story featured Paris St Germain. Having achieved a creditable 2-3 defeat away to Steaua Bucharest, it transpired that defender Laurent Fornier should have been serving a suspension following their previous European campaign and that they had, therefore, fielded an ineligible player. As a result the game was awarded to Steaua with a 3-0 scoreline. Undaunted, however, PSG hit back with four first half goals in the return and ended up winning 5-0 to complete a stunning comeback.

Paris St Germain v Steaua Bucharest

The 24 remaining teams were split into six groups of four with the group winners qualifying for the quater-finals alongside the two best runners-up.

The holders were in Group A and after losing 1-0 in Parma were behind the Italians at the halfway stage. But Dortmunds three wins in their final three games contrasted sharply with Parma's three games without a win and so Borussia qualified with comfort while Parma missed out on a best runner-up spot.

Manchester United and Juventus were drawn in the same group for the second successive year, but this time the outcome was different. United impressively won their first five games, including a 3-2 win over Juve, to finish top of the group. Only a last day 1-0 win over the already qualified United saw Juventus make it through as one of the best runners-up.

Juventus v Manchester United

Barcelona had spent a lot of money on big name signings and so were one of the favourites for the tournament. But they were beaten in their opening game, 3-2 away to Newcastle, and never really recovered, winning only one game as they finished bottom of the group. Newcastle followed a good 2-2 draw in Kiev with three consecutive defeats to put them out of the reckoning, while Dynamo Kiev went from strength to strength. A 3-1 win away to PSV Eindhoven and a fantastic 4-0 win in the Nou Camp contributed to them winning the group with a game to spare.

Newcastle v Barcelona

It looked as though there would be no repeat of Rosenborgs heroics a year earlier when they lost their opening game 4-1 to Real Madrid, but three fantastic home wins - 5-1 v Olympiakos, 2-0 v Porto and 2-0 v Real Madrid, put them right back into contention. Level on points with the Madrid giants going into the last round of games, they just missed out when they drew 2-2 away to Olympiakos while Real thumped Porto 4-0.

In Group E Bayern Munich won their first three games, including a 5-1 thrashing of Paris St Germain. Although they then lost 3-1 in Paris, a 2-0 win away to Besiktas virtually assured the Germans of top spot. PSGwon their final three games, but missed out on a best runner-up spot on goal difference and were eliminated. Group F began with Sporting Lisbon thumping Monaco 3-0, but they did not win again until the final game, by which time Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen had both amassed enough points to qualify for the quarter-finals.

In the last eight, the two German teams were drawn against each other. After 90 minutes of the second leg in Dortmund there had still been no goals in the tie, and it was not until the second half of extra-time that the deadlock was finally broken as Chapuisat's half volley from 8 yards out saw the holders through. Juventus only drew 1-1 with Dynamo Kiev in Turin and it was the same score in Kievbefore three late goals sent Juventus through 5-2 on aggregate with Inzaghi scoring a hat-trick. Real Madrid beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 in the Bernabeu after a 1-1 draw in Germany, while the surprise result came when Monaco knocked out Manchester United. After a goalless draw in France, Trezeguet gave Monaco an early lead at Old Trafford and United could only score once and were knocked out on the away goals rule.

Manchester United v Monaco/Dynamo Kiev v Juventus

Juventus virtually sealed their place in the final with a 4-1 first leg win over Monaco and they went through 6-4 on agregate. Real Madrid's passage to the final was almost as comfortable. Despite their home game with Dortmund being held up for 75 minutes after supporters pulled down one of the goals, they won 2-0 before playing out a 0-0 draw in Germany.

Juventus v Monaco

Juventus manager Marcello Lippi described it as the 'dream final.' Real Madrid and Juventus, two of Europe's biggest, richest and most famous clubs playing in the new Amsterdam Arena. A close game was settled by one goal in the 66th minute when Real Madrid's Mijatovic collected the ball on the edge of the 6 yard box, took the ball around the Juventus goalkeeper and shot home from a narrow angle. And so the European Cup returned to Madrid for the first time in 32 years.

1998 European Cup Final (Amsterdam)
Real Madrid 1 Juventus 0
Real Madrid:
Ilgner, Sanchis, Panucci, Roberto Carlos, Raul (Amavisca), Hierro, Karembeu, Seedorf, Redondo, Mijatovic (Suker), Morientes (Jaime)
Scorer: Mijatovic
Juventus: Peruzzi, Torricelli, Montero, Juliano, Di Livio (Tacchinardi), Deschamps (Conte), Davids, Possetto (Fonseca), Zidane, Del Piero, Inzaghi

You can find details of all the results on the RSSSF website here.

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