Neverkusen vs Galácticos w/ Eric Bruehl & Kiyan Sobhani

Having finished runners-up more times than anybody in Leverkusen cared to remember, Bayer 04 had claimed the undesirable moniker of “Neverkusen”. Playing at times the best football in the country the side ultimately always fell short in collecting silverware. In 2001/02 they lost the Bundesliga title race on the last matchday. A week later they fell to Schalke in the Cup final. Another four days later another defeat in the Champions League final would forever cement their place in footballing lore as nearly men.

Their opponents at Hampden Park faced their own bit of pressure. Having delivered two CL trophies to Madrid within three years club president Lorenzo Sanz was nonetheless voted out of power. New guy Florentino Perez wasted no time by ushering in the Galácticos era at Real, bringing in Luis Figo from Barcelona and, in 2001, Zinedine Zidane from Juventus. For all the money spent they travelled to Glasgow empty handed having finished third in La Liga and losing to Deportivo La Coruna in the Copa final.

Guests!

This episode has been some time in the making but it turned into our biggest, baddest, and likely best episode yet. In large part that is due to our awesome guests:

Minutes for the different parts below if you want to jump to a particular guest or topic:

  • 0:01:20 PART 1 talking about works teams in Germany, and Leverkusen’s club history
  • 0:35:15 PART 2 (with Eric) talking about Bayer Leverkusen in the late 90s / early 00s, Toppmöller, and the origin of “Neverkusen”
  • 1:21:45 PART 3 (with Kiyan) talking about Perez’ election, bringing in Figo & Zidane, and how the “Galacticos” set up on the pitch
  • 1:50:30 PART 4 talking about the Champions League season 2001/02 & the final in detail
  • 2:58:10 PART 5 (with Eric) talking about the immediate & long term aftermath of the final, and what ails Bayer Leverkusen in 2017

Also check out our previous episodes on Real Madrid:

 

2001: A Redemption Odyssey, Or: CL Final 2000/01, Bayern München vs Valencia CF (S01E09)

Under the most dramatic of circumstances Bayern had lost the ’99 CL final. In the Y2K edition Valencia were downright demolished. Yet both made it to Milan in May 2001 to vie for the European football crown once more. The match up would grant redemption to one side, whilst condemning the other to more heartbreak.

In episode nine we cover the Champions League Final 2000/01 contested between German champions Bayern Munich and Spanish representatives Valencia CF. Before that, though, we delve into all of the drama surrounding Bayern between their final appearances. Rest assured, there was plenty to be had on and off the pitch. In the aftermath we focus on Valencia with Rafa Benitez at the helm.

Here are the minutes:

  • 0:04:30 Bayern after CL 99, summer moves
  • 0:08:00 Drama in Munich & New York
  • 0:14:30 Drama in Hamburg & Magdeburg
  • 0:31:00 Valencia’s domestic season
  • 0:35:00 CL: groups and quarters
  • 0:45:00 Setting the stage at the San Siro: line-ups, expectations in Germany
  • 0:57:20 Kick-off, Valencia convert an early pen, Bayern miss their’s
  • 1:05:00 What are the side’s match plans?
  • 1:12:00 Bayern dominate but hardly create
  • 1:19:45 Jancker sub nets a third penalty
  • 1:26:30 Valencia gassed? Few chances on either side
  • 1:35:15 Into extra time with golden goal rules
  • 1:44:00 Penalties
  • 1:48:15 Awards & viewing recommendation
  • 1:52:00 Valencia under Benitez, subsequent decline
Approximate formations and player movements for Bayern vs Valencia, May 23rd 2001

Approximate formations and player movements for Bayern vs Valencia, May 23rd 2001

Some further reading and viewing:

El Príncipe y la Octava, Or: CL Final 1999/2000, Real Madrid vs Valencia CF (S01E08)

At the dawn of the new millennium Fernando Carlos Redondo Neri was at the zenith of his power. Just two years after winning their seventh European Cup, the Argentinian playmaker led Real Madrid once again into the final. For the first time ever two sides from the same country would square off as Valencia CF reached the final in their first ever Champions League season. Could the newcomers usher in a new era or would the old powers remind them of the natural hierarchy?

We’ve re-watched the Champions League final of 1999/2000 and now we’re to talk about it. After a brief trip down memory lane, we focus on the 101 of Valencia’s club history and cover what has been happening in the short time between finals at Madrid (Spoilers: a lot!). We quickly go over the worst format changes to the Champions League, aka the dreaded double group stage, and how the sides reached the final in Paris.

Here are the minutes if you want to jump around:

  • 0:01:30 Recollections of Spanish football in late ’90s
  • 0:08:00 Valencia club history 101: foundation, domestic success in the ’40s, European titles in the late ’70s
  • 0:19:00 Bloated CL format in 1999/2000
  • 0:22:00 Real Madrid’s managerial merry-go-round ’98-’00
  • 0:28:00 The path to the final
  • 0:33:00 Valencia’s home form
  • 0:37:30 Semi-final return leg Real Madrid @ Bayern Munich
  • 0:43:00 ELO & expectations
  • 0:46:45 Line-ups
  • 0:51:00 Opening exchanges, general set-up & approach
  • 1:03:30 A first surge by Madrid draws first blood
  • 1:08:30 Valencia’s lacking response after half-time
  • 1:16:00 McManaman & Raul seal Madrid’s victory
  • 1:24:00 Where did it go wrong for Valencia?
  • 1:28:30 Awards: MOTM, Best hair, viewing recommendation
  • 1:33:00 Off-the-cuff Mount Everest of CL era managers

Awards

  • Man Of The Match: Fernando Redondo, ran the show, untouchable at times
  • Best Hair: Steve McManaman, with honourable mentions to Gaizka Mendieta & Ivan Campo
  • Viewing recommendations: So-so, too lopsided for a ringing endorsement, highlights below worth it for McManaman’s goal alone though

Throwback: When Liverpool & Chelsea Still Did Battle In Europe

Well it didn’t take long for Steven Gerrard to find his way back to Anfield. The writing is on the wall, then: It may not be this blip that ousts Jürgen Klopp, but at some point The Normal One will get the axe. Why wait? Give it to Stevie now, I say! What could go wrong?

Such is the nature of the fixture list beast, that you get Chelsea in the league after bombing out to Wolverhampton in the FA Cup. From ’04/05 to ’08/09 the two sides met in each of the five Champions League editions, thrice at the semi-final stage. From those Liverpool advanced twice, winning one final and losing another, both against AC Milan in ’05 and ’07 respectively. Whilst Chelsea advanced to the ’08 final which they lost to Manchester United. Continue reading

Football Bloody Hell, Or: CL Final 1998/99, Manchester United vs Bayern Munich (S01E07.2)

If you’ve never watched this match before and don’t know what happened, stop reading and hit play.

If you’ve seen the match, the familiar beats are most likely etched into your mind. At least that’s how it went for us. The question then is, does the match as a whole hold up?

So before we spoil anything, this is part two of our episode on the Champions League Final 1998/99 contested in Barcelona between England’s Manchester United & Germany’s Bayern Munich.

The minutes, in case you want to jump around:

  • 0:01:45 The setting: kits, referee team, commentary in England & Germany
  • 0:07:00 Elo ratings, line-ups
  • 0:13:30 Atmosphere, early approach,
  • 0:17:00 First blood to Bayern c/o Mario Basler, United’s response
  • 0:24:15 Indecisiveness from both sides, Beckham’s role
  • 0:31:00 Bayern’s midfield formation, United revving up before half-time
  • 0:38:00 Half-time thoughts
  • 0:42:00 Bayern come out stronger
  • 0:51:00 Momentum building for United
  • 0:59:00 Sheringham on, formation shift for United
  • 1:08:15 Matthäus off, Solskjaer on, Bayern power-play
  • 1:18:30 Name on the trophy &  into the promised land
  • 1:25:00 Trophy presentation & celebrations, Awards
  • 1:31:00 Aftermath, in the lion’s den
  • 1:36:15 Bayern’s end to the season, United’s trip to Brazil

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The full match can be found here (1st half, 2nd half). Though you might be best served with the 5 minute injury time highlights:

CL Final 1997/98, Real Madrid vs Juventus; Doping in Football (S01E06.2)

After covering the history of Real Madrid in-depth in Part 1 as well as looking at the 97/98 season and the lead-up to the final, it’s time to actually talk about the match: Juventus are back for a third CL final in a row, having won their first and lost their second. Real Madrid have been waiting 32 years for La Séptima.

Here’s the audio (the arrow in the top right corner gets you an mp3 to download):

Here are the minutes, if you want to jump around:

  • 0:00:00 Intro
  • 0:01:30 What are Elo ratings? And how do they apply in (historical) football?
  • 0:06:30 The eve of the match
  • 0:11:00 Refs, kits, line-ups
  • 0:18:00 Kickoff, frantic start, general approach
  • 0:25:30 Zidane’s influence, penalty to Madrid?
  • 0:30:00 Madrid closer to the opening goal (Raul, Morientes)
  • 0:36:00 Davids vs Seedorf Pt 1, Madrid in command after the break
  • 0:42:15 Juve’s tactical changes & resurgence (Inzaghi twice), but Madrid
  • 0:46:00 Juve dial up the pace, finally throw in Conte
  • 0:51:30 Again no plan B for Juve?
  • 0:55:00 Handbags all around, Davids vs Seedorf Pt 2
  • 1:00:00 Awards & recommendation
  • 1:04:45 Aftermath, Heynckes out, Italian media reaction
  • 1:07:30 Court case against Juve’s medical team & doping in football
  • 1:22:00 Signing off

Awards! Our Man Of The Match went to Fernando Hierro, Best Hair to Antonio Conte. Clarence Seedorf and Edgar Davids earned commemorative plaques for their Outstanding Contribution in Man-to-Man Combat on the field. Case in point:

In the aftermath we covered the Juve doping scandal in detail. (YouTube to follow!) Years after their mid-90s dominance Roma’s former coach Zdeněk Zeman made thinly-veiled accusations that Juve’s success might have been aided by pharmaceuticals of the banned variety. This prompted an investigation, a court case, fines and jail sentences. To find out more, jump to around the 1h07m mark in the episode.

Further reading: In praise of Fernando Hierro, Real Madrid’s complete leader (These Football Times)

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