If ever there was a team to stamp its mark on the European Cup Winners’ Cup it was RSC Anderlecht. Going into the deciding game of the 1978 edition the Royal Sporting Club were now featured in three consecutive finals. Their record stood at 1-1: In 1976 they won 4:2 against West Ham, in 1977 they fell 0:2 to Hamburg.
Together with Club Brugge and Standard Liège RSCA stood at the forefront of a golden age for Belgian football. National champions Brugge had made it to the 1978 European Cup final. While their compatriots would lose to a supreme Liverpool side, Anderlecht were the clear favorites in the Cup Winners’ final. The Belgians had won six of their eight games in the competition, drawing another and losing just one. Only Hamburg in the Second round kept the aggregate score within a one goal difference. Lokomotiv Sofia, Porto and Twente hardly stood a chance.
Vienna, by contrast, inched their way to Parc des Princes where the final was staged. Cardiff City were beaten 1:0 on aggregate. Against Lokomotíva Košice they prevailed after two draws virtue of having scored the only away goal of the tie. Penalties were needed against both Hajduk Split and Dynamo Moscow. Curiously Split failed to convert even one penalty.
Nevertheless Vienna made it to the final. According to Elo the probability of an Austria win after 90 minutes stood at only 13%, forcing extra time would occur in one of every five cases.
An inkling of hope was derived from, as the French commentary introduced him, “numero huit, Pro’aschka”. Only 22 years old, playmaker Herbert Prohaska was already the focal point of the team. Against Anderlecht the seminal talent faced his stiffest test yet. Continue reading