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:

 

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