Saturday, September 11, 2010

And double lucky Milan – there was no doubt the Italians were to collect one more cup. They did it the previous year after a scandalous final against Leeds United. They convinced nobody in 1973, the judgment was against them, their win was heavily tainted. Now Milan had a chance to redeem themselves – Magdeburg was no Leeds. It was not going to be a final, but a walk-over… predictions in football are more often wrong than right. In the drizzle of Rotterdam Milan and Magdeburg came on the pitch in front of small crowd . Only 4000 fans bothered to attend… apart from politics – East Germans were not allowed to travel to the West – the numbers tell how much everybody everywhere was convinced who will win. The final was not to be even a match worth watching… after all, who wants to see a game already knowing the result?
The match started and… there were no Italians. Magdeburg outrun and outplayed Milan. It was the shabby Trabant-driving nobodies running the show, as if the clubs switched shirts before the game. The Italians were helpless and hopeless… yes, it was one-team show, but the nobodies were Gianni Rivera, Schnellinger, and the rest of the spaghetti eaters. Lanzi scored in his own net in the 43rd minute. In 74th minute Seguin scored a second goal, a thoroughly German one this time. And the final whistle was only a formality – the Cup Winners Cup had brand new possessor, which turned out to be the youngest squad to win the trophy.

Final, Feyenoord Stadion, Rotterdam, 8 May 1974, att 4000

1.FC Magdeburg (1) 2 AC Milan (0) 0
43' 1-0 Mag: Lanzi og
74' 2-0 Mag: Seguin

1.FC Magdeburg: Schulze; Enge, Zapf, Tyll, Abraham; Seguin, Pommerenke, Gaube; Raugust,Sparwasser, Hoffmann
AC Milan: Pizzabella; Sabadini, Anquilletta, Lanzi, Schnellinger; Benetti, Maldera, Rivera; Tresoldi, Bigon, Bergamaschi (Turini)
Magdeburg made Milan invisible. Yes, it was one-team show… only it was the show of the ‘wrong’ club.
The lap of honour, presenting the Cup to the empty stadium. Mirroir de Football, owned by the French Communist Party, generously inflated the attendance to 5000. The official count is 4000. Unattended Communist triumph.
Empty stadium does not stop Magdeburg players Tyll, Sparwasser, and Zapf from smiling. And justifiably so – they were the better team by far.
The surprise win of 1.FC Magdeburg was shrugged off – it made some East German players a bit less mysterious at the World Cup finals, but no more than that. Even with the second ranking European trophy the East Germans were not considered up and coming. And this time predictions were…right. 1974 was the singular year of East German success, both on club and national team level. Never to be repeated. In a way, this makes a win sweeter.