Monday, September 12, 2011

So far unsatisfying and bleak club season ended sourly. The Intercontinental Cup was not played at all and it looked like the end of this tournament. Thus, the European Supercup was, at least technically, the peak of club football. In reality the competition was shaky – it started as a private challenge between Ajax and Glasgow Rangers and although sanctioned and incorporated by UEFA, the contest between the European Champions Cup and the Cup Winners Cup winners attracted little interest – fans went in mass, of course, but otherwise nobody paid much attention. Somehow the ‘top’ competition was not seen as really ‘top’ – and the stigma remains to this very days. In 1974 there was no contest at all – apparently, for political reasons, for clubs of the two Germanies had to meet (ironically, they met after all – in the second round of the 1974-75 European Champions Cup Bayern eliminated 1. FC Magdeburg, beating them twice.) Nobody even noticed the Supercup was played… but it was to be revamped in 1975, opposing Bayern to Dinamo (Kiev). It was not expected to be great… there was grudge against both clubs. It was expected Bayern to win – Dinamo were not thought really good and it was high time to put them in their place. Bayern was the lesser evil – it was painful to think of another trophy going to Munich after yet another boring performance, but their experience, will power, and physicality was deemed supreme. The contest was still organized in two legs, first match in Munich. A bomb dropped… Dinamo outrun Bayern and won. In Kiev they won as well. Bayern, the natural born winners, were not able to score at all. The Soviets played faster, tougher… they looked more German than the Germans. In the clash of robots, the Soviet made had better batteries. Oleg Blokhin scored all goals – Gerd Muller ended with zero.
1st Leg, Olympiastadion, Munich, 9 Sep 1975, att 30000

Bayern Munich (0) 0 Dinamo Kiev (0) 1
66' 0-1 DK: Blokhin

Bayern Munich
Maier, Zobel, Horsmann, Schwarzenbeck, Beckenbauer, Weiss, Dürnberger(Roth), K.H. Rummenigge, G. Müller, Kappelmann, Wunder
Dinamo Kiev
Rudakov, Troshkin, Fomenko, Reshko, Zuev, Konykov, Damin, Buryak,
Kolotov, Slobodyan, Blokhin

2nd Leg, Republican Stadium, Kiev, 6 Oct 1975, att 110000

Dinamo Kiev (1) 2 Bayern Munich (0) 0
40' 1-0 DK: Blokhin
53' 2-0 DK: Blokhin
Dinamo won 3-0 on aggregate

Dinamo Kiev
Rudakov, Troshkin, Fomenko, Reshko, Zuev, Konykov, Muntyan, Buryak,Veremeyev, Onyshchenko, Blokhin
Bayern Munich
Maier, Weiss, Horsmann, Schwarzenbeck, Beckenbauer, Roth, Dürnberger(Hansen), Schuster (Torstensson), Wunder, Kappelmann, K.H. Rummenigge
The picture shows what was expected before the matches: Zobel ready to score in the net of Rudakov.
If not Zobel, hawkish Muller then… under pressure, Dinamo was to crack sooner or later – and on photos it looks just that.
But it was unstoppable Oleg Blokhin to crack Bayern. Three times and in the presense of Schwarchebeck (4) and whoever wears number 8. really, Bayern players were reduced to ‘whoever’ anonymity by Dinamo.
Reshko, Fomenko, and Muntyan try to lift the Supercup. Weird cup… somewhat too huge for its actual reputation. Looks too heavy for Kiev’s players too… as if not really for them. But it was theirs and without a shade of doubt. Mighty Bayern was utterly and completely destroyed.
So, Dinamo were the best of the best… Doubts emerged during the matches and percolate ever since. One is the attitude of Bayern – there was a suspicion that they were not really trying and only putting an appearance. They were thought not interested in this Cup and not wanting to play. Beckenbauer is still regularly asked to tell the truth… football players are notoriously tied-lipped when the topic is suspicious games. They are vague at best – usually, there was wide-spread corruption during their times, but they don’t really know concrete names, because they themselves were never involved. That’s the most one can get from players… and Beckenbauer routinely answers that Dinamo was just better in the early fall of 1975, Bayern tried the best they can, but were outplayed and lost fair and square. May be there was something in the Kiev’s camp, may be some tampering, but the Kaiser doesn’t really know… but Bayern – they were clean.
The suspicion remains largely because Bayern were outrun – then the starting list was put under scrutiny and looks like Bayern played with whole bunch of reserves.Muller did not appear in the second match, Hoeness missed both games, Zobel and Roth did not either play in both matches, or were substitutes, Hansen and Trostensson were substitutes. Rummenigge (not the superstar yet, but rather suspect ‘may be’), Weiss, some entirely unknown Schuster… Horsmann… the latter was probably the only justifiable starter, for he was expected to be the new Bayern’s left full back – alas, one of the biggest disappointments against Dinamo. Strange team… not wanting to win? Not caring for the Supercup? Possibly.
As for Dinamo, their fantastic condition was very suspicious. It was mildly suspect against Ferencvaros, but very suspect against Bayern: how come out of the blue sluggish and hardly impressive players transformed into mighty runners, passed the ball with uncanny precision and beat Bayern in what the Germans were best? Officially, nothing wrong was suspected, though and as far as UEFA is concerned, Dinamo-1975 was never acused or investigated. Outside UEFA there was and is a strong conviction that Dinamo were doped – not for the particular finals, but for the whole season. After all, Lobanovsky worked close with ‘scientific laboratory’ and who knows what ‘science’ was concocted there. The real doubt is fueled by this: in 1974 Dinamo were still neither great, nor impressive, They were good enough for the Soviet league out of which so far no good club team ever emerged on the international scene. Then the same players had fantastic 1975 season – the sudden transformation was too much and perhaps would have been swallowed as normal development, if the squad continued to play great football. But Dinamo sunk into mediocrity in 1976 and for the most of team it was quick and steady downfall after that. How come those guys had only one great season, so different from their usual level? How come they faded so quickly and beyond repair? The questions perhaps will never be answered.
What can be answered is something usually overlooked: USSR (and Russia today) had spring-autumn season as opposed to fall-spring season in most of Europe. In the early September Dinamo were in midseason and in prime form. Bayern were coming out of the summer break and the German season barely started. If Dinamo were well oiled squad, playing regular championship games, Bayern had new players to fit in and had only friendlies behind them. The Soviets were made team and the Germans were a team in making. This was big difference and also explains the ‘strange’ players fielded by Bayern. It was not like Dinamo fielded their normal starters either, but they had the advantage of known quality: Damin, Zuev, Slobodyan were varieties of established team – Bayern’s ‘strange’ players were experiments in possibilities. Players getting to know each other, players tried, players put in different positions for learning different tactics and options. Whether accusations of doping and not willing to play have any weight is perhaps less important than the simple fact that Dinamo were in prime form and Bayern objectively had no way to be in such form yet. Suspicions or not, Dinamo Kiev took the Supercup home. Good for them, yet, the Supercup was sour ending of a sour season.