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July 10, 2019 9:30 pm Author: Red Matchday Team


1 Bayern Munich 1983

No surprises for the No1 position.

“Pittodrie’s Greatest Night” has been revered in memory and club video.

The night when Aberdeen defied the odds and claimed the scalp of one of the top clubs in world football.

Aberdeen were dining at the top table in the European arena and Alex Ferguson’s side were revelling jousting with Europe’s elite. Certainly, in those days the ECWC was full of some of the best sides around. There was no easy passage into the European Cup; that was still the privilege of the respective league champions of each country.

That meant the likes of the ECWC was littered with top sides every season.

It is hardly surprising that Ferguson was cautious in his assessment of Aberdeen chances in Europe that season. In the ECWC that season were the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Tottenham.

The Dons had only managed to reach the third round of any European competition for the first time the previous season. There was little to suggest the likes of Aberdeen could compete against some of the biggest clubs in world football.

Aberdeen as one of the unseeded sides also had to face a Preliminary tie; against Swiss side Sion.

The Dons negotiated their way through to the quarter finals with relative ease, almost unnoticed; certainly, by the bigger clubs who were expecting to battle it out in the latter stages. When the Dons came out in the draw for the quarter finals against Bayern Munich, they were instantly written off.

The Germans were dismissive of the Scots chances. Franz Beckenbauer the German international legend who was in the Hamburg side that played Aberdeen the year before declared that Bayern would be too strong;

“Aberdeen gave us a hard time in Scotland, but like most British teams they don’t travel well in Europe. I expect Bayern to be far too good for Aberdeen. The Scots will provide a test but technically Munich are better.” The German media were also of the same opinion as Aberdeen were not that well known across Europe. Bild newspaper declared that “Aberdeen will not present Bayern with any difficulty. It is a good draw for Munich who could have been paired with far more difficult opponents.”

Uli Hoeness, the Bayern coach took a more cautious view after watching Aberdeen dismantle Celtic at Parkhead; “We will need to be at our best to get through this tie. Aberdeen are well organised; technically superior to any British side I have seen in recent years. They present a real test for us

And it is important for us to take a lead to Scotland.”

That never materialised of course as Aberdeen went to the Olympic Stadium in Munich and looked a real class act as they held Bayern to a 0-0 draw that was without doubt one of the finest displays from a Scottish side on foreign soil.

It was manger Ferguson’s turn to be cautious; “The job is only half done. Bayern will present us with the toughest of tests as we still must win the tie. An away goal would give us a real problem; hopefully it will be one of those famous European nights at Pittodrie.”

After Aberdeen defeated the Germans 3-2 in what was the greatest night ever seen at the old stadium, the belief that was in the Aberdeen squad was now apparent in the Scottish media as expectations grew on the back of the Dons stirring performances in Europe. That additional pressure was well managed by Ferguson.

He knew his side were well equipped to meet such high demands and he was keen to temper the growing expectancy; “We have won nothing yet. The team have done well to get us into a position where we could make history. We have to keep our focus on the next challenge.”

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Aberdeen’s Gordon Strachan (left) and goalkeeper Jim Leighton (right) join teammates in a lap of honour to celebrate their victory