FC Bayern and the trophy that could not be won

Maurice Separator February 17, 2019

This final is probably one of the games that few Bayern fans can really remember. Eventhough it was about the one trophy that the Munich fans hadn’t yet seen in the club’s cabinet.

A situation that Hasan Salihamidzic and the Kovac brothers could not change. In contrast to Claudia Pizarro, who was 22 years old at the time, the three of them have now swapped their shorts for responsibilities on the Bayern side line. The current Liverpool coach, Jürgen Klopp, on the other hand, had just completed his first half series as (player) coach in the second division in the summer of 2001 and saved 1.FSV Mainz from relegation.

The trophy that could not be won

The UEFA Supercup has been held every summer since 1972. The aim was to find the best team in Europe in a match between the European Cup winners and the European Cup Winners Cup. After the European Cup Winners Cup ended after the 1999/2000 season, the winner of the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) was allowed to compete in the UEFA Supercup.

In 1974, after winning the European Cup, the Munich team played in the Supercup for the first time. The duel with the cup winner 1. FC Magdeburg never took place. Officially due to problems finding a date. Unofficially, however, the East German Football Association DFV had forbidden the team from participating.

Due to the renewed triumph in Europe’s most important competition, the following year in summer 1975 a duel took place with the Soviet serial champion Dynamo Kiev and their superstar Oleg Blokhin. He also scored all three goals in the 1:0 and 2:0 victories in the UEFA Supercup Final, which at that time was still played with first and second leg.

Another year later, the squad from the Isar met the RSC Anderlecht. While they could win the first leg in their home Olympic Stadium with a brace from Gerd Müller, they embarrassingly lost 4:1 in the second leg.

The other German teams were also apparently unable to win the Supercup title. Dortmund and Bremen both failed against Barcelona, while Hamburger SV went empty-handed first against Liverpool in 1988 and then Aberdeen in 1983.

Without two leaders against three youngsters

At the Stade Louis in Monaco on August 24, 2001, the Bavarians were looking to improve their record and win the first UEFA Supercup victory for a German team. Coach Hitzfeld trusted seven players who had won the European Cup on penalties a few weeks earlier in the final against Valencia.

Effenberg and Scholl had been injured in the previous weeks and therefore had to take a break. Sforza and Pizarro, who was signed from Bremen in the summer, entered the starting XI. In defence the mathematician chose the new players Thiam and Robert Kovač. They replaced Kuffour, who took his seat on the bench, and Andersson, who moved to Barcelona in the summer.

Otherwise Hitzfeld used the 5-3-2 system, which could be quickly and variably converted to 4-4-2 with a diamond, for example when Thiam moved up to midfield.

The reigning champions had started into the Bundesliga with mixed results. A first defeat in Gladbach was followed by two home victories against Schalke and St. Pauli and a draw in Leverkusen. The Munich team were only fifth in the standings, five points behind the leader of the standings and later champion Dortmund.

On the other side, Liverpool, under the direction of Gérard Houllier, today’s Global Sports Director of the Red Bull Group, ran with two familiar faces. Markus Babbel and the currently back in the headlines Dietmar Hamann met their former Bayern teammates.

Otherwise, Liverpool set up a young team with many local talents. 21-year-old Steven Gerrard was to provide 20-year-old Michael Owen and his congenial partner Emil Heskey with assists. Only one week later, this trio was to make their big appearance in Munich’s Olympic Stadium. Not in the jersey of the Reds, but as scorers of all five goals of the English national team in the bitter 1:5 embarrassment of the German national team.

Lacking lust and chances

On the Friday evening in the Principality of Monaco, the Munich team started the UEFA Supercup final with caution. Liverpool was left a lot of space in the midfield. After three minutes Heskey had the first half-chance. After a long throw-in, where the Bayern defence was asleep, Owen managed to cross without any pressure. A Bayern defender was able to clear at the last moment. A first taste of the listlessness that was to run through the entire first half of the German champion.

Again and again, Liverpool managed to overwhelm the Munich defence with long balls. After nine minutes Kovač had to pull the faster Owen to the ground to prevent him from entering the penalty area. Babbel headed the due free kick from a central position over the crossbar.

While Bayern began to ease into the game, the clear offensive actions and the necessary drive to the goal were clearly missing. All attack attempts bounced off the English defensive chain at the latest.

Liverpool, on the other hand, concentrated on his strength – the counterattack. After Hargreaves had lost the ball, Gerrard sent the fast Owen, who got away from his opponents. Riise was able to use his cross in the middle to score the 1-0. The Norwegian was faster on the ball than Hargreaves and teammate Heskey (23.).

In the 32nd minute Owen went into a one on one against Kahn. His chip from the edge of the penalty area bounced off the chest of the Titan. However, this scene also showed the omnipresent danger Liverpool was facing that evening.

Setbacks before and after the break

Little creative came from Bayern in the aftermath. The kicker wrote suitably after the game that the Munichers behaved over long stretches “as if they had nothing to do with this final”. Only an Elber header, which sailed far past the goal, remained until the break.

When the Bayern players were already mentally in the break, a heaving from Hargreaves landed in the feet of Hamann. The former Munich player quickly passed on to Heskey. The English national striker made Linke and Kovač look quite old with a change of pace and finally overcame Kahn in the goal. In the minute before half time a big setback for the Champions League winner.

Michael Owen puts the ball past the powerless Kahn into the back of the net. Thiam can only watch.
(Picture: Michael Steele/ALLSPORT)

It can only be speculated whether the Bayern players had intended to do more in the second half. Because without a Bayern player touching the ball, it was in the back of the net again. 3-0. Thiam misjudged a long ball to Owen, so that the Englishman was free in front of Kahn to finish. Thirteen seconds were just completed.

It was symptomatic of the Munich match that day. They just didn’t seem very motivated, interested and focused. Liverpool was always one step faster in their heads and knew how to take advantage of that.

Willing after one hour

When a disgrace threatened, Bayern was obviously trying to reduce the extent of this. Liverpool then dropped far into their own half and surrendered control to the Champions League winner. Driven by a stronger Lizarazu, the Munich team had some chances.

In the 57th minute, Salihamidžić converted a corner, which he had previously won himself, for the 1:3. The corner had been the first of the Munichers in the game.

While the German record champion now came more often before the goal of the Englishmen, Liverpool remained dangerous with counterattacks. Hitzfeld changed three times around the 70th minute and brought two strikers with Jancker and Santa Cruz. Today’s coach Kovač was also brought on.

Especially the large national striker revived the Bayern attack again by his tireless runs. Consequently it was Jancker who scored the 2:3 for Bayern (82nd). After the perhaps only won dribbling of the game by Santa Cruz on the left wing, the Paraguayan crossed. Elber forwarded the ball and Jancker won the header duel against Babbel in front of the goal.

After narrowing the score, Bayern wanted to leave no stone unturned. However, Lizarazu’s finish after a cross from Niko Kovač landed directly in the arms of Liverpool’s goalkeeper. It should remain the only chance for the equaliser. Even a corner in injury time and Kahn moving up the field could not prevent the defeat.

A disappointing season begins

The defeat in the UEFA Supercup was the first part of a rather disappointing season for FC Bayern. Just as in the game in Monaco, there was a lack of dangerous midfield action throughout the season. The dynamics of Scholl, who missed almost half the season, were missing as well as the structure of an Effenberg, who later in the season for disciplinary reasons was not in the squad.

The club managed fifteen undefeated games in a row in the immediate aftermath of their defeat in the UEFA Supercup, which led them to the top of the table. But after a 0:2 loss in Bremen on the 13th matchday, they were unable to win in the league until the winter break.

The Club World Cup should remain the only title for FC Bayern in the season 2001/02.
(Bild: Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

A small highlight was the win of theClub World Cup on November the 28th against Boca Juniors with a header by Samy Kuffour in extra time. Thanks to victories against Osnabrück and Nantes, they survived the winter break in both cup competitions.

But many weak performances in the Bundesliga followed, among other things the legendary 1:2 defeat in St. Pauli, after which the team from the bottom of the table proclaimed themselves the “Cup World Cup Winner Beaters” and made a small fortune with the specially manufactured fan shirts.

In the cup, the season ended at Schalke, while in the Champions League they were beaten in the quarter-finals by Real Madrid. A promising 2-1 win at home, which Effenberg and Pizarro had turned around in the last ten minutes, was followed by a 0-2 defeat at the Santiago Bernabeau.

At the end of the season, they were left empty-handed. With four wins in a row at the end of the season, they were at least third in the league. In the summer they reacted to the weaknesses in the squad and signed three strong and creative midfielders with Ballack, Zé Roberto and Deisler.

Bayern were to win the European Supercup for the first time in August 2013. In a rematch of the Finale dahoam they defeated FC Chelsea in Prague after penalties, after Martínez had equalized in injury time.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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