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The Guardian: Joy of Six Great European Upsets


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6. Aberdeen 3-2 Bayern Munich (agg: 3-2), Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final, 1983

An up-and-coming manager named Alex Ferguson had already made Aberdeen a force in Scotland but not until this dramatic night did Europe realise that here was a side to be reckoned with. Applauded just for reaching this stage of the tournament, Aberdeen were expected to be dispatched by Bayern, who counted Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Paul Breitner in their team. After a valiant 0-0 draw in Munich, the Dons fans were dreading the concession of an early goal at Pittodrie and their worst fears were realised when Klaus Augenthaler stepped regally forward to drive the ball into the net in the 10th minute. Neil Simpson equalised before half-time, but soon the Scots were put back in their supposed place, when Hans Pflügler smashed a crisp left-footed volley past Jim Leighton.


Needing two goals to progress, Ferguson introduced two substitutes – John McMaster and John Hewitt. In the 76th minute the former combined with Gordon Strachan to outwit the German defence with a free-kick routine that has since become commonplace at Manchester United, leaving Strachan to cross for Alex McLeish to head an equaliser. One minute later, the Bayern keeper Manfred Müller parried an Eric Black header and Hewitt, with his first touch after five months out with injury, stabbed in a sensational winner. Now all of Europe was aware of something special brewing in Scotland, but neither Waterschei in the semi-final, nor Real Madrid in the final, could concoct a remedy, and Aberdeen completed one of the most astonishing campaigns in European history. PD

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