When London’s Wembley Stadium welcomes Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund on Saturday May 25 for the UEFA Champions League final, there will be plenty of history being made.
This will be the first time two German clubs have met in the final of Europe’s most prestigious club competition; format not withstanding. It’s also the first time one venue will have hosted two finals in three years. 2011 saw Barcelona reach the peak of their proverbial power by defeating Manchester United at Wembley by a score of 3-1, but more on that in a moment.
Let’s take a look back at the other finals that have been played at Wembley.
1963-Milan 2-1 Benfica
58′-Jose Altafini (Milan)
66′-Jose Altafini (Milan)
The European final has been particularly cruel to Benfica and Portuguese legend Eusebio. He scored the opener in the first half, only to be outdone by Milan’s Brazilian forward Jose Altafini. It was the first title for one of Italy’s premier sides, but only 45,700 turned out to see the match that was officiated by English referee Arthur Holland.
1968-Manchester United 4-1 Benfica
53′-Bobby Charlton (Manchester United)
93′-George Best (Manchester United)
94′-Brian Kidd (Manchester United)
Ten years after the tragic Munich air disaster, Manchester United rose to power thanks to a “golden generation” of British talent. After a lackluster first half, Sir Bobby Charlton opened the scoring only to have the Portuguese side 22 minutes later. From there it was more stalemate action as the Red Devils kept the legendary Eusebio on lock down.
Then extra time came and Benfica (once again) found themselves on the wrong end of the scoreline. This was all prior to the “golden goal” rule so Manchester United would go on to tally three extra time goals courtesy of the great George Best, newly turned 19 Brian Kidd, and a second for good measure from Charlton.
92,225 fans passed through the turnstiles that day.
1971-Ajax 2-0 Panathinaikos
5′-Dick van Dijk (Ajax)
87′-Arie Haan (Ajax)
Panathinaikos became the first Greek side to reach a European final in club competition and they were quite the plucky underdogs in this match going up against the Johan Cruyff and the birth of “total football”. Unfortunately, there was no fairy-tale ending in this one as Ajax forward Dick van Dijk (no, not THAT Dick van Dyke) scored in the fifth minute and put the Greek side on their heels from the get go. Midfielder Arie Haan, who came on after halftime as a substitute, added a second for good measure just before the final whistle blew.
A solid crowd of 83,179 turned out for this one and there was still an English presence on the field as Jack Taylor oversaw the match as head official.
1978-Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge
64′-Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool)
Once again, an English side was at the peak of its power when the final returned to Wembley. This time it was Liverpool representing the host nation and they searching for their second in a row after defeating Germany’s Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 in 1977.
The Belgian side made its first appearance in a final, but it was ultimately Liverpool who won thanks to a Kenny Dalglish strike midway through the first half. The match was hardly entertaining and both sides essentially blamed the other for the lackluster display. Still, 92,500 showed up to see the Reds clinch back-to-back titles.
1992-Barcelona 1-0 Sampdoria
111′-Ronald Koeman (Barcelona)
After a bit of hiatus, the European final returned to Wembley in 1992, just several months prior to one participant (Barcelona) hosting the summer Olympics. The Spanish side would go on to win in extra time thanks to Dutch defender Ronald Koeman’s free kick effort.
Several future high profile managers could be found on the field in this match including Swansea’s Michael Laudrup, former Barcelona/soon-to-be Bayern Munich manager Josep “Pep” Guardiola, and now former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini.
This was Barcelona’s first European conquest and a meager 70,827 would wind up turning out to see. If only they knew what was to come.
2011-Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United
34′-Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
54′-Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
69′-David Villa (Barcelona)
Sometimes knockout tournaments don’t allow for the two best teams to meet in the final. This was not the case in 2011 as the eventual champions of Spain and England went head to head in front of 87,695 people. Pedro opened the scoring midway through the first half, but Wayne Rooney gave the Red Devils hope when he equalized in the 34th minute.
But this was Barcelona at the peak of their power of Pep Guardiola and second half goals from Lionel Messi and David Villa saw the Catalan side earn their fourth European title. They also defeated United in 2009 in Rome by a score of 2-0.
*If you’re looking for a place to stay for this year’s final, Holiday Inn has several outstanding locations for to choose from. Check out the individual location pages below to see which one best fits your needs.*
Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum - www.hikensingtonforumhotel.co.uk/
Holiday Inn London Brent Cross - www.hilondonbrentcrosshotel.
Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury - www.hilondonbloomsburyhotel.
Holiday Inn London Regents Park - www.hilondonregentsparkhotel.
Holiday Inn London Mayfair - www.hilondonmayfairhotel.co.uk