In their own ways, both Norwich City and Bayern Munich are currently going through something of a renaissance. And while the German side’s is incomparable with any other recent revival, the Canaries’ summer spending suggests next season will be one to remember for all the right reasons at Carrow Road.
To imagine the modern-day Norwich humbling the mighty Bavarians would be quite the flight of fancy. And yet a similarly impossible act was achieved in 1993, when under the management of Mike Walker the club eliminated Bayern from the UEFA Cup.
The goal that set Norwich on their way was an outstanding volley from Jeremy Goss – a man with a bank manager’s name but a footballer’s right foot. Rarely would the Olympic Stadium in Munich have seen a better goal.
When Mark Bowen guided a header into the far corner to make it 2-0 after 30 minutes, a team guided by the legendary (if creaking) Lothar Matthaus looked down and out.
An impressive header from Christian Nerlinger 11 minutes later gave Bayern hope. But with no goals in the second half the Canaries held a precious lead, and in so doing became the first English club to beat Bayern in their own back yard.
Despite losing an early goal in the second leg following a strike from Adolfo Valencia, it was that man Goss who sealed a draw on the night and a most famous win on aggregate, tapping in a Chris Sutton flick-on and sealing his place in Norwich folklore.
Walker’s side would lose in the next round to eventual winners Inter Milan. But that season they rode the crest of a wave – writing their own chapter in the history of European football, in their one and only venture into it.
And as they approach the 20th anniversary of that glorious night in Germany, and the return at a jubilant Carrow Road, the side now guided by Chris Hughton is showing all the signs of returning to those glory days.
The signing of Ricky van Wolfswinkel was an intelligent if unexpected piece of business. That they have since followed it up with the captures of Nathan Redmond, Leroy Fer and Gary Hooper speaks of a club with certain ambitions in mind; ambitions to one day return to European football and take another stab at upsetting the odds.
While the prospect of facing Bayern in the near future may be an impossible dream, one thing is certain. Should they ever do so, the Germans will not underestimate them as they did so blatantly two decades ago.
Having publicly disregarded the Canaries as an easily navigated hurdle on the way to the third round and beyond, they soon discovered Walker’s side was a far different proposition.
In the end there was no third round for the German side. Norwich’s journey into dreamland continued for 180 more minutes…and how they knew it.
When the final whistle blew on that unforgettable night in Munich, Jeremy Goss took stock while his teammates celebrated.
“To think that is where Franz Beckenbauer stood to collect the World Cup in 1974,” he said. “To think we have beaten Bayern Munich on their own ground. It’s marvellous, isn’t it?”
It really was.
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