When Norwich saw off the mighty Bayern

American Stephen Brandt loves a classic match, especially a shock like the Canaries’ remarkable two legged victory over German giants Bayern Munich in 1993.

Bayern Munich is one the best football clubs in the world. They regularly win cups and league titles, and have world-renowned players. Bayern even has an office in New York City here in America. Their history would make most other clubs jealous and their legends are well thought of many years after their careers are over. Simply put, Bayern Munich have been huge for many decades.

There is, however, one match they do not want to remember in Munich - when the German powerhouse was dismantled by little old Norwich City in the 90s. 

Norwich is a provincial club, they have had some moments in their club’s history that are worth noting. One such moment is their UEFA Cup run in the nineties. This was the season of 1993-94 and Norwich were entered into the competition by finishing third in the first Premiership season. These were the days when a select few clubs were able to enter Europe. This wasn’t because of a ban, there just wasn’t as many places in Europe.

October 19, 1993 and a seemingly one sided two legged affair was kicked off between Norwich and Bayern. This leg was played at the Olympiastadion in Munich, which made the result even more of a surprise. The lead up to the encounter was the typical “giant versus minnows” views and the predictions of embarrassing scorelines, as you'd expect.

Mike Walker, the Norwich manager, remained optimistic throughout the run up to the tie though, which was most probably looked at as foolhardy at the time, but he was quietly confident an upset could be on the cards. Walker had specifically picked out the then future Major League Soccer player, Lothar Matthaus, as a potential weakness as he had stopped playing in midfield due to his age and reverted to a sweeper role at the back. This bold shout turned out to be a correct one. 

The Norwich side wasn’t all that bad, but didn’t have the big names Bayern had. The most recognisable player from their side was Mark Robins, alongside a young and blossoming future star in Chris Sutton. Robins had just come in from another giant in Manchester United with a point prove. Bryan Gunn, another name many might know, had played in the Aberdeen squad that won a Scottish Cup and a Cup Winners Cup. However, Gunn didn't tend to feature much because he was behind the more favoured Jim Leighton.

Onto the game itself, where the first chance came twelve minutes into the match when Rob Newman floated a ball into the area. It was haphazardly cleared by the aforementioned Matthaus, towards the edge of the Bayern box. It fell to Jeremy Goss though, who, in his stride, struck the ball with his right foot and it sailed into the upper left corner. It was 1-0 and it was a dream start for the Canaries.

At the fifteen minute mark, a serious injury knocked key man Robins out of the match, to only be replaced by Daryl Sutch. Soon after the injury sub, a free-kick by Ian Crook was knocked past a jumping Chris Sutton and Oliver Kreuzer to the head of an oncoming Mark Bowen who scored an impressive header past Raimond Aumann to make it 2-0. This was the dream lead, and something that people following the match were stunned by. Remarkable. 

Before the break, Bayern finally broke Norwich's resistance and scored past Bryan Gunn which turned out to be their only goal of the first leg. After half-time, it was backs to the wall for a Norwich side who still had a 2-1 lead to hold onto. Matthaus, who was orchestrating many of the attacks, was a danger. In the 70th minute, Matthaus struck a ball towards Gunn’s right side down low, which Gunn saved, although a resulting corner was on the way. The said corner, from Jorginho, was directed into a crowded penalty area where chaos ensued. Adolfo Valencia’s header was saved by Gunn, only to be fired in again by Oliver Kreuzer which, thankfully for Norwich, resulted in nothing thanks to their in-form goalkeeper. Gunn, bluntly put, had an absolute stormer. 

The match ended with Norwich winning 2-1 and a jubilant manager in Mike Walker warning people that there was a tough return leg match at Carrow Road a couple of weeks later.

On November 3rd, that match ended 1-1, with Goss scoring for Norwich and Valencia for Bayern. This meant that Bayern were out, making it the first ever victory for a British club at Bayern Munich's home stadium. Amazing. 

Years later, when Bayern moved into the familiar Allianz Arena, they lost to British sides again in three consecutive years - Chelsea in 2011-12, Arsenal in 2013 and Manchester City in 2013-14, and all in the Champions League. But little old Norwich's historic win tends not to get a mention, sadly. 

This was the height of Norwich’s powers in the 90s. Mike Walker eventually left Carrow Road for Everton. Chris Sutton left and became a star at Blackburn and Bryan Gunn would eventually end up in management, even taking over at Carrow Road in 2009. Mark Robins ended up being a manager in the lower leagues in England too, having a couple spells at Coventry City, but all of them, plus the others in the team, will always be remembered for their remarkable win against the German giants of Bayern, especially in Norfolk.

Posted by Stephen Brandt

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