Football Long Reads Nostalgia

Bayern v Norwich 1993: Still the biggest German giant killing?

Norwich City and Bayern Munich – mentioning these two football clubs in the same breath might seem like an anomaly, and a clash of worlds that could only exist in the most daring of football fantasies.

However, as the world of football so often reminds us, the game’s beauty lies in its unpredictability.

While the Canaries have experienced a rollercoaster ride in recent years, moving back and forth between the English Championship and the Premier League, there was a day when they were giant killers. They etched their name into the annals of football history with a stunning victory over the Bavarians in their own backyard.

That day was exactly 30 years ago. So let’s dive into the tale of an audacious underdog triumph that still resonates with fans and enthusiasts around the world.

Angus Gunn of Norwich applauds
Current Norwich goalkeeper Angus Gunn is the son of Bryan Gunn, who played in goal for the Canaries during that iconic Bayern v Norwich 1993 fixture. (Photo by Icon sport)

Bayern v Norwich 1993 – The Canaries’ greatest night ever

How Norwich reached the 1993/94 UEFA Cup

In the inaugural season of the Premier League, Norwich emerged as an unexpected sensation. For much of the season, they led the league and even held an eight-point lead over the competition shortly before Christmas. However, despite their remarkable journey, they faced some late-season challenges and eventually finished in third place, behind eventual champions Manchester United and runners up Aston Villa.

The Canaries’ performance in the Premier League was remarkable, as they won 21 games, drew 9, and lost 12, accumulating a total of 72 points. Guiding this exceptional team was Mike Walker, who got the most out of Mark Robins, their top scorer with 14 goals. David Phillips also contributed with nine goals, while 20-year-old Chris Sutton – a future PL winner with Blackburn, alongside Alan Shearer – added eight goals to the tally.

The road to Munich

In their debut appearance in the 1993/94 UEFA Cup, Norwich City faced Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem in the first round. The Canaries won the first leg in commanding fashion, earning a 3-0 victory away from home with goals from Efan Ekoku, Jeremy Goss, and John Polston.

After a goalless draw in the return leg, next up were the perennial giants of German football, Bayern Munich. The first leg unfolded at Munich’s Olympiastadion in front of 28,500 spectators, and in true underdog spirit, the Canaries were unyielding.

Just 12 minutes into the match, Jeremy Goss delivered a thunderous volley from 20 yards, defying expectations and giving Norwich the lead. In the 30th minute, an Ian Crook free-kick created a moment of magic for Norwich. Mark Bowen stooped low to head the ball into the back of the net, extending Norwich’s lead to 2-0.

The Germans would not yield without a fight. In the 40th minute, Bayern Munich managed to break through. A cross from Jorginho found Christian Nerlinger, who expertly headed the ball past Bryan Gunn’s left-hand post, narrowing the score to 2-1.

The first half would conclude with this score and Bayern increased their tempo, determined to reverse their fortunes. Despite their best efforts, Norwich maintained their lead, with Gunn denying them every opportunity that they could carve. It would help them preserve their lead as in the heart of Munich, under the floodlights of the Olympiastadion, the Canaries would do the impossible and knock the Bavarians out of the UEFA Cup.

Bergkamp Holland 1994
Pictured in 1994, Dennis Bergkamp played a key role in ending Norwich’s UEFA Cup dream. (Photo by Icon sport)

East Anglian dreams prove elusive

Following their stunning victory over Bayern Munich in the second round, Norwich City faced the mighty Inter Milan in the third round. The first leg at Carrow Road was a tightly contested affair. In the dying moments, Dennis Bergkamp, the Dutch maestro, broke Norwich hearts with a goal assisted by Ruben Sosa. Inter Milan secured a 1-0 victory.

The second leg at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium was equally tense. In the 88th minute, Bergkamp struck again, sealing a 1-0 win. This late blow ended Norwich’s UEFA Cup journey in the 1993/94 season. Despite their incredible run and fighting spirit, they couldn’t overcome the Italian giants, and Inter Milan advanced to the next round.

Allianz Arena Bayern flag
Photo by Icon sport

How many English clubs have beaten Bayern Munich at home?

Norwich’s triumph over Bayern Munich was a remarkable feat, and it was the first time that an English team defeated them in their own backyard. Since then, this feat has been repeated by other Premier League entities. Here is a list of matches where the German giants were beaten in their own backyard.

Bayern Munich vs Chelsea – 2012 Champions League final

While this was designated a ‘neutral’ venue, a quirk of fate saw Bayern contest the 2012 Champions League final at their very own Allianz Arena against underdogs Chelsea, with the stadium having been chosen prior to the start of 2011/12.

Bayern Munich took the lead in the 83rd minute thanks to Thomas Muller. Chelsea fought back, with Didier Drogba equalizing in the 88th minute. The match ended in a penalty shootout, where Chelsea prevailed 4-3. This victory secured a first-ever UEFA Champions League title for the Blues.

Bayern Munich vs Arsenal – 2012/13 Champions League R16 (2nd leg)

In the Round of 16, second leg clash between Bayern Munich and Arsenal, the Gunners staged a remarkable comeback. Despite Bayern’s 3-1 lead from the first leg, Arsenal won 2-0 in the second leg. Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud were the scorers, but the aggregate score favored Bayern Munich, allowing them to advance in the competition.

Kimmich and De Bruyne UCL
Nearly ten years before their UCL meeting last season (pictured) Man City got a famous 3-2 win at the Allianz Arena. (Photo by Michael Zemanek/DeFodi Images) – Photo by Icon sport

Bayern Munich vs Manchester City – 2013/14 Champions League Group Stage

Bayern Munich took an early lead with goals from Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze, setting the stage for an exciting contest. However, Manchester City mounted a remarkable comeback with strikes from David Silva, Aleksandar Kolarov, and James Milner. This turnaround secured a 3-2 victory for the Citizens.

Bayern Munich vs Liverpool – 2018/19 Champions League R16 (2nd leg)

Jurgen Klopp returned to Allianz Arena at the helm of Liverpool in the 2018/19 Champions League campaign to torment Bayern Munich again. Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the 26th minute, and an own goal by Joel Matip brought the score on level terms. Virgil van Dijk gave the Reds the lead in the 69th minute with Mane giving them a decisive two-goal advantage in the 84th minute.

See also: Tottenham hit 1,000 days at the top!

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