Every young boy who wants to become a professional footballer dreams of scoring a brace in a final. Norbert Dickel and Karl-Heinz Riedle have both managed this feat, and both for BVB.
One in the 1989 cup final, the other in the final of the UEFA Champions League in 1997. Two legendary finals, two great triumphs. Two exceptional footballers who became legends wearing the Black and Yellow kit reminisce – while also looking ahead to the cup final this coming weekend against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Kalle, legend has it that you dreamed of scoring two goals the night before the 1997 Champions League final, and allegedly, it was so precise that it foretold one goal would be a header, the other a shot with your foot.
Riedle: That's actually true. I woke up in the middle of the night and said to Martin Kree that I had just had a dream in which I scored two goals. Crazy, isn't it?
Dickel: Unbelievable! I knew the story, but only from reading about it on the Internet. Now I've heard it from you own mouth, Kalle, I believe it too.
Nobby, do you have a similar anecdote from 1989 tucked away?
Dickel: Not at all! I didn't know the night before if I would even get to play, so I wasn't thinking about scoring goals in my dreams. I only found out I was starting the morning of the game. But had I known that previously, then of course I would have dreamed just what Kalle did – I swear on my life!
Presumably you would have been satisfied to dream of making it from the changing room to the pitch without having an accident.
Riedle: (laughs heartily)
Dickel: (laughs too) It hadn't already got that bad back then!
But levity aside: you trained for the first time the day before the final since sustaining an injury six weeks previously in the semi-final?
Dickel: But in the training match I scored a couple of goals, so I knew: Everything's fine, I've got fit at just the right time!
Both of you played an important role in the 1989 final…
Riedle: Nobby more so than me, unfortunately.
Dickel: You only scored the one goal, of course!
Riedle: I'm allowed to tell the truth these days: We really had an unseeing defence. (laughs)
Dickel: What? Well, personally I didn't find Bratseth that bad.
Riedle: He was known by us as Bratfat in the days following the game!
…in any case Kalle scored the first goal of the game to give Werder a 1-0 lead.
Dickel: And what a goal! Back then, and I say this without any sense of irony, Kalle was a world-class striker! But beyond that, he goes out of his way to avoid talking about that game with me. (laughs)
Riedle: For a good reason! Without wanting to tread on Dortmund's toes: we had won the league in 1988 and had been in good form since then, so we were probably favourites...
Dickel: …You were the clear favourites, Kalle: the clear favourites!
Riedle: It seemed that everything was in our favour, and Dortmund was afflicted with injuries to boot – but the moment they decided to play you, well, the balance was tipped back. How we began the match wasn't bad per se, but then our defeat was absolutely deserved due to individual errors.
Dickel: You're a razor sharp analyst!
Let's talk about the cup final this coming weekend in Berlin. Drawing on your experiences as a World Cup winner, Champions League winner, German Champion and Cup winner – how do you win a final?
Riedle: Well, I haven't actually won that many finals. In 1997 with BVB against Juve, then I was just crossing my fingers from the sidelines in the 1990 World Cup final. But having seen our team across this entire season, if, more or less, everybody's up for it on the day and can give the best performance they're capable of, then for me, there's no question about it, we will win the cup.
Dickel: There's no doubting we have better individuals. But we have to take into account that Frankfurt will be prepared to halt every attack using legitimate or illegitimate means.
Riedle: Frankfurt's second half of the season wasn't the best, but you're right. Who's better on paper is irrelevant once the whistle is blown for the final.
Dickel: We've still got an ace up our sleeve for that: when the boys who've already been through it before tell the younger lads and those who haven't experienced a final yet how incredible it is to drive through the city on the bus, then I guarantee all of them will be running like hares!
For the younger generation who have never seen it: what were the key moments in the 1989 and 1997 finals that led to BVB winning?
Dickel: As I said, in my opinion, Werder were the clear favourites in 1989. But after equalising 1-1, were began to believe that we could get goals against Bremen. Beforehand it had seemed unbelievably difficult to us, because they had an excellent defence. After the break, it was all or nothing – and we were clinical on the counter.
Riedle: That's right, after the equaliser, we were peculiarly overwhelmed. In 1997 it was basically the other way around, in my opinion. We rode our luck in the first 20 minutes and couldn't have complained if we had gone a couple of goals down – but then we had a large piece of luck. Paul Lambert crossed the ball, and I took it down and scored to give us a 1-0 lead, and they were pretty shocked for a time. And then I got the second with my head just after that. From then on, it was never going to be easy, even for that excellent Juve team, to claw back a two goal deficit.
BVB hadn't won a title in 23 years prior to that cup victory in 1989 – something unthinkable today, but the win back then served as something like a catalyst for this modern era of success?
Dickel: To be back on the international stage after that cup win made us all proud. In that respect, it certainly was a catalyst, or let's call it a turning point for the better.
Riedle: What has been achieved since the almost total collapse of 2005, and above all, with what speed, is simply sensational. How the team plays football these days is a lot of fun to watch.
Dickel: At this point I'd like to say hats off to what Aki Watzke, Thomas Treß and Dr. Rauball have done for BVB! Not only are we in a stronger financial position than ever before, we have also never had such a strong squad with so many incredibly talented young boys. All that gives me confidence that BVB will also be successful in the future.
After the cup win in 1989, BVB only reached the quarter final once up until the 2008 final, otherwise the club only suffered defeat and humiliation in the earlier rounds of the competition. In contrast, since 2012, BVB has practically become a regular in Berlin. How can this extreme change in fortune be accounted for?
Dickel: Notwithstanding the strength of the current squad, one other thing stands out for me: the value of the cup has grown enormously in the last decade. In the old days, the cup wasn't nearly as attractive as it is today. It wasn't nearly as significant for clubs, players, and – altogether now, "Berlin, Berlin, we're going to Berlin!" – for the fans, and there wasn't nearly as much prize money. Correspondingly, everyone wants to go as far as they can in the competition these days.
The core of the team has been involved in the final in five of the last six years in Berlin since 2012, namely, Roman Weidenfeller, Marcel Schmelzer, Sven Bender, Nuri Sahin, Lukasz Piszczek.
Riedle: The boys have got to know how the turf smells in the Olympic Stadium on the day of the final, and what the atmosphere is like on that day in Berlin – and that's why they always want to be there. And they know, when looked at dispassionately, how great the chance is to win silverware with BVB – that is, as a rule, greater than in the league or the Champions League too.
Dickel: What I would say about the above named is that we are technically a very, very strong team, but without wishing to offend the boys, and perhaps with the exception of Nuri, none of them are real magicians. But: You will never achieve success with ten magicians in a team. You need, then, boys who are there for the battle and are prepared to get stuck in.
Kalle, you were in the stadium in Munich for the semi-final: What were you thinking after Robben had shot and Manni Bender had managed to get a leg to it?
Riedle: Well, of course I was instantly reminded of Jürgen Kohler in the 1997 semi-final in Manchester. But I had written to Aki Watzke before the game and said that I had a good feeling and that we would do it.
And did you get an answer?
Riedle: (laughs) Of course not! I don't think he was feeling as optimistic as I was and was thinking: what kind of a stupid message is that to send me!? But even though things looked bad for us for a while during the match, I was right at the end of the day. And now we're going to Berlin and will win the cup!
Dickel: A fine parting thought!
Interview: Daniel Stolpe