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B Dortmund v Leverkusen

Saturday, 23 August 2014, 17:30

German Bundesliga

Dortmund 3 Juve 1

Sky Sports continues a review of the best Champions League finals with a look at 1996/97.

Last Updated: 26/08/13 at 16:52

The 1997 Champions League final is perhaps best remembered in Britain for Paul Lambert. The Scot is now known as the manager of Aston Villa but 16 years ago he was delivering a man of the match performance in snuffing out Zinedine Zidane.

I knew that Juventus at that time were very powerful, and I knew the players that they had. But I also had the belief in my ability
Paul Lambert

Borussia Dortmund caused a major upset by winning the game 3-1 against the continental royalty and defending champions of Juventus on German home soil in Munich's Olympic Stadium. Two goals from future Liverpool striker Karl-Heinz Riedle and one from 20-year-old Lars Ricken, just 16 seconds after entering the game as a substitute, either side of Alessandro Del Piero's consolation secured the victory.

However, the success owed much to the tenacious performance of Lambert in the heart of Dortmund's midfield, where he ensured he went down as a one-and-a-bit-season wonder and gained that rare status of becoming a successful Brit abroad.

Karl-Heinz Riedle: The striker scored twice for Dortmund in the opening 34 minutes

Alongside central midfield partner and another future British Football League manager, Paulo Sousa, Lambert came out on top against Zidane and Didier Deschamps to give Ottmar Hitzfeld's Dortmund the platform to win their one and only European Cup to date.

He did not cost a fortune when I bought him, and no-one expected him to become a key player. But he did
Ottmar Hitzfeld

Lambert, though, remains typically conservative and pragmatic about what he achieved, as he later reflected: "To be honest, I was never bothered that they (Zidane and Deschamps) were playing. I knew I had to look after my game, first and foremost... I knew that Juventus at that time were very powerful, and I knew the players that they had. But I also had the belief in my ability that I could handle being in that company."

Riedle had scored twice after just 34 minutes, opening his account from close range after a Lambert assist following Juventus' failure to properly clear a set-piece before adding his second with a header from Andreas Moller's inswinging corner.

Up for the cup: Dortmund celebrate after upsetting defending champions Juventus in Munich

Half-time substitute Del Piero gave Marcello Lippi's Juventus a lifeline in the 64th minute when converting Alen Boksic's low cross with a slick backheel. But Dortmund substitute Ricken ended the game as a contest with his first touch seven minutes later with a clever lobbed finish over Juventus goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi at the end of a counter-attack.

Zidane was allowed to hit a post with a low drive in the first half but the future Ballon D'or and three-time World Footballer of the Year was otherwise unable to influence the game under the close scrutiny of Lambert.

Lambert, who has also managed Norwich City, Colchester United, Wycombe Wanderers and Livingston, became the first British player to win the European Cup with a non-United Kingdom club and was also the first Brit to win the Champions League since its inception.

The reserved now-43-year-old is said to keep his Champions League medal in a drawer at his home, rather than on display. But there is no doubt about what he achieved, with Hitzfeld once saying of Lambert's attributes: "He did not cost a fortune when I bought him, and no-one expected him to become a key player. But he did...What was most critical is that Paul was a very good team player."

Martin's Memories

"I must admit the Olympic Stadium in Munich was my least favourite commentary ground, because of the running track and the distance from the pitch. But thankfully the goals were all very clear-cut and it was a smashing night of cup football. Juventus had won the year before, but continued the cycle of teams failing to retain the trophy. It was a very well merited win for Dortmund, though, and, looking at it from the British attitude to sport, it is always exciting when the underdog does well."

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