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A History of Champions League finals between German and Spanish clubs

Saturday will see Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund go head-to-head in the Champions League final at Wembley, but it certainly won’t be the first time a Spanish and German side have battled it out for European glory. 

14-time winners Madrid are 3/10 favourites to lift the trophy in London and extend their tally to 15, while Dortmund 5/2 in the same market as they look to land only their second ever Champions League trophy - the first coming in 1997. 

This weekend’s clash will mark the fifth occasion that a Spanish and German side have met in the final of Europe’s premier competition, and we have detailed how each of the previous four played out below. 

The score is 2-2 in said finals, meaning that the two will be playing for national bragging rights as well as the title on Saturday. 

Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt - 1960 - Hampden Park, Scotland 

The first instance of a Spanish-German final came in just the competition’s fifth ever edition, with Real Madrid thrashing Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 to continue their early dominance in the then European Cup. 

Madrid’s win in Scotland meant they had won the first five Champions League (then named the European Cup) titles as they cemented their place as Europe’s best side. 

The Glasgow showpiece attracted a still-standing record attendance for a Champions League final of 127,621 and those lucky enough to be at Hampden Park got to witness one of the best ever performances from a side in a European final, led by arguably the sport’s best ever front two, Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas. 

Di Stefano helped himself to a hat-trick while Puskas one-upped his teammate by netting four as Madrid landed their fifth consecutive Champions League title. 

Bayern Munich 1-1 Atletico Madrid (4-0 in the replay) - 1974 - Heysel Stadium, Belgium

It would take 14 years for a Spanish and German side to come face-to-face in the European Cup final again, with two different teams contesting for the 1974 trophy. 

Real’s cross-city rivals Atletico met Bayern Munich in Brussels and another historic final played out. The 1974 final was the first, and to this day the only, to go to a replay as the pair played out a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes in Belgium. 

They would meet again just two days later, where things were far from close as the Bavarians ran out 4-0 victors thanks to a pair of braces from Bayern legends Uli Hoeness and Gerd Muller.

Both sides were fighting for their first European crown, and the result may have proven pivotal. Bayern have gone on to win five more Champions League titles since that maiden success - including the next two after their 1974 success - while Atleti are the only side to play in three finals without ever winning the competition. 

Bayern Munich 1-1 Valencia (Bayern won 5-4 on penalties) - 2001 - San Siro, Italy

The remainder of the seventies as well as the next two decades would fail to provide another Spanish-German Champions League final, but that all changed at the start of the millennium as Bayern Munich met with Valencia in Italy. 

Rafa Benitez’s side were looking to make amends following a defeat to domestic rivals Real Madrid in the 2000 final, and they came mightily close to doing so, agonisingly losing on penalties after a gruelling 120 minutes. 

It was a game of penalties in fact. Valencia took the lead through a Gaizka Mendieta spot-kick in just the third minute before Mehmet Scholl missed the opportunity to equalise from 12 yards only a few minutes later, seeing his penalty saved by Santiago Canizares. 

Bayern were then awarded another penalty in the 50th minute, which Stefan Effenberg coolly dispatched. Oliver Kahn was the hero though, saving three penalties to help the Bavarians win the shootout 5-4 and land a fourth Champions League crown. 

Real Madrid 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen - 2002 - Hampden Park, Scotland

Just one year later we would get the fourth Spanish-German final - and the last until this year’s showpiece - as Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen did battle at Hampden Park. 

Madrid ran out 2-1 victors, with Zinedine Zidane scoring arguably the greatest Champions League final goal of all-time to secure the title, but it perhaps should have been expected that Leverkusen would lose the final. 

They finished second in the Bundesliga that season and also lost in the DFB Pokal final, with their defeat in Glasgow making their 2001-02 campaign one of the unluckiest in the history of football. Furthermore, five of their players, including Michael Ballack, would then go on to finish as runners-up at the 2002 World Cup. 

The 2002 triumph was Madrid’s ninth title - they have won five more since - while 2024 Europa League runners-up Leverkusen have never returned to a Champions League final since. 

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