Europe

In an extract from his new history of German football, Tor!, Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger recalls the sensation of the 1971 Bundesliga bribery scandal

Despite his name, the German-born Spaniard Horst Gregorio Canellas was not a Cosa Nostra don but an importer of bananas. Legend has it he supplied the DFB (German FA) headquarters. He had a raspy voice worthy of Al Pacino and was a chain-smoker, despite persistent asthma problems. He had also been the pre­sident of Kickers Offenbach since 1964.

The blueprint for the European Cup was laid down in pre-war Budapest, Vienna and Prague. Cris Freddi recalls the mayhem and magnificence of the Mitropa

The name derives from Mittel Europa (central Eur­ope) and the Cup was the baby of Hugo Meisl, international referee turned secretary of the Austrian FA and manager of the national team. After the Second World War, it couldn’t compete with first the Latin Cup, then UEFA’s three major club competitions and, al­though it staggered on in one form or another until 1992, ended up no better than an Intertoto.

Mathias Kowoll bemoans the decision of 1860 Munich to cosy up to their more powerful neighbours

Rangers and Celtic have teamed up. They are now planning a shared ground with a capacity of 80,000 next to the municipal sewage plant. Profits from any games played there will be shared equally. In order to persuade the public to support the plan, the last Old Firm derby is promoted as one big demonstration for the common cause. Both sets of fans put on a show, hair dyed green and blue – often both colours on the same head – and the two chairmen can frequently be seen hugging each other.

Maccabi Haifa, having disposed of FC Haka, were set for a lucrative tie with Liverpool – that is until they were found guilty of fielding an ineligable player. Shaul Adar discusses the fallout

It was one of the most unfortunate appearances in the history of European club football. Maccabi Haifa held a 1-0 lead from the away leg of their Champions League second qualifying round tie against FC Haka of Finland. For the return, won 4-0 in Haifa, they recalled ex-Wimbledon midfielder Walid Badir who had been suspended. During the game Badir broke his cheekbone and was taken to hospital. A few hours after he’d undergone an operation, the news broke: Badir was supposed to serve a two-game suspension and so had been ineligible. Haifa were disqualified and duly lost about £2 million they would have earned from meeting Liverpool in the next round.

Sam Beckwith remembers the 1997 Czech cup final between Dukla Prague and Slavia Prague which started Dukla's fall from grace

There’s a growing trend to sentimentalise the years of communist rule in the Czech Republic, with pro­paganda-bedecked cafes popping up on Prague streets and old newsreels running on TV. So far, however, Dukla Prague have escaped the trend. One of Czech football’s most famous names disappeared in 1997 with more of a whimper than a bang, and there are few signs that it’s about to be rehabilitated.

Despite a magnificent cup run, German minnows FC Union's success may not last long, writes Markus Hesselmann 

In the weeks between promotion and cup final, Union were all the rage in Germany. The club made head­lines in the arts pages of the national newspapers. There were television features about the upright working-class blokes from the eastern district of Köpenick, who had always been sub­dued by the Stasi but would now arise as the true team of east Berlin and the whole of east­ern Germany.

After their performance in the UEFA Cup final the Basque side Alaves found themselves with few enemies, even in other regions of Spain. But, says Phil Ball, things have already started to go wrong

When Jordi Cruyff headed the equaliser for Alavés that took the UEFA Cup final against Liverpool into extra-time, there seemed a reasonable case for stopping the game and awarding the cup to both teams. Right now they’ll be squabbling over the rights to the official video, and desperately brainstorming an alternative title to Game of the Century.

Boavista, the second club in Porto, have broken the domination of Portugal's big three. Phil Town tries to work out how they did it 

The old David and Goliath cliche was wheeled out for some heavy use by newspapers, TV and radio stations to describe Boavista’s title triumph, but it was a cliche well employed. Boavista are indeed dwarfed by the big three of Benfica, Sporting and Porto. In the week before the game against Aves which decided the title, Boavista proudly announced that their subscription-paying fan base had risen to a club record 15,000. This compares to Porto’s 60,000, Sporting’s 80,000 and Benfica’s whopping 115,000. Those three clubs had budgets for this season of £25 million, £20 million and £25 million respectively. Boavista’s was £4.5 million, of which just £1 million was spent on players.

Controversial chairman Bernard Tapie is back at Olympique de Marseille. Patrick Mignon looks at the impact the returning chairman will have and whether he can banish the negativity that surrounded his previous tenure

Bernard Tapie, the most controversial chairman in French football history, has returned to run Olympique de Marseille, eight years after he was driven out after being found guilty of match-fixing.

The sanitised Premiership fan experience is increasingly an exception around Europe. Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger  expalins why German clubs have insisted on keeping terraces open

He looked like somebody out of an American movie about college nerds: the thick spectacles, the greasy hair, the slight speech defect and the frail body. Still, he was a pretty good long-distance runner, and that’s how my brother had come to know him. He was always standing right behind us at games, next to that bunch of bikers who called themselves The Ghostriders.

Sign up to the WSC Weekly Howl - a small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday