There was a sad sense of deja vu for the Vicente Calderon side as its defeat in Lisbon mirrored the frustrating loss to Bayern Munich in Belgium.
Atletico lost in Lisbon when it appeared it had one hand on the famous trophy: a shattering blow. But for those familiar with their club’s background, it must have been like history repeating itself.
|LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE FOR ATLETI
| v BAYERN 15/5/1974
| v BAYERN 17/5/1974
The Spanish team had beaten Galatasaray, FC Dinamo Bucuresti and FK Crvena Zvezda to reach the semifinals where it met Celtic — a considerable force in Europe at that time.
Atletico's tactics in Glasgow were to nullify the opposition. The game ended 0-0, but such was the level of the Spaniards' brutality toward their opponents — and in particular Jimmy Johnstone — that the game has remained in Scottish footballing folklore.
At the Vicente Calderon, the Madrid side defeated Celtic 2-0, setting up a final at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels against Bayern Munich, a team that contributed the core of the West German national team.
In the final, both teams canceled each other out through 90 minutes and well into extra time. Atletico though, eventually broke the deadlock just seven minutes from time when (the legendary) Luis Aragones swept a free kick past Sepp Maier.
However, thereafter things went horribly wrong for Atleti. Just 20 seconds from the end, central defender Georg Schwarzenbeck lumbered forward to become the unexpected goal hero, outdoing the normally prolific Gerd Muller in much the same way as stopper Ramos trumped Cristiano Ronaldo.
Forty years ago, the final went to a replay (played two days later at the same venue), which Bayern won 4-0, with Muller and Uli Hoeness scoring two apiece. On Saturday night, Real Madrid also bagged four, once Gareth Bale and Ronaldo got their act together.
It's easy to see why some Atletico fans across the generations are experiencing deja vu today.
Of course, they may soon forget events in Lisbon. Remember that 1974 was a World Cup year, and Schwarzenbeck went on to play his part in helping West Germany become champion of the world. Who can say Sergio Ramos won’t do the same later this summer for Spain?
It just might be difficult for Atletico fans to feel that much empathy over the coming weeks.