Calcio Flashback: Juventus-Bordeaux 1985 European Cup Semi-Final Classic

Ahead of tonight’s Champions League opener between Juventus and Bordeaux in Turin, Carlo Garganese looks back to a classic clash between the sides…
FC Girondins de Bordeaux may not be the most prestigious club in French football, but Aime Jacquet’s outstanding team of the mid-1980s can certainly claim to be the best Ligue 1 has ever produced, up there with the Stade de Reims of the 1950s, Saint-Etienne of the 70s, and Marseille of the early 90s.

Bordeaux were the Kings of France a quarter-of-a-century ago, winning the Ligue 1 championship in 1984, 85 and 87, as well as claiming two Coupe de France’s and a Trophee des champions during these years.

Many of the national team who blitzed their way to Euro ’84 glory, and also reached the semi-final of the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, played their club football at the Stade du Parc Lescure. These included half of the Carré Magique (Magic Square) midfield – Alain Giresse and Jean Tigana – two of the best French players of all time, as well as fellow internationals Rene Girard, Bernard Lacombe, and Patrick Battiston. The latter was a top-class defender who is most famous for being on the receiving end of a vicious assault from West Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher during the thrilling 1982 World Cup semi-final that France lost on penalties.


The great Giresse today - currently coaching Gabon

The foreign infusion came from prolific German forward Dieter Muller - whose goals-to-game ratio during his career was almost comparable to his namesake Gerd – and Portuguese winger Fernando Chalana, who had been one of the stars of the 1984 European Championships, particularly in the legendary semi-final between the Seleccao and Les Bleus.

In 1984/85, Bordeaux were hoping to translate their domestic dominance onto the European scene. Les marine et blanc raced into the semi-finals of the European Cup after defeating Spanish champions Atheltic Bilbao, Romanians Dinamo Bucharest and Ukrainians Dnipro.

Lying in wait were Italian powerhouses Juventus, who for the last few years had been arguably the best side in Europe. Coached by the legendary Giovanni Trapattoni, the Bianconeri contained a number of the victorious Italy 1982 World Cup winners – Gaetano Scirea, Antonio Cabrini, Marco Tardelli and Paolo Rossi.

The Old Lady’s two foreigners could not have been any stronger. Current UEFA President Michel Platini was the best player in the world, and was on his way to becoming Serie A Capocannoniere and European Footballer of the Year for the third year in succession. Meanwhile, Zbigniew Boniek – arguably the greatest Pole of all time – was a lightning paced winger-cum-forward.


1982 WC Golden Boot winner Rossi

Juventus were favourites with the bookmakers going into the tie, having won eight of the last 13 league championships in Italy. They were also the current Cup Winners' Cup holders, but were desperate to win their first European Cup having finished runners-up to Ajax in 1973 and Hamburg 10 years later.

Yet some experts tipped Bordeaux to overturn their Italian opponents. While the French side were racing towards another Ligue 1 crown, Juventus were well off the pace in Serie A. Indeed, the Turin-giants would finish their domestic campaign in sixth place, as Preben Elkjaer’s Verona created one of the biggest shocks in Calcio history to claim the Scudetto. With stalwarts like Dino Zoff, Roberto Bettega and Claudio Gentile recently gone or retired, Bordeaux were looking to take advantage.

But any hope Jacquet’s men had of progressing appeared to evaporate in the first leg at the Stadio Communale as Juventus produced a super-show to crush Bordeaux 3-0. Boniek nipped in behind the defence to slot home the opener in the first half, before two similar goals in quick succession around the hour mark by Massimo Briaschi and Platini provided Juve with one foot in the final.


Platini - World's Best Player Before Maradona

In the return, Bordeaux almost produced a famous comeback. Muller offered them hope with a superb turn and shot into the bottom corner on 20 minutes – a goal that was again reminiscent of the great Gerd. Bordeaux continued to press, with Tigana in inspired form, and with 10 minutes remaining Battiston rocketed home a wonder strike from 35 yards that crashed in off the post. Bordeaux peppered the goal looking to force extra time, but Juventus held on to reach the Heysel final.

There they would defeat Liverpool 1-0 thanks to a Platini penalty, but it was a game that was completely overshadowed by the tragic deaths of 39 Juventus fans, which also resulted in the five-year ban of English clubs in Europe.

Tonight, Juventus host Bordeaux at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin and if the match is anything like the 1985 European Cup semi-final then we will be in for a treat.


1985 Semi-Final Teams

First Leg

Juventus 3-0 Bordeaux, Stadio Comunale

Juventus: Luciano Bodini, Luciano Favero, Nicola Caricola, Gaetano Scirea, Antonio Cabrini, Massimo Briaschi, Massimo Bonini, Marco Tardelli, Michel Platini, Zbigniew Boniek, Paolo Rossi. Coach: Giovanni Trapattoni

Bordeaux: Dominique Dropsy, Gernot Rohr, Léonard Specht, Patrick Battiston, Thierry Tusseau, Jean Tigana, René Girard, Fernando Chalana, Alain Giresse, Dieter Müller, Bernard Lacombe. Coach: Aime Jacquet

Goals: Boniek 27 (J), Briaschi 60 (J), Platini 62 (J)

Second Leg

Bordeaux 2-0 Juventus, Stade du Parc Lescure

Bordeaux: Dominique Dropsy, Gernot Rohr, Léonard Specht, Patrick Battiston, Thierry Tusseau, Jean Tigana, René Girard, Jean-Christophe Touvenel, Alain Giresse, Dieter Müller, Bernard Lacombe. Coach: Aime Jacquet

Juventus:
Luciano Bodini, Luciano Favero, Nicola Caricola, Gaetano Scirea, Antonio Cabrini, Massimo Briaschi, Massimo Bonini, Marco Tardelli, Michel Platini, Zbigniew Boniek, Paolo Rossi. Coach: Giovanni Trapattoni

Goals: Müller 25 (B), Battiston 80 (B)

Juventus win 3-2 on aggregate

Carlo Garganese, Goal.com