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Two decades in shadow of Glasgow giants

Paul Breitner’s memories of Aberdeen are not necessarily the happiest of his footballing career. “That’s where I played my last match in Europe,” the former Bayern star grimaces. After a scoreless draw in Munich, Breitner and Co travelled to the north-east of Scotland on 16 March 1983 for a European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final return but lost 3-2 and exited the competition. The Dons went on to beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the final and claim the trophy, the greatest triumph in the 104-year history of the club.

Back in the 1980s, then coach Sir Alex Ferguson fashioned Aberdeen into one of Scotland’s most successful clubs with three championships and four Cup victories, but the Dons have been overshadowed by Glasgow giants Celtic and Rangers since that glorious era. Aberdeen’s most recent trophy success was the Scottish League Cup back in 1996.

Best European run in 22 seasons

The club partially recaptured some of their former glories last season with a third-place finish in the Scottish Premier League and a berth in this term’s UEFA Cup, where a 4-0 triumph against FC Copenhagen in their final Group B match earned them third spot in the section behind Atletico Madrid and Panathinaikos of Athens.

“My team has made history tonight,“ declared coach Jimmy Calderwood, at the helm since 2004. A line-up almost exclusively comprising British players has thus survived in Europe until after Christmas for the first time in 22 seasons.

Sixth in SPL

Aberdeen currently lie sixth in the Scottish top flight with seven wins, seven defeats and three draws so far this term. The Dons play their home matches at the 22,199 capacity Pittodrie, the first stadium in Britain to be converted to a completely covered all-seater arena.

The ground is certain to be packed to the seams when Bayern arrive on 13 or 14 February in search of ‘revenge’ for the events of almost 25 years ago. Paul Breitner believes the Bavarians will succeed in their mission: “The team we have now normally shouldn’t have any trouble beating Aberdeen, provided we play to our potential on the day.“

Aberdeen’s roll of honour:

European Cup Winners’ Cup: 1983
European Super Cup: 1984
Scottish champions: 1955, 1980, 1984, 1985
Scottish Cup: 1947, 1970, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1990
Scottish League Cup: 1956, 1977, 1986, 1990, 1996