Date: Wednesday, 16th September 1992.
European Cup First Round First Leg.
Score: VfB Stuttgart 3 Leeds United 0.
Scorers: VfB Stuttgart: Walter (2), Buck. Leeds
VfB Stuttgart: Immel; Schneider, Frontzeck;
Dubajic, Struntz (Schafer),
Buchwald; Buck, Sverrisson, Walter (Knup), Faudino, Kogel.
Leeds United: Lukic; Rocastle (Hodge), Dorigo; Batty, Fairclough, Whyte; Cantona (Shutt), Strachan, Chapman, McAllister,
Referee: Rune Larsson (Sweden).
Fresh from their First Division Championship success, United
entered the 1992-93 European First Round clash with surprise German Bundesliga Champions VfB
Stuttgart. It had been seventeen long years since United had last competed in
the European Cup in the 1975 final against another German team, Bayern Munich, in Paris but few
could have imagined such a dramatic re-introduction. United had their
full championship winning team on view with the addition of £2 million ‘big
money signing’ England International David Rocastle,
who had failed to start in any of United’s opening
eight competitive games of the 1992/93 season, but was given his European debut
at Stuttgart. He had been the big money purchase of the summer but had
not featured in the FA Charity Shield side that had beaten Liverpool
4-3 at Wembley with Eric Cantona netting a hat-trick.
However, he did play in the high profile Makita Tournament at Elland Road, which ironically
had paired United with Stuttgart.
United had won 2-1 with David Rocastle scoring, but
had then gone down to Italian side Sampdoria in the
Final. Howard Wilkinson was adamant that the earlier meeting was irrelevant but
opted for Rocastle’s experience but withdrew him at
half-time with the game goalless and replaced him with another England
International in Steve Hodge.
several German Internationals in their side, including keeper Eike Immel, Central Defender
Guido Buchwald, Defender Michael Frontzeck, and
Midfielder Thomas Strunz, as well as Icelandic
international Eyjólfur Gjafar
Sverrisson and Swiss international Adrian Knup. Striker Fritz Walter, no relation to the legendary
former German World Cup-Winning Captain of the same name, had been the Bundesliga leading scorer in the previous season. But
Stuttgart did not have the household names of the better known Bayern Munich, who they had beaten to the German
Championship the previous season and their best player Matthias Sammer had moved on to Inter-Milan.
Everything was going to plan for Howard Wilkinson’s team as
they went to the break goalless and in fact United had gone closest to breaking
the deadlock when an Eric Cantona chip had Ike Immel stretching and then the Frenchman headed against an
upright. They were perhaps a little unfortunate not to be ahead at the break as
they had been the better team. David Rocastle had
also missed the best chance in a relatively low-key first half in which United
had looked quite comfortable. Wilkinson sent on Steve Hodge for David Rocastle in the second half. Half-time had come and gone with a blank
scoresheet. Then United’s team, many of whom had no
previous European experience, appeared to lose
concentration and the Germans took full advantage.
Striker Fritz Walter had been singled out by Leeds
as being the main danger man for Stuttgart
for good reason. Just on the hour mark Stuttgart
scored two goals in four minutes, both from their striker Fritz Walter. An
injured Eric Cantona had gifted possession to the
Germans. There seemed no danger until Chris Whyte
slipped as he attempted to block Ludwig Kogel’s and
Fritz Walter was left free to impudently chip the ball past the exposed John Lukic after sixty-two minutes. The Bundesliga’s
leading goal-scorer got his second just six minutes later as United failed to
clear a corner properly. John Lukivc was able to
parry Eyloful Sverrisson’s
drive but Fritz Walter snapped up the rebound. The two goal burst had turned
the match Stuttgart’s way, but when Andreas Buck added a third by cutting inside
David Batty, who was operating at right-back, and sent a fine diagonal shot
past John Lukic eight minutes from time it appeared United’s chances of progress to the Second Round were
practically non-existent, as they had never been asked to make up a three goal
deficit to advance to the next round. Disappointed Leeds
boss Howard Wilkinson said, “It was an absolutely crazy result. We were
comfortable for sixty minutes.”
David Rocastle misses
an early chance David
Batty closes down in midfield
Stuttgart 1991-92: Bundesliga Championship Winners
Row: Slobodan Dubajic,
Michael Mayer, Uwe Schneider, Jürgen
Eyjölfur Sverrisson, Olaf Schmäler, Nils Schmäler, Guido Buchwald, Michael Frontzeck.
Middle Row: Christoph Daum (Coach), Lorenz-Günther
Köstner (Assistant Coach),
Matthias Sammer, Marc Kienle,
Manfred Kastl, Harald Preuss, Jens Keller,
Alexander Strehmel, Jochen Seitz (Kit Manager), Gerhard Wörn
Front Row: Fritz Walter, Ludwig Kögl, Eberhard Trautner, Eike Immel, Andreas Buck,
Leeds United 1992-93: with 1991-92
League Championship Trophy
Back Row: Chris Whyte,
Gary McAllister, John Lukic, Lee Chapman, Mervyn Day,
Jon Newsome, David Wetherall.
Middle Row: Alan Sutton (Physio),
Mel Sterland, Steve Hodge, David Rocastle,
Carl Shutt, Eric Cantona, Mick Hennigan (Coach).
Front Row: Scott Sellars,
Gary Speed, Tony Dorigo, Howard Wilkinson (Manager),
David Batty, Rod Wallace.
VfB Stuttgart’s goal-scorers were Fritz Walter (2) and
Eike Immel, Guido Buchwald, Michael Frontzeck
and Thomas Strunz were all German internationals
international Eyjólfur Gjafar Sverrisson
and Swiss international Adrian Knup were also in the
team, but star player
Sammer had left
Leeds sent on Steve Hodge in place of
David Rocastle for the second half