Vintage Madrid remembered by victims

Eintracht Frankfurt players recall their famous 7-3 defeat against Real Madrid CF in 1960.

Hushed tones
Madrid's performance that evening is still talked about in hushed tones of reverence, as they notched up a fifth straight success in European club football's most prestigious competition.

Receiving end
But what was it like to be on the receiving end of near-perfection, in front of more than 130,000 awe-struck fans? Forty-two years on, the man who did his best to stem the Madrid tide – Eintracht goalkeeper Egon Loy – and a team-mate who was good enough to breach the Madrid defence twice – forward Erwin Stein – can look back with philosophical smiles.

Frankfurt underdogs
"We were the underdogs," said Loy. "German football at that time was still amateur, and Real were a professional team. Still, I think that to lose 7-3 was too much." Loy added that the 1960 final was the "first and the last time" that he and Eintracht collected so many balls from their own net. The German custodian, then 28, was known to be one of the most dependable keepers in Europe.

Tough task
With Madrid now preparing to tread the Hampden turf once more against German opponents in Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League final, Loy reckons his countrymen face an equally daunting task.

No big difference
"There is not a big difference between the Real team back then and today. Then, they had Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás, but now they have Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane," he said. "It is a similar situation to 40 years ago - Bayer are underdogs and Real are favourites. But I hope the result will not be 7-3 for Real as it was back then."

Two goals
Meanwhile, Erwin Stein recalled his two goals with fondness. "We led 1-0, and saw that Real Madrid were totally shocked. It gave us great hopes of winning. Even after Real made it 1-1, we were still confident. But after Real scored their second goal, we understood that the Spanish side were too strong," he added.

No comparison
"At that time, the difference between Real Madrid and the other clubs was tremendous. Nowadays, Real are strong, but many clubs have caught up with them. It is not possible to compare today's football to then. Today, football is highly professional, and you can feel and see the difference in all respects."

Regular meetings
The surviving members of that brave but beaten Eintracht team still get together for reunions. "We still meet regularly four times a year, and we have been doing that for the last 40 years," said Stein. "There is still a strong feeling among the former Eintracht players."

Wish for Leverkusen
And like his colleague Loy, Stein's heart will beat for Leverkusen at Hampden on Wednesday. "My wish is that Bayer win, and this is also mixed with patriotic feelings. But realistically, I cannot see it happening."