Feyenoord will be on familiar ground when they meet BV Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Cup final on 8 May - and not just because the game is to be played at their home stadium in Rotterdam.
The Dutch club are no strangers to the latter stages of continental competition having been the first team from the Netherlands to win a European cup. That success came in the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1969/70. Ernst Happel's men had signalled their intent by knocking out holders Milan AC in the second round. And from there, they progressed past Vorwarts Frankfurt/Oder and Legia Warszawa to a showdown with Celtic FC.
San Siro success
The final - the first between non-Latin clubs - took place at the San Siro in Milan. It was won by an extra-time goal from Swedish forward Ole Kindvall after Rinus Israel had equalised Tommy Gemmell's first-half opener for Celtic. Although AFC Ajax would later steal their thunder, it was apt that Feyenoord should have beaten their old rivals to the famous trophy. After
all, Feyenoord had blazed a trail by reaching the semi-finals of the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1962/63.
Defeat there, against SL Benfica, did not affect their ambition: soon the club changed its name from Feijenoord to the more Euro-friendly version used today. It was a move in keeping with the times, and Feyenoord were soon back on the winners' podium in the 1973/74 UEFA Cup. Led by the totemic Wim van Hanegem, they breezed past Östers IF, Gwardia Warszawa, R. Standard de Liège, KS Ruch Chorzów and VfB Stuttgart before running into Tottenham Hotspur FC.
Feyenoord get their Spurs
The final first leg at White Hart Lane ended 2-2 - with 'Feije' twice coming from behind through Van Hanegem and Theo De Jong. The second leg was a smoother affair on the pitch, settled by strikes either side of half-time from Wim Rijsbergen and Peter Ressel. Off it, however, it was marred by crowd trouble.
Thereafter, Feyenoord increasingly found themselves in the shadows of Ajax and PSV Eindhoven. This makes their run this season all the more enjoyable. Remarkably, the semi-final at Internazionale FC was their first official fixture at the Giuseppe Meazza ground since the 1970 final. All they need now is a happy homecoming against Dortmund.
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