Feyenoord lifted the 31st UEFA Cup at their home Feijenoord Stadion in Rotterdam after a rollercoaster 3-2 win against a Borussia Dortmund side weakened by the first-half sending-off of Jürgen Kohler.
As a piece of footballing theatre, the match – all five goals, one sending-off and seven yellow cards of it – came close to matching last season's finale between Liverpool FC and Deportivo Alavés.
A first-half double from Pierre van Hooijdonk gave the Dutch hosts the advantage, but the German side roared back after the interval, twice reducing the arrears through Márcio Amoroso and Jan Koller – strikes sandwiching Jon Dahl Tomasson's crucial third goal for Feyenoord.
Dortmund, the newly crowned Bundesliga champions, went into the match seeking to become only the fourth side – after Juventus, FC Bayern München and AFC Ajax – to win all three UEFA cup competitions, while Feyenoord were seeking their first European trophy since 1974.
The German side were boosted before kick-off by the news that Stefan Reuter had passed a late fitness test on his injured back. Coach Matthias Sammer also handed former German international and FIFA World Cup winner Kohler a place in the starting lineup for his final senior match before retirement – only to see the player's swansong turn sour.
If Dortmund had any nerves about the sea of red and white they faced at a packed Feijenoord Stadion they did not let it show, as Tomáš Rosický, Amoroso and Koller displayed some neat and accomplished one-touch play.
For Feyenoord, Bonaventure Kalou had an early effort, which Jens Lehmann dealt with comfortably, while Robin van Persie – preferred to Leonardo on the left wing – settled quickly, twice tormenting Evanílson only for his crosses to elude his team-mates. After ten minutes, Shinji Ono spotted Lehmann off his line but sent his lofted shot well wide of the target.
Having absorbed the early pressure, the German champions replied with a series of lightning raids of their own. Patrick Paauwe intercepted crucially just as Koller looked set to test Edwin Zoetebier and the visitors went even closer on 15 minutes when Amoroso's slide-rule pass picked out Rosický only for the Czech international to shoot straight at Zoetebier.
Four minutes later, there was even greater drama at the other end, as Van Hooijdonk sent a trademark free-kick crashing against the right-hand Dortmund post, with Lehmann rooted to his line.
Evanilson then had a wonderful chance to open the scoring after inspired play by Brazilian compatriots Amoroso and Ewerthon but, bursting into the area to meet Ewerthon's square pass, he side-footed the ball over the crossbar.
On 31 minutes, the stadium erupted when Kohler pulled back Tomasson in the Dortmund area and was shown a red card. The 36-year-old left the field for the last time ruefully shaking his head, before Van Hooijdonk clinically dispatched the spot kick to give the hosts the lead.
It got even better for Feyenoord seven minutes later, when Van Hooijdonk's curling free-kick – his eighth goal of the tournament – crashed past Lehmann to send the Dutch into the interval 2-0 ahead.
Yet Dortmund were handed a lifeline one minute after the break. Ewerthon released Amoroso, who went down under Paauwe's challenge and the referee pointed to the spot. Amoroso stepped forward and sent the ball into the corner of the net to halve the deficit and rouse the Dortmund fans into full voice.
The AC Milan-bound Tomasson immediately restored Feyenoord's two-goal cushion, however, calmly beating Lehmann after being put through by Ono. But Dortmund were far from finished. Koller volleyed them back into the game on 58 minutes, controlling the ball with one touch then firing past a disbelieving Zoetebier from 25m.
Van Hooijdonk almost secured a hat-trick – shooting low against Lehmann's legs – as the game swung from end to end. Increasingly, though, it was Dortmund in the ascendancy, with desperate Feyenoord defending denying a steady wave of German attacks.
Feyenoord struggled to regain their composure, yet still looked capable of scoring a fourth goal. Van Hooijdonk blasted over the crossbar and a series of Dutch free-kicks sapped the strength of Dortmund's ten men. There was to be no final flourish – but that did not seem to matter as Rotterdam erupted in an explosion of red-and-white joy at the full-time whistle.
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