"It was a big surprise – Juve had great players and were unbeaten in two years." Ottmar Hitzfeld
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Four familiar faces came back to haunt Juventus in the 1997 showpiece as the curse of the UEFA Champions League holders struck again.
The reigning champions had fallen at the final hurdle in each of the last two years and, for Juve, bad luck came in threes as Karl-Heinz Riedle set Borussia Dortmund on course for a famous win. Never has revenge tasted so sweet.
Revenge, because four years earlier Ottmar Hitzfeld's side had been demolished 6-1 on aggregate by an unremitting Bianconeri in the UEFA Cup final. The blow was softened by the arrival of Julio César, Jürgen Kohler, Paulo Sousa and Andreas Möller from their vanquishers, and the quartet brought their winning habit to the Westfalenstadion – as Juve would discover.
Yet having overwhelmed AFC Ajax in the semi-finals, it was Marcello Lippi's side who arrived in Bavaria as favourites. Had Christian Vieri shown better poise early on they may have lived up to the billing. Instead it was Riedle who lit the path for the German side with two goals in five minutes midway through the first half.
First he cushioned Paul Lambert's fine cross on his chest before firing under Angelo Peruzzi and, crucially, he then struck again, meeting Möller's corner with a powerful header. The Bianconeri were not about to lie down, however. Zinédine Zidane escaped the attentions of man-marker Lambert for long enough to hit the upright, while Vieri had a deflected effort tipped onto the bar.
The Italy forward had also had a goal disallowed, and Juve finally broke through when half-time substitute Alessandro Del Piero applied a deft flick to Alen Bokšić's cross. Dortmund fans must have feared the worst, but local boy Lars Ricken swiftly allayed them.
A mere 16 seconds after replacing Stéphane Chapuisat the 20-year-old sped onto Möller's through ball before brilliantly chipping Peruzzi with his first touch. A dream introduction; a dream day for Dortmund.