A bumper crop of Dutch talent helped propel Guus Hiddink's PSV Eindhoven to the final of the European Champion Clubs' Cup in Stuttgart, though a shootout against SL Benfica went into sudden death before the match was won.
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PSV Eindhoven 0-0 SL Benfica (aet, PSV win 6-5 on penalties)
The Oranje boom of 1988 peaked with victory for the Netherlands at the UEFA European Championship in West Germany. Yet there was another significant high for Dutch football that summer, when PSV Eindhoven became the third Eredivisie side to lift the European Champion Clubs' Cup. Thus Guus Hiddink's domestic double winners joined Celtic FC and AFC Ajax as the only clubs to have achieved the so-called treble.
They had talent to spare in goalkeeper Hans van Breukelen, defender Ronald Koeman, midfielders Sören Lerby and Gerald Vanenburg, and forward Wim Kieft - but not the popular vote. PSV won just three of nine games, against Galatasaray SK and SK Rapid Wien, and none after the second round. They beat FC Girondins de Bordeaux and Real Madrid CF, in the quarter and semi-finals, on away goals after 1-1 draws in France and Spain; then outlasted SL Benfica on penalties in an unremarkable, goalless final.
In fact, the real purveyors of drama that season were Madrid, conquerors of SSC Napoli, FC Porto and FC Bayern München, whom they knocked out for the first time, 4-3 on aggregate. If the Merengues were chasing an elusive seventh victory in the competition, Benfica were hoping for a third. The Lisbon team outran KS Partizani, AGF Århus, RSC Anderlecht and FC Steaua Bucureşti, 2-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals. But when Van Breukelen saved from full back Veloso in the Stuttgart shoot-out, Benfica were facing up to their fourth consecutive defeat in a European final.