Having eliminated defending champions Liverpool FC, Nottingham Forest FC marched on to their first European final, where Trevor Francis's diving header saw off Malmö FF.
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Nottingham Forest FC 1-0 Malmö FF
Real Madrid CF had done it in 1955/56. Internazionale FC had repeated the feat eight years later. Now Nottingham Forest FC were about to join that select band by lifting the European Champion Clubs' Cup at the first time of asking.
Brian Clough's team had got off to the perfect start. They had beaten the holders, Liverpool FC, whose domestic primacy they had usurped the previous season following promotion to the English first division, with 2-0 the aggregate score. Forest then put seven goals past AEK Athens before dismissing Grasshopper Club in the last eight. While the Swiss had the goals of Claudio Sulser, architect of Madrid's second-round exit, Clough could count on English international custodian, Peter Shilton, nemesis of Liverpool.
So Forest were through to the last four, where they faced arguably their toughest test. 1. FC Köln had shown their mettle by knocking out Rangers FC, the only quarter-finalist to have won a major European honour. Now they wanted to end a sequence of four European semi-final defeats. That looked the likely outcome after a 3-3 first-leg draw at the City Ground, but that was reckoning without Forest's knack of upsetting the odds, which came to the fore as Ian Bowyer nicked a 1-0 victory in Cologne.
The final pitted Clough against another English coach in Malmö FF's Bob Houghton, who had masterminded wins against AS Monaco FC, FC Dynamo Kyiv, Wisła Kraków and FK Austria Wien. But Swedish hopes of a fourth clean sheet in five games were spoiled by Trevor Francis's diving header at Munich's Olympiastadion.