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1988/89: Maradona leads the way for Napoli

1988/89: Maradona leads the way for Napoli
1988/89: Maradona leads the way for Napoli ©UEFA.com

SSC Napoli 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
(Maradona 68, Careca 87; Gaudino 17)
VfB Stuttgart 3-3 SSC Napoli
(Klinsmann 27, De Napoli (og) 70, Schmäler 89; Alemão 18, Ferrara 39, Careca 62)
(agg: 5-4 to Napoli)

The UEFA Cup was touched by the hand of God in 1989. SSC Napoli lifted the trophy, though not without the intervention of star man Diego Maradona. The Serie A team began with victories over FC PAOK Thessaloniki, VfB Leipzig and FC Girondins de Bordeaux. But it was in the quarter-finals that they really announced themselves, coming from two-down against Juventus FC to win 3-0 at home with a goal in the last minute of extra time.

The semi-finals brought them up against FC Bayern München. The Bavarian side had supplied their own share of drama by winning 3-1 at Internazionale FC after a 2-0 loss in Munich. Here, however, they were denied by the Brazilian Careca. His double strike secured a draw at the Olympiastadion to add to a 2-0 success in Naples.

More German woe followed in the final. Like the Italians, VfB Stuttgart were appearing at this stage for the first time. They had beaten Lombard FC Tatabánya, NK Dinamo Zagreb, FC Groningen, Real Sociedad and 1. FC Dynamo Dresden, when east met west in the semi-finals. Yet Herren Klinsmann, Katanec, Immel and Buchwald never recovered from the blow of Maradona's goal 68 minutes into the first leg. The Argentinian's sleight of hand earned him a controversial penalty which he converted to equalise Maurizio Gaudino's opener for Stuttgart. Careca's late winner effectively sealed the tie, as the second leg finished 3-3 at the Neckarstadion.