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European Cup 1980

For Nottingham Forest to win the European Cup once was beyond supporters' wildest dreams. To retain the trophy the following year was pure fantasy. But so it remarkably transpired as Brian Clough's team, who had stunned the rest of Europe in the 1978-79 by winning the glittering prize in Munich, went on another magical journey - this time to Madrid. 

The campaign had a relatively low-key start compared with the spectacular meeting with Liverpool in the first round of the previous year's competition.

19 September 1979 - Nottingham Forest 2-0 Östers Vaxjo (Ian Bowyer 63', 73')

3 October 1979 - Östers Vaxjo 1-1 Nottingham Forest (Mats Nordgren 52'; Tony Woodcock 79')

When the draw was made for the first round it meant that Forest continued where they left off in Munich, facing Swedish opposition. Oesters Vaxjo, of whom little was known outside of Scandinavia, had beaten Malmo, Forest's final victims in Munich, to the Swedish title and they were to be the first opposition for Clough's men.

And the Swedes showed little respect for Forest's newly-acquired European reputation when they visited The City Ground for the first leg. In fact for an hour they repelled Forest's incessant pressure and it needed Peter Shilton to produce an inspired save from Peter Nilsson to prevent the visitors taking a shock lead.

But the frustration evaporated when Ian Bowyer, whose goal against Cologne had taken Forest to the previous year's final, thumped home a cross by Tony Woodcock. Bowyer added another with a deflected shot 13 minutes later and a two-goal cushion was thought to be enough for the return in Sweden.

They were given a jolt, however, when a mistake by Viv Anderson let in Mats Nordgren to trigger an uneasy spell for Forest but they held out and substitute Gary Mills set up a goal for Woodcock to ease them into the second round.

24 October 1979 - Nottingham Forest 2-0 Arges Pitesti (Tony Woodcock 12', Garry Birtles 16')

7 November 1979 - Arges Pitesti 1-2 Nottingham Forest (Ilie Barbulescu (pen) 60'; Ian Bowyer 5', Garry Birtles 23')

If Oesters Vaxjo were an unknown quantity to Forest before they met, they were even less familiar with Rumanian champions Arges Pitesti, who they met in the second round.

The only information instantly available was that Pitesti had beaten AEK Athens, Forest's second round opponents from 1978-79, in the first round of the competition.

As more information filtered through about Pitesti, it became evident that they were not the best of European travellers and so it proved as Forest raced into a two-goal lead in the first 16 minutes of the Nottingham home leg with efforts by Woodcock and Garry Birtles.

Despite ending the game with ten men, Pitesti showed resolve to keep the tie alive for the return, where Forest faced a hostile crowd as well as a side out to create a shock.

Their hopes diminished when Forest, capitalising on their brisk start to the game, stretched their lead when Bowyer grabbed his third goal of the campaign after Larry Lloyd had got his head to a John Robertson corner.

Forest stretched their lead - and effectively put the tie to bed - when Woodcock's cross from the by line was turned in at the far post by Birtles. 

Pitesti reduced the deficit on the hour following a Barbulescu penalty given for one of Kenny Burns' less offensive challenges but it was a case of too little too late.  

5 March 1980 - Nottingham Forest 0-1 Dynamo Berlin (Hans-Jürgen Riediger 63') 

19 March 1980 - Dynamo Berlin 1-3 Nottingham Forest (Frank Terletzki (pen) 49'; Trevor Francis 15', 35', John Robertson (pen) 39')

Much tougher opposition awaited Forest in the quarter finals in the shape of a Dynamo Berlin side who had won the East German League by seven points the previous season and lost just one game in 26 in doing so.

They were regarded as a tough, no-nonsense outfit and underlined that reputation in the first leg at The City Ground, where Forest struggled to reveal the creativity that had epitomised their play under Brian Clough. 

And Forest's prospects of going through to the semi finals looked bleak when the talented Hans Jurgen Riediger stunned the crowd into silence by giving the Germans a lead they held and almost added to on the night.

So Forest set off for Berlin trailing 1-0 and also on the back of a 1-0 defeat by Wolves in the League Cup final the previous Saturday. Not the best of preparations. But on a bitterly cold night behind the Iron Curtain Forest produced one of their finest displays to turn the tie on its head.

It was a personal success story for Trevor Francis, criticised for his performance in the final against Wolves but producing one of the finest individual displays seen in a Forest shirt. 

Francis, a constant menace throughout the game, put Forest ahead on the night after 16 minutes and before half-time the England striker had put Clough's men ahead in the tie and seen Robertson add a third from the penalty spot. 

Berlin pulled a goal back from a Frank Terletzki penalty but Forest were in no mood to allow their efforts to go to waste and stood firm in the face of more German pressure to reach the semi finals.  

9 April 1980 - Nottingham Forest 2-0 Ajax (Trevor Francis 33', John Robertson (pen) 61')

23 April 1980 - Ajax 1-0 Nottingham Forest (Sören Lerby 65')

Past European masters Ajax stood between Forest and a second successive European Cup final and Francis again played an influential role.

The first leg was in Nottingham and Forest set about their task with the kind of flair and determination that was bound to lead to an opening.

It arrived in the 31st minute when a Robertson corner dropped invitingly for Francis to drive the ball past Ajax keeper Pete Schrijvers.

Just after the hour Forest added to their lead with Francis in the spotlight once more. His overhead kick looked destined for the net until it was handled by Cees Zwamborn and Robertson kept his customary cool to score from the spot. 

Despite continued pressure Forest failed to add to their deserved lead but they were given a fright when Shilton had to make a brilliant save to deny Soren Lerby.

Clough was happy with the lead that Forest took to Amsterdam a fortnight later even though he argued a case for them needing the added insurance of a third goal.

The manner in which Ajax set about the return leg in front of a 60,000 crowd in the Olympic Stadium confirmed his feelings.

The Dutch champions laid siege to the Forest goal but with Burns at his stonewall best and Shilton making important saves, the visitors held out until the 66th minute when Lerby headed home.

It sparked off further frenzied pressure but despite losing their record of not losing an away leg in the European Cup over two seasons, Forest held out to take their place in the final against Kevin Keegan's Hamburg. 

28 May 1980 - Nottingham Forest 1-0 Hamburg (John Robertson 19')

Although they went into the final as defending champions, neutral observers rated Forest as very much the underdogs against Hamburg.

One of the main reasons for that was the absence of the injured Francis, who had made such a huge contribution in the quarter and semi finals.

With Stan Bowles walking out on the squad before the final, Francis's spot was up for grabs and it went to Mills after Clough and Peter Taylor had second thoughts on an initial plan to play Burns in attack.

The absence of Francis meant that Forest played with only the ever-willing Birtles in an attacking role, inviting the Germans to build-up wave after wave of attacks at the start.

But in the 20th minute Forest plundered the goal that was to see them retain the trophy for a second year. This time the goalscoring glory went to Robertson, who picked up a ball in midfield, took a return ball from Birtles and squeezed a right foot shot wide of Hamburg keeper Rudi Kargus into the corner of the net. 

The Germans were temporarily floored but they picked up the attacking tempo once more to question Forest's resolve but with Burns and Lloyd, whose place in the final had been in doubt because of injury, standing firm Forest resisted everything Hamburg had to offer.

The sight of Keegan going deeper and deeper to try and ignite a response was further inspiration to a Forest side who refused to waver as they ran down the clock.

As Hamburg became devoid of ideas, Birtles might easily have added a second goal but one was enough and for a second successive year John McGovern was the proudest player in Europe as he lifted the magnificent trophy.  

Forest: Peter Shilton, Viv Anderson, Larry Lloyd, Kenny Burns, Frank Gray, Martin O'Neill, John McGovern, Ian Bowyer, John Robertson, Gary Mills, Garry Birtles Substitutes used: Bryn Gunn, John O'Hare