From the three Liverpool triumphs in the competition to the three consecutive victories for British sides in the early 1980s, there is rich Super Cup history on these shores.
Here we take the opportunity to recall each of the eight occasions that saw British sides lift the trophy...
1977 UEFA Super Cup: Liverpool 6 Hamburg 0 (7-1 agg.)
Liverpool became the first British winners of the Super Cup when they defeated Hamburg over two legs in the 1977 final – ruining Kevin Keegan’s Anfield return in spectacular fashion. It was Keegan’s homecoming having left Liverpool the previous season, bowing out in the European Cup final triumph that saw the Reds qualify for this contest.
He came back to find a new King of the Kop in the form of his replacement Kenny Dalglish, although the second leg on Merseyside belonged to Terry McDermott who scored three in a 6-0 thrashing. McDermott himself came to regard the match as the defining performance of his career as he got his opportunity in a central role.
“I was moved in rather than be out wide on the right,” he recalled. “I scored a hat-trick and I always remember John Toshack saying: 'That's your position'. I got the confidence from John Toshack saying a thing like that. He probably won't remember, but I do.” As for Keegan, he barely had a kick and to cap off the evening it was Dalglish who scored the sixth and Liverpool were to go on to become the first British club to retain the European Cup later that season.
1979 UEFA Super Cup: Barcelona 1 Nottingham Forest 1 (1-2 agg.)
Brian Clough had been a target for Barcelona in his Derby County days but the maverick manager was understandably reluctant to go to a club where he couldn’t be guaranteed the same control he so enjoyed when at his most effective. Instead Clough had to settle for going to the Camp Nou and clinching the 1979 Super Cup – confusingly contested in the early months of 1980.
A goal from long-time Clough target Charlie George, at the City Ground for a brief loan spell, separated the sides in Nottingham but left plenty still to do in the Camp Nou cauldron. Fortunately for Forest fans, Clough and assistant boss Peter Taylor were just about the best in the business when it came to orchestrating away efforts in Europe at this time.
The English side did fall behind to a penalty midway through the first half but Kenny Burns restored the aggregate lead just before half-time and Forest held on in front of 80,000 supporters – a crowd figure unsurpassed in the three and a half decades of Super Cup action that have followed. Forest also went on to defend their European Cup just months later.
1982 UEFA Super Cup: Aston Villa 3 Barcelona 0 (3-1 agg.)
“We do not compare in financial terms with a club like Barcelona,” wrote Villa boss Tony Barton in his programme notes for the second leg with his side a goal down from the game in the Camp Nou. “What has been achieved already has come with the financial odds stacked against us. But rest assured, no-one in England is giving up the struggle and we hope to prove that tonight by rubbing out the deficit against Barcelona and winning the European Super Cup.”
His Villa team did exactly that on a memorable night at Villa Park. Admittedly, there was no Diego Maradona in the Barcelona team, with the Argentine superstar laid low with hepatitis, but the brilliant Bernd Schuster was among the opposition ranks of a strong Spanish side that were still leading with 10 minutes of normal time remaining.
Gary Shaw was the hero as he levelled things up in front of the Holte End before goals from Gordon Cowans (from the spot) and Ken McNaught secured the trophy in extra time. To make the evening extra special for Shaw, Maradona even sent his agent into the Villa dressing room to get the 22-year-old’s shirt.
1983 UEFA Super Cup: Aberdeen 2 Hamburg 0 (2-0 agg.)
Hamburg may have been the European Cup winners but having beaten Real Madrid in the Cup Winners’ Cup, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen made a convincing claim to be the best side on the continent with their win over the Germans in 1983. Built on the strong foundations of the defensive partnership between Alex McLeish and Willie Miller, the Dons got a goalless draw in Hamburg before overpowering their opponents at Pittodrie.
“It was a steady procession and we might have scored five or six,” recalled midfielder Gordon Strachan. “But we had done enough to win the Super Cup, the final icing on the cake, and convince the doubters that our Cup Winners' Cup victory was no fluke. And I think, by the end of the evening, nobody could argue that we were not the best side in Europe in 1983.”
After Neil Simpson’s opener, Mark McGhee sealed the win and with it a move to Hamburg later that year as a great team began to break up. As the Scottish forward recently told Sky Sports: “I wanted to take advantage of the success that we'd had because Aberdeen wasn't a place where any of us were going to benefit other than while Ferguson was there winning trophies.” While that proved true, Aberdeen’s place in history is secure and they remain Scotland’s only Super Cup winners.
1991 UEFA Super Cup: Manchester United 1 Red Star Belgrade 0
Ferguson added a second Super Cup to his collection in 1991 with victory over Red Star Belgrade. The match was a one-off encounter due to the political problems in then Yugoslavia as the country began to break up and there were just over 22,000 in Old Trafford to see Manchester United win by a solitary goal. Indeed, it was a triumph that was anything but convincing.
“We were absolutely annihilated that night,” Ferguson told Manchester United’s official website. “They could have been 5-0 up at half-time. The entire Red Star side was terrific. Dejan Savicevic, Darko Pancev, Robert Prosinecki, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Vladimir Jugovic... all brilliant players.
“We were lucky to get that result. At half-time I changed things around and dropped Brian McClair into the middle of the pitch. That broke things up a bit and we managed to win 1-0 after McClair got one midway through the second half.” With two Super Cup defeats since, it remains the only time United have lifted the trophy.
1998 UEFA Super Cup: Real Madrid 0 Chelsea 1
It may retrospectively seem like a battle of the continent’s heavyweights but Real Madrid versus Chelsea was anything but at the time. The Spanish side had just won the Champions League to be crowned Europe’s best team for an unprecedented seventh time, while Chelsea had yet to so much as appear in the competition. It didn’t stop the Blues winning the Super Cup though.
This was first of 15 consecutive Super Cups to be played as one-off match in Monaco and Chelsea battled hard to stay in the game during the early stages with the help of their combative skipper Dennis Wise. It required some help from the woodwork to deny Fernando Hierro and ensure Gianluca Vialli’s side went in level at the break.
In the second half, Chelsea came into hit more with Frank Leboeuf striking a post before substitute Gus Poyet scored the only goal of the game late on. It continued a remarkable summer of success for Chelsea in which they had already won the League Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup as the club began to establish itself among Europe’s elite.
2001 UEFA Super Cup: Bayern Munich 2 Liverpool 3
Gerard Houllier’s annus mirabilis as Liverpool boss reached its crescendo with a fifth trophy of the calendar year. The team’s cup exploits were full of drama. A shootout victory over Birmingham in the League Cup, a Golden Goal 5-4 triumph over Alaves in the UEFA Cup and a come-from-behind win over Arsenal in the FA Cup were followed by a Charity Shield win over rivals Manchester United in the August. But the Super Cup success was arguably the best performance of the lot.
Bayern were European champions but could not compete with Liverpool’s threat in the final third. John Arne Riise converted Michael Owen’s low cross midway through the first half and Emile Heskey beat Oliver Kahn to double the lead just before the break. Owen then capitalised on a defensive error to put the Reds three up and beyond reach just 13 seconds into the second period.
There was still time for the German side to rally with goals from Hasan Salihamidzic and substitute Carsten Jancker, but ultimately Owen’s goal turned out to be difference – just as it had in two of the previous four finals that year. “Michael Owen is a world class player and we simply could not counter his threat,” said Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld afterwards.
2005 UEFA Super Cup: Liverpool 3 CSKA Moscow 1
Liverpool followed up their thrilling Champions League final triumph over AC Milan by once again coming from behind to win the trophy against CSKA Moscow in Monaco just three months later. In doing so, Liverpool became only the second team after Milan to win the Super Cup on three occasions – a feat since matched and surpassed by Barcelona.
It hadn’t looked likely when Daniel Carvalho beat Pepe Reina to put CSKA ahead in the first half and Liverpool were still trailing when Djibril Cisse was introduced with a little over 10 minutes remaining. But the French forward equalised within minutes and then put the Reds ahead in extra time before setting up Luis Garcia to cap a remarkable evening’s work for the substitute.
“We always controlled the game,” said Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez afterwards. “When we scored we had more space. We made one mistake and conceded a goal but thought if we keep working the same we can score. All the team knew it was important to work hard and then the game was almost ready for Cisse in the second half.”