As if the prize of winning the Champions League isn’t enough, the victors in Berlin will now know that an historic treble awaits them too.
Barcelona did achieve the feat in 2009 to complete an astonishing first season under Pep Guardiola but for Juventus this would be a spectacular first.
In total, there have been seven teams that have accomplished the treble of winning their domestic league title, domestic cup and become the champions of Europe. It’s an impressive list…
The so-called Lisbon Lions defeated Helenio Herrera’s Inter side in the Portuguese capital to become the first British team to win the European Cup. It’s a moment that has come to symbolise so much more than success given that all but one of Jock Stein’s 15-man Celtic squad were born within 10 miles of the ground, with the odd one out being ‘foreigner’ Bobby Lennox – born 30 miles away. Renowned for the beauty of their football, Stein’s Celtic also picked up the second of nine consecutive league titles that season and beat Aberdeen in the cup to make it a treble. In fact, they’d even beaten Rangers in the League Cup final in October in front of almost 100,00 at Hampden Park.
Rinus Michels had helped introduce ‘Total Football’ at Ajax as they claimed the first of three consecutive European Cups in the early 1970s, but it was his successor Stefan Kovacs who oversaw the club’s treble in ’72. A brace from Johan Cruyff swept aside Inter to retain their European Cup in a final that took place in De Kuip, the home of their great rivals Feyenoord. Ajax had already won the KNVB Cup in the same stadium 20 days earlier, with Cruyff again among the scorers in a 3-2 win over Den Haag, while the Eredivisie title had long since been clinched in emphatic style thanks to 30 wins from 34 games. Some say football has never been played so well since.
The next team to complete the treble were also Dutch as Guus Hiddink’s PSV team beat all before them in the 1987-88 season. The Eredivisie was won for a third consecutive time in spectacular style as PSV helped themselves to 117 goals in Hiddink’s first full season in charge but the cups proved rather trickier. It needed an extra-time goal from Soren Lerby to edge past Roda JC in the KNVB Cup and less than a fortnight later, their European Cup final against Benfica ended goalless. Ronald Koeman opened the scoring from the spot and the treble was finally sealed when Benfica’s Antonio Veloso became the first and last man to miss his kick.
Man Utd 1999
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United team of ’99 remain the only English team to win the treble and it could hardly have come about in more astonishing fashion. The Premier League title was won by one point after coming from behind to beat Tottenham on the final day, while a routine FA Cup final victory was in stark contrast to the drama of their 10-man extra-time semi-final replay win over Arsenal when Ryan Giggs ran half the length of the field to score. But the best came in the Nou Camp when the never-say-die spirit of Ferguson’s team reached its zenith as they scored two in stoppage-time to stun Bayern Munich and create a truly great Champions League moment in the process.
Guardiola’s coaching experience had been restricted to a solitary season with Barcelona B prior to his appointment in 2008 and he was taking over a team that had finished 10 points adrift of Villarreal in third place the previous season. He promptly won La Liga by nine points, scoring 105 goals in the process, before coming from behind against Athletic Bilbao to win the Copa del Rey for the first time in over a decade. A memorable season was completed as Barca won the Champions League for only the third time in their history – and with Lionel Messi to the fore, it was all achieved playing a glorious brand of football that enthralled millions around the world.
Inter were the dominant force in Italian football when Jose Mourinho arrived in 2008 and two years later, the Portuguese coach took them to a fifth straight Serie A title. By beating Roma in their own stadium, Inter completed the domestic double for the first time (on the pitch) in their history but it was Europe that would define this team. Inter hadn’t won the trophy in 45 years but Mourinho masterminded a backs-to-the-wall victory over Barca in the semi-final – defending their lead with 10-men in the Nou Camp – before his experienced side saw off Louis van Gaal’s Bayern Munich in the final thanks to two goals from Diego Milito.
The German giants had gone close in reaching the Champions League final in two of the previous seasons, missing out to Chelsea in heartbreaking fashion on their own turf the previous season. However, even domestic domination had been denied them with Borussia Dortmund’s rise leaving Bayern trophyless in each of the previous two seasons. Jupp Heynckes got it right in 2012/13 though, leading the club to an historic treble even in the knowledge that Guardiola was waiting in the wings to take his job. Stuttgart were beaten in the DFB-Pokal Cup, while the Bundesliga was won by 25 points, before Arjen Robben’s late goal saw off Dortmund at Wembley to complete the clean sweep.
Credit: Sky Sports
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