MX23RW : Sunday, December 16 02:03:51

Bryan Gunn recalls team ethic that guided Norwich past Bayern Munich 25 years ago

The Canaries had finished third in the inaugural Premier League season.

It was a result which sent shockwaves through European football – and some 25 years on, Norwich’s unlikely UEFA Cup win at the Olympiastadion continues to haunt Bayern Munich.

The Canaries had finished third in the inaugural Premier League season to qualify for a first European adventure, their domestic challenge eventually fading as Manchester United went on to claim the title.

Despite comfortably progressing against Vitesse Arnhem, Mike Walker’s men were given little realistic chance of coming back from Bavaria with anything other than a footballing lesson against the then three-time European champions.

However, World Cup winner Lothar Matthaus and the rest of the Bayern team were left stunned as Norwich raced into a 2-0 lead, Jeremy Goss having volleyed in the opening goal from 20 yards.

Norwich, with a side made up of all British players, including a young Chris Sutton in attack, held out for a 2-1 victory – which remains Bayern’s only defeat by an English club at their old home.

Pilloried by the German press for such failings against the European novices, Bayern even flew Franz Beckenbauer out for inspiration in the return leg of the second-round tie.

It was, though, the Canaries who completed the job. After falling behind to an early goal from Adolfo Valencia, Wales midfielder Goss netted a crucial second-half strike which put the tie beyond the illustrious visitors.

Former Norwich goalkeeper Bryan Gunn, 54, recalled it was the underestimated team ethic of Walker’s close-knit squad which proved decisive.

“After beating Vitesse, we had learned quickly,” Gunn told Press Association Sport.

Chris Sutton (centre) in action for Norwich against Bayern Munich. (PA)
Chris Sutton (centre) was part of the Norwich side which beat Lothar Matthaus’ Bayern Munich. (John Stillwell/PA Archive)

“The inspiration for the second leg came from all the press (in Germany) after the game in Munich, when we had defended stoutly and managed to come away with that famous victory.

“They basically knocked it down to the country bumpkins from Norfolk managing to pull-off a one-off result and Bayern were coming to Carrow Road to finish the job and walk all over us.

“They didn’t do their homework very well because we were a team of very good football players.

Norwich manager Bryan Gunn. (PA)
Bryan Gunn had a spell as Norwich manager during 2009. (Chris Radburn/PA Images)

“There were no superstars, but we were a side built over a number of years with good finishes in the Premiership.”

Gunn, who would later go on to have a spell as Norwich manager, added: “We had a good base, with a blend of youth in there who were not fazed by anything, so when these big games came along, we just got on with the job.”

Norwich faced Inter Milan in the third round, but lost both legs against the eventual UEFA Cup winners 1-0 to goals from Dennis Bergkamp.

Walker left for Everton in January 1994 and Norwich were relegated the following season.

Nevertheless, those achievements of quarter-of-a-century ago which briefly put the unfashionable Norfolk club in the spotlight continue to stand the test of time.

“People still always talk to you about our great European run in 1993,” said Gunn, now director of talent recruitment at Triple S Sports & Entertainment Group and whose son Angus joined Southampton from Manchester City over the summer.

“We are in the history books as the only English side to have won there. Now of course Bayern have moved into the Allianz Arena, so our record still stands.”

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