Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughPaul Lambert - Dortmund’s secret weapon - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Paul Lambert - Dortmund’s secret weapon - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Paul Lambert – Dortmund’s secret weapon

In case you thought Borussia Dortmund are intruders to the Champions League crème de la crème, think again. The recently-dethroned Bundesliga champions were the winners of the 5th edition of the UEFA Champions League 16 years ago. And guess where they trounced Juventus 3-1?

You guessed it, Munich. It will tickle EPL fans, and those Aston Villa fans among them in particular, to note that none other than the bespectacled Paul Lambert supplied the cross for Dortmund’s opening goal. And the soft-spoken tactician is the one who effectively kept the artist Zinedine Zidane under lock and key throughout the 90 minutes, having been entrusted with the holding midfielder role by coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

It is worth noting the abundance of talent that the Old Lady boasted at this time. Apart from the silky Frenchman pulling strings in midfield, his compatriot Didier Deschamps, alongside whom he would win the World Cup the following year was also part of this classy outfit. Furthermore, they had celebrated Italy strikers Christian Vieri and Alessandro del Piero to rely on for goals. Not that the Westphalians were lightweights themselves. No squad blessed with the pace, talent and endeavour of Swiss forward Stefan Chapuisat could have been called average. 

However, even amid these stars, Lambert showed his worth. And not only in the Champions League final did the then 28-year-old distinguish himself; his performance in Dortmund’s semi-final elimination of Manchester United was lauded by master midfield terrier Roy Keane. This was against a Man U that had the genius Eric Cantona in attack and a young David Beckham plying the right flank. There were standout performances all round over the two legs of Dortmund’s 2-0 triumph over the Mancunians; Mattias Sammer had Sir Alex Ferguson waxing lyrical at the end of the tie and keeper Stefan Klos ensured the Red Devils’ goal account remained Klos-ed. But the contributions of the Scot were undoubtedly a key factor in Dortmund’s 1997 success.