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Aberdeen served up a surprise Valentine’s Day dish to Bayern Munich in 2008

Lee Miller and Lucio go toe to toe during the first leg at Pittodrie. Image: Colin Rennie/DC Thomson.
Lee Miller and Lucio go toe to toe during the first leg at Pittodrie. Image: Colin Rennie/DC Thomson.

Bayern Munich arrived at the plush Marcliffe at Pitfodels hotel in their own team bus, had matching suitcases and even brought their own waiters.

But it was Aberdeen who served up a surprise dish to their illustrious opponents, with a fine display that secured a draw against European royalty on February 14 2008.

Aberdeen made the last 32 after emerging from a strong group including Panathinaikos, Lokomotiv Moscow, Atlético Madrid and FC Copenhagen.

Bookmaker William Hill made the German giants the 2/5 favourites to win the first leg at Pittodrie with Aberdeen 13/2 to upset the odds and 13/5 being quoted for the draw.

Those odds seemed generous given Jimmy Calderwood’s charges were going in to the first leg on the back of a 4-1 thrashing from Dundee United in the League Cup semi-final which was followed by a 5-1 defeat at Pittodrie by champions Celtic in the league.

Throw in 10 first-team players on the treatment table and it was a perfect storm.

Oliver Kahn took ill on the plane

Bayern were in confident mood on arrival in Aberdeen with midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger appearing to suggest the tie was already a foregone conclusion.

“Obviously, anything is possible, but when you compare the team in terms of quality, I think it is fair to say we are stronger,” he said.

“On paper you would think we should get through.”

Aberdeen manager Jimmy Calderwood was in charge when the Dons played Bayern Munich. Image: PA.

Captain and goalkeeper Oliver Kahn suffered an illness on the plane and immediately returned to Germany to rest ahead of the Bundesliga clash with Hannover 96.

With back-up Michael Rensing struggling with a back injury, manager Ottmar Hitzfeld was forced to fly 19-year-old goalkeeper Thomas Kraft in to the city as cover.

Mark van Bommel, Franck Ribery, Willy Sagnol and Daniel van Buyten were also injured although the Bayern squad which travelled was still incredibly formidable.

Bayern Munich’s Luca Toni and Aberdeen’s Zander Diamond in action during the match. Image: PA.

Late fitness tests for key Dons players

Calderwood faced the prospect of missing 10 players before Barry Nicholson, Zander Diamond, Darren Mackie and Andrew Considine were all passed fit for the match.

Calderwood said: “If we win it will send a shock wave around Europe.

“People would remember it for years, long after we’ve left Pittodrie.

“I’m sure folk would be phoning from all over the world trying to find out how a team as mighty as Bayern could lose to the likes of us.”

These young supporters were left with memories to last a lifetime. Image: Colin Rennie/DC Thomson.

The Bavarians were looking to avoid a repeat of their shock European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final defeat by Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen side in 1983.

Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose were leading the Bayern attack but the Dons made it a memorable Valentine’s Night for the Red Army by taking the lead after 24 minutes.

Pittodrie erupted when on-loan teenager Josh Walker curled in from 20 yards.

Bayern hit back through Klose five minutes later.

Klose scores Bayern’s first goal on the night at Pittodrie. Image: Colin Rennie/DC Thomson.

Aluko gave Dons an unlikely lead

For barely four minutes the impossible dream had seemed alive.

Cue Aluko to take centre stage on 41 minutes.

The Birmingham City player, on loan to the Dons, strode into the spotlight with a wonderful left-foot finish after forward Lee Miller had played him through on goal.

Aluko such a threat down the left flank in the first half that Bayern right back Christian Lell was replaced at the interval by German international Philipp Lahm.

Josh Walker and Sone Aluko celebrate during the 2-2 draw. Image: SNS.

Alan Maybury, impressive at right back, blocked Brazilian Ze Roberto’s left wing cross, but referee Eduardo Gonzales ruled he had used his hand.

Hamit Altintop stepped up to net the spot kick on 55 minutes.

The P&J said: “This was perhaps not a result to send shocks across Europe, and maybe only the most ardent of Aberdeen supporters will wake this morning dreaming they may yet knock the mighty Bayern Munich out of Europe one more time.

“But Aberdeen have given themselves the right to stride into the Allianz Arena next Thursday with heads held high, daring to hope once again to upset the odds after a performance packed with passion and purpose.

“Young Englishmen Josh Walker and Sone Aluko scored the goals which earned Aberdeen their chance of greatness in Munich six days from now, but every one of the 13 Aberdeen players who took to the field deserves immense credit.

“No Oliver Kahn, no Franck Ribery, but still a glittering array of talent to test the Dons. And while the Germans will rightly start the second leg as favourites, don’t be shocked if the Dons somehow pull another rabbit out of the hat.”

Bayern Munich’s Miroslav Klose was a constant thorn in Aberdeen’s side up front. Image: PA.

Brazil international blamed Pittodrie turf

Ze Roberto preferred to blame the poor condition of the Pittodrie pitch for his side’s failure to win the first leg, rather than his own team.

He bleated: “It was tough out there.

“It was very physical and the pitch was a catastrophe, but we’ve shown we’re capable of coming through a fight and we’re happy with the result.

“It will be very different in the return, we’ll play some football.

“We have a great chance of going through.”

Aberdeen’s Alan Maybury and Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger lock horns. Image: PA.

It couldn’t last and Aberdeen’s Uefa Cup adventure came to a close in the Allianz Arena when Bayern moved up the gears and won 5-1 to go through 7-3 on aggregate.

Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld took no chances, bringing back Kahn and partnering Lukas Podolski with Luca Toni in attack. There were also returns for midfielder Mark van Bommel and defenders Willy Sagnol and Daniel van Buyten.

Lucio’s free-kick settled Bayern nerves and a Daniel van Buyten header doubled the home side’s advantage on 36 minutes.

Lukas Podolski put the game beyond doubt with two second-half goals and the Dons were in danger of taking a real hiding as the Germans turned on the style.

Aberdeen warming up at the Allianz for what was a disappointing evening in Munich. Image: PA.

There were 82 minutes on the clock when Aberdeen finally forced Kahn into making a save when he dived to his left to parry Nicholson’s close-range finish, but the Dons finally got their goal when Steve Lovell rose highest to glance fellow substitute Jeffrey de Visscher’s free kick past Kahn.

Too little, too late and, stung into retaliation, Bayern added a fifth with a close-range finish from Marc van Bommel.

Bayern Munich’s Luca Toni and Aberdeen’s Andrew Considine battle for the ball in Germany. Image: PA.

An impossible dream

The P&J reported: “Three Bayern goals from set-pieces will haunt the Dons. The porous defending of recent weeks cost them any chance of the most unlikely of victories as, for the first time, they conceded five goals in a European match .

“It was an impossible dream. Mighty Munich, four times champions of Europe, against an Aberdeen side with only one win in the Uefa Cup this season and languishing in eighth place in the SPL.

“No such problems for the Bavarians – leaders of the Bundesliga and aiming for a return to the Champions League next campaign.”

The raw wounds of the crushing result would take time to heal but the Dons had reason to feel genuinely proud as they won new friends and admirers across the continent.

Bayern Munich reached the semi-final where they were defeated 5-1 on aggregate by Zenit St Petersburg who went on to win the Manchester final 2-0 against Rangers.