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Barça celebrating the first goal/ PHOTO: ARXIU FCB

On 10th of May 1989 Barça won their third European Cup Winners Cup, beating Sampdoria 2-0 in Berne. This European success was a prelude of what would come three years later, at Wembley Stadium, with the conquest of Barça’s first European Cup against the same Italian team.

 It was Johan Cruyff’s first season as coach, when Barça had no success in the national competitions, but achieved continental glory. FC Barcelona reached the final of the Cup Winners Cup after beating Fram Reykjavik, Lech Poznan, Aarhus and Sredets from Sofia

Two thorns in the side

The opportunity to exorcise two ghosts from the past was unique. On one hand, the final was played at the old Wankdorf Stadion in Berne, the same place where in 1961 Barça had lost the European Cup Final against Benfica in a final full of bad luck. On the other hand it was only three years after the traumatic defeat in the final of the European Cup in 1986, in Seville against Steaua Bucharest. So it was time for the exorcism. Captain Jose Ramon Alexanko was well aware of this, and he said just before the match: "I still remember lots of kids, with tears in their eyes, coming back from Seville. This will not happen here, it can’t happen; we’re going to win here, and the return trip will be the happiest for the last 10 years".

First Title in a winning cycle

Alexanko was right. 20,000 Barça fans in the stands at the Wankdorf stadium were euphoric. The game had started with clear tactical formats from both teams: a cautious 4-4-2 for Sampdoria and an innovative 3-1-3-3 for Barça. An early goal from Julio Salinas (4 minutes) upset all the plans, as it forced the Italians to attack more, but Barça were really calm and easily controlled the Sampdoria attack. Twelve minutes from the end, Lopez Rekarte scored the second and decisive goal.

These were the Berne heroes: Zubizarreta, Aloisio, Alexanko, Milla (Soler, 59 minutes), Urbano, Amor, Lineker, Eusebio, Julio Salinas, Roberto. and Begiristain (Lopez Rekarte, 73 minutes). Barca, with this title, initiated the glorious era of the Dream Team, a team that won four straight League titles, and the European Cup at Wembley in 92.

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