European club football was very different back in 1975 when English champions Derby County found themselves in Borussia Dortmund's position with a 4-1 first-leg lead to defend against Real Madrid in the European Cup.
Derby had shocked the Spanish champions at the cramped Baseball Ground, Charlie George hitting a hat-trick as a team containing the German duo of Paul Breitner and Günter Netzer, and the current Spain coach Vicente del Bosque were humbled.
For the second leg 120,000 Real supporters packed the Bernabeu to see if Dave Mackay's side could hold on to their advantage. Archie Gemmill was in Derby's midfield that night and recalls how they were eight minutes from going through to the quarter-finals before a Real penalty made the score 4-1 and took the tie to extra time.
"It was unbelievable for the mighty Madrid to come to a little town like Derby and go back with a 4-1 beating," says Gemmill (below). "Our preparation [for the second leg] was not quite as professional as it would be today.
"We arrived two days before the game and we had time to do some sightseeing. It would be more professional now. There would be no walking around the city for hours; you would be resting up in the hotel getting a massage."
Derby conceded after just three minutes but made it to half-time just 1-0 down. "Our keeper, Colin Boulton, made some good saves and we thought we had weathered the storm but they got two more after the break. I just remember the noise. We used to get about 33,000 into the old Baseball Ground and it was a cauldron but this was that multiplied by three."
George scored an away goal for Derby just past the hour to put them back in front on aggregate but in the 82nd minute Real forced extra time with a controversial penalty. "It was a blatant dive" says Gemmill. "There was no contact. But they could say that the decisions went our way in the first leg with one of the two penalties we were awarded.
"At the start of extra time we looked across at them and they looked stronger. The fifth goal came and we still had chances but it wasn't to be. There was no shirt swapping. In that situation you are so gutted that you just want to get into the dressing room and start feeling sorry for yourself."
Gemmill believes the away goal means Dortmund could share Derby's fate tonight. How would the Rams and Nottingham Forest (with whom he won the European Cup in 1979) fare in today's Champions League? "We had some very gifted players and a togetherness – we would more than hold our own."Reuse content