Bologna met First Vienna at home in the first leg of the semi-final on 10th July. The match was evenly contested with the returning Baldi and Schiavio not at their best. The Rossoblu defenders had a great game before Sansone scored in one of Bologna’s few counterattacks. In the second half, Maini struck to earn a surprise 2-0 win for the Italian side. On the 17th July on a sodden pitch in Vienna, the home side could have taken an early lead but Blum missed a penalty given for a foul by Monzeglio. After a quarter of an hour, the Austrians took the lead with a quickly taken free kick. Bologna were still arranging their wall when the ball was crossed and Schönwetter scored with a header. The rest was defence and counterattack but Bologna’s wall wasn’t breached again and the 1-0 loss earned them a place in the final.
But what of the final? In the other half of the draw, Juventus faced Slavia Prague in the semi-final and things quickly went downhill. Fans invaded the pitch, refereeing decisions were contested and players were pelted with projectiles. In the return leg, the Czechoslovak team left the pitch after their goalkeeper was floored by something hurled from the crowd. Faced with such an extreme situation, the organisation Committee met in Klagenfurt and took the surprising decision to punish both sides. The final would not be played and Bologna were declared the champions. The next meeting dismissed the appeal of Slavia and confirmed that the Rossoblu were the Central European International Cup winners for the 1931/32 season. It was the first time an Italian club had won an international tournament.
17th July 1932, semi-final, second leg
Vienna, Hohe Warte Stadion
FIRST VIENNA-BOLOGNA 1-0
FIRST VIENNA: Horezchowsky; Rainer, Blum; Kaller, Hoffmann, Schmaus; Brosenbauer, Adelbrecht, Gschweidl, Tögel, Schönwetter.
BOLOGNA: Gianni; Monzeglio, Gasperi; Montesanto, Baldi, Martelli; Maini, Sansone, Schiavio, Fedullo, Reguzzoni.
GOALSCORER: 16′ pen. Schonwetter
Bologna took to the field in Vienna with a returning Sansone leading the line, although this time Schiavio did not take part and was instead replaced by Spivach. The Friuli-born striker had just signed from Padova and made an excellent start to his Bologna career with the opening goal in the Austrian capital. Reguzzoni added a second and Bologna seemed to be heading towards a routine win but their opponents came out fighting after the break. Gianni saved a penalty but then had to pick the ball out of his net three times as the Austrians ran out 3-2 winners to the utter delirium of the 50,000-strong crowd.
Just four days later, on the 9th September, the two teams met at the Stadio Littoriale. Vogl cancelled out Maini’s opening goal but then Carletto Reguzzoni – supported by a returning Schiavio – scored a quick-fire hat-trick before Fedullo found the back of the net from centre forward. The 5-1 final score line reflected a totally dominant performance from the Rossoblu and this was underlined by the comments of the great Hugo Meisl. The architect of the Austrian Wunderteam said, “Even with 12, Admira wouldn’t have won it…”. On the pitch, Bologna had won their second Central European International Cup and remained the only Italian club side to win an international competition.
9th September 1934: Central European International Cup final, second leg
Bologna, Stadio Littoriale
BOLOGNA-ADMIRA VIENNA 5-1
BOLOGNA: Gianni, Monzeglio, Gasperi, Montesanto, Donati, Corsi, Maini, Sansone, Schiavio, Fedullo, Reguzzoni. Coach: Kovacs.
ADMIRA: Platzer, Pavlicek, Janda, Urbanek, Homenberger, Mirsitschka, Vogl II, Durspekt, Stoiber, Hahnemann, Vogl I. Coach: Meisl.
REFEREE: Jewell (England)
GOALSCORERS: 21′ Maini (B), 32′ pen. Vogl I (A), 33′ Reguzzoni (B), 39′ Reguzzoni (B), 40′ Reguzzoni (B), 44′ Fedullo (B).
Having already secured their fourth Scudetto, Bologna were able to dedicate themselves to a European showcase. The insightful Dall’Ara was certainly on the right track when he reacquired the services of Schiavio as the Rossoblù were invited to the prestigious international football tournament organised for the international Expo in Paris. It was practically an early World Cup for the most prestigious clubs of the time. Bologna had their first game on 30th of May 1937 in Paris with an ad hoc attacking line-up as Weisz used Busoni as the spearhead of an attacking trident with Schiavio and Reguzzoni in behind. It was an explosive opening match as the side beat Sochaux 4-1. On the 3rd of June they beat Slavia Prague 2-0 with an authoritative display as Busoni scored both goals.
On the 6th of June, things came to a head at the Colombes Stadium against a much-fancied Chelsea side who played football in the school of the British masters and were the overwhelming favourites for the tournament. With three goals from Reguzzoni and another from the reliable Giovanni Busoni, Bologna won 4-1 and the game was practically over after 30 minutes. It was the highpoint for a team that commentators of the time regarded as perfect. The unbeatable Ceresoli was between the posts. The strong and elegant Fiorini combined with Gasperi’s positional sense made up a formidable defence along with the full-backs Montesanto and Corsi and the adventurous centre-half Andreolo. In attack, weaving runs from Sansone and Fedullo freed up the talented trio of Busoni, Schiavio and Reguzzoni to score the goals.
6th June 1937, Final
Paris, Colombes Stadium
BOLOGNA 4-1 CHELSEA
BOLOGNA: Ceresoli, Fiorini, Gasperi, Montesanto, Andreolo, Corsi, Busoni, Sansone, Schiavio, Fedullo, Reguzzoni. Head Coach: Weisz.
CHELSEA: Jackson, Barkas, Barber, Mitchell, Craig, Weaver, Spence, Argue, Bambrick, Gibson, Reid. Head Coach: Knigtin.
REFEREE: Lequerrq (France).
GOALSCORERS: 14′ Reguzzoni (B), 20′ Busoni (B), 30′ Reguzzoni (B), 72′ Reguzzoni (B), 78′ Weaver (C).
Bologna were up against familiar foes in the final of the Northern League. Genoa were their opponents having once again won the championship’s other division. On the 24th May 1925, Bologna’s Stadio Sterlino saw the start of a controversial and seemingly interminable contest to decide who would qualify to play Alba Roma for the Scudetto. The process would go on for five matches stretched out over the course of two-and-a-half months. The five-act epic was eventually decided at the “Forza e coraggio” ground in Vigentino on the outskirts of Milan, practically in open countryside. Playing in green, Bologna took the lead thanks to a Pozzi strike but then had to stand firm against wave after wave of relentless Genoa pressure before Perin doubled the advantage in the final minute: the tie finally had a winner. The match brought an end to Genoa’s period of dominance with the club from the port city destined to remain stuck on nine league championships, but it sparked the beginning of Bologna’s golden age.
Bologna still had a two-legged final to play in order to get their hands on the Scudetto. Alba Roma stood in the way after beating Anconitana to win the Southern League. In a roasting Stadio Sterlino, Felsner’s Rossoblù took control of the final with a 4-0 victory on the 16th August. The win was followed up seven days later with a 2-0 success in the capital thanks to goals from Della Valle and Giuseppe Rubini. For the first time in club history, Bologna were crowned champions of Italy.
23rd August 1925, Italian Championship Final, second leg
Rome, Stadio Nazionale
ALBA ROMA-BOLOGNA 0-2
ALBA ROMA: Zancanaro, Mattei, Corbjons, Rovida, Berti, Delle Fratte, Lo Prete, Scioscia, Degni, Schrott, Ziroli. Coach: Piselli.
BOLOGNA: Gianni, Gasperi, Borgato, Innocenti, Baldi, Martelli, Rubini, Perin, Della Valle, Schiavio, Muzzioli. Coach: Felsner.
REFEREE: Pinasco (Sestri Ponente).
GOALSCORERS: 25′ Della Valle, 80′ Rubini.
After a convincing victory in group B over Juventus, Bologna went through to the title play-off where they met a Torino side who had been equally impressive in winning the league’s other division. A 3-1 victory in the first leg of the final – played on the 23rd June at Bologna’s newly opened Stadio Littoriale – left the home side with the advantage heading into the away leg. A week later, Bologna travelled to Turin and looked to keep it tight at the back in order to secure the win but Rossoblù conceded to Libonatti’s scorcher and ended up losing the game 1-0. Because only the results of the games – not the aggregate scoreline – counted towards calculating a winner, the loss in Turin meant that a play-off had to be arranged in Rome. Thanks to special trains organised by the club, thousands of red and blue-clad supporters headed to the capital and they packed the stadium under the watchful eye of Benito Mussolini.
Bologna, playing in green, set about playing their trademark brand of quick, flowing football and Torino responded in kind with several high-quality moves of their own. The match started to become a physical encounter, however, as shown by referee Carraro’s decision to send off Pitto for an infringement. The match could have got away from Bologna at this point but a nasty coming together between Martelli and Janni, leaving both men unconscious, meant that the referee was forced to issue two more red cards. Felsner was forced to bring Busini back into defensive midfield and Torino looked to make their numerical advantage count but a fine Bologna display was capped off by a brilliant run from Schiavio who set up Muzzioli to score the winning goal. Nevertheless, there was still time for another close shave. With less than two minutes to go, Franzoni’s cross reached Baloncieri in the area. The Granata marksman darted between Monzeglio and Gasperi but could only shoot over the bar, much to the relief of the Rossoblù supporters. Back in Bologna, people spilled out onto the street as the news filtered through that their club were champions of Italy for a second time.
7th July 1929, Final, Play-Off
Rome, Stadio del Partito Nazionale Fascista
BOLOGNA: Gianni, Monzeglio, Gasperi, Genovesi, Baldi, Pitto, Martelli, Della Valle III, Schiavio, Busini III, Muzzioli. Coach: Felsner.
TORINO: Bosia, Monti III, Martin II, Martin III, Colombari, Janni, Vezzani, Baloncieri, Libonatti, Rossetti II, Franzoni. Coach: Cargnelli.
REFEREE: Carraro (Padua).
GOALSCORERS: 82′ Muzzioli.
Bologna’s third Scudetto – the first under President Dall’Ara – arrived on the 10th May 1936 with a 3-0 win over Triestina at the Stadio Littoriale. The win kept Weisz’s men one point ahead of Roma and two ahead of Torino meaning that Bologna won the title on home soil for the first time ever.
The season started with the return of prodigal son Fedullo and the arrival of Andreolo, a brilliant young centre half from overseas. The 23-year-old had shown that he had the substance of a champion from his first few touches at the Littoriale. Despite his small stature, he was invincible in the air thanks to his timing and a prodigious leap but his main asset was an innate ability to serve the ball on a plate for his colleagues with his long balls out from the back. Finally, Andreolo also possessed an explosive shot from dead-ball situations.
Bologna’s solidity was also founded on the performances of promising home-grown prospect Dino Fiorini who had incredibly managed to fill the boots of Monzeglio with ease after the latter had moved to Roma. Advanced fitness training and Weisz’s tactical nous contributed to a remarkable achievement from a squad of just 14. Bologna had a hard side who performed with formidable consistency.
The Rossoblu started the season well and stayed unbeaten until the end of December when they then became involved in a four-way battle with Roma and the two Turin clubs from January until May. After Juventus were beaten at the Littoriale on the 20th match day, Bologna’s only slip up during March came in a goalless draw against Sampierdarenese which allowed Torino to overtake us. Il Toro’s advantage didn’t last however, thanks to a Bologna win when the sides met on the 12th April. Reguzzoni and Maini were the scorers on that day, which saw Bologna take a lead at the top of the table that they would never relinquish. On the final day of the season, Bologna, Roma and Torino were all still in with a shout of the title. It was therefore vital to beat Triestina at home. Istvan Toth’s side had provided tough opposition earlier in the season and had restricted Bologna to just a point in the reverse fixture. Andreolo’s superb strike set the Rossoblu on their way after just a few minutes before an on-form Schiavio doubled Bologna’s advantage just after the interval and sent the thousands of watching fans into raptures. Rocco’s clumsy own goal put the icing on the cake mid-way through the second half. After a seven year wait, Bologna were once again champions of Italy.
10th May 1936, 30th match day
Bologna, Stadio Littoriale
BOLOGNA: Gianni, Fiorini, Gasperi, Montesanto, Andreolo, Corsi, Maini, Sansone, Schiavio, Fedullo, Reguzzoni. Coach: Weisz.
TRIESTINA: Tricarico, Geigerle, Loschi, Busidoni, Castello, Spanghero, Pasinati, Chizzo, Mian, Rocco, Colaussi. Coach: Toth.
REFEREE: Gianelli (Genoa).
GOALSCORERS: 11′ Andreolo, 47′ Schiavio, 64′ Rocco (OG)
The odd thing about the 1936/37 campaign was the extraordinary contrast between Bologna’s sparkling away form and their troubles at the Stadio Littoriale. For example, Bologna won six and drew one of their first seven away fixtures but their first six home games resulted in only one win, four draws and a loss to Torino. After beating Alessandria, Bari were the first side to cause problems for the Rossoblu at home as they earned a 2-2 draw thanks to a good performance from Violi who had left Bologna the year before after a season of playing second fiddle to Schiavio. The great striker himself had decided to take a break from the game because it clashed too much with his work and he was replaced by the eccentric, Livorno-born centre forward Busoni who was signed from Napoli.
Weisz had also acquired Ceresoli as a replacement for the evergreen Gianni and his side continued their season with a win away at Ambrosiana, a draw at Lucca and other successes in Genoa, Naples, Rome, Trieste, and later at Bari. With half the season gone, Bologna suffered their second defeat of the campaign when they lost at AC Milan thanks to a dubious penalty. Lazio led the field on 23 points followed by Bologna on 21 and Torino on 20. In the second half of the season, however, the Rossoblu performed when it mattered and beat Ambrosiana again, drew at home to Lazio to end the Biancocelesti’s nine-match winning run, drew 3-3 against Torino despite the absence of Ceresoli and Reguzzoni and secured goalless draws against Fiorentina and Juventus.
In the spring, football’s pull became too strong for Angiolino Schiavio and he started training again before returning to the side for the prestigious Paris Expo Tournament. Bologna’s consistency allowed them to keep ahead of the chasing pack and win their fouth Scudetto with two games to go on 2nd May 1937. Triestina were beaten 2-0 at the Stadio Littoriale thanks to an early goal from Reguzzoni who skipped past Geigerle and blasted home past the advancing Umer followed by a strike from Andreolo towards the end which sparked general jubilation in the stands. At the time, Bologna were certainly one of the strongest sides in Europe as they would go on to show at the Expo Tournament in France.
2nd May 1937, 28th match day
Bologna, Stadio Littoriale
BOLOGNA: Ceresoli, Fiorini, Pagotto, Montesanto, Andreolo, Corsi, Biavati, Sansone, Busoni, Fedullo, Reguzzoni. Coach: Weisz.
TRIESTINA: Umer, Geigerle, Loschi, Pasinati, Castello, Spanghero, Mian, Chizzo, Busidoni, Costa, Baldi. Coach: Konrad.
REFEREE: Moretti (Genoa).
GOALSCORERS: 9′ Reguzzoni, 84′ Andreolo.
Weisz asked for a real response following the difficulties of the previous season. The key new arrival was midfielder Aurelio Marchese from Sanremo. The Uruguayan-born Hector Puricelli Seña was another important signing as the physical and cheerful player fuelled hope that the side once again had a top centre-forward. It’s not enough to simply say that he was brilliant in the air; nine of his 19 goals during the season came with his head with Biavati delivering lethal crosses which the forward would reach a fraction of a second before the defender thanks to his deadly timing. The Rossoblu got off to a great start as they won away at Genoa before beating Bari in a goal fest. The uncertainty surrounding coach Arpad Weisz probably weighed on the team’s mind as they struggled for consistency and suffered some bad defeats. On 27th October 1938, the great coach left the scene as he fled to France and his family’s tragic journey towards the concentration camp sadly began. At that point, Dall’Ara contacted his old friend Hermann Felsner who was more than happy to leave Milan and come back to more familiar territory.
Liguria, after a great start, proved to be a bit of a flash in the pan. Bologna got right on their tail and put together a 19-match unbeaten run which only came to a halt when Juventus beat the Rossoblu 1-0 in Turin with Puricelli absent and the only goal coming from a mysterious and controversial scramble. After the first half of the season, Bologna were winter champions along with the Ligurians and quickly left them behind after a draw in Puglia. Out ahead of the chasing pack, the Rossoblu saw off challenges from Ambrosiana and Torino and, thanks to an amazing strike from topscorer Puricelli, Bologna became champions of Italy for the fifth time on 30th April 1939 with a win over Roma in Testaccio even though there were still two games to go in the championship.
30th April 1939, 28th match day
Roma, Campo Testaccio
ROMA: Masetti, Asin, Gadaldi, De Grassi, Donati, Fusco, Borsetti, Serantoni, Michelini, Coscia, Alghisi. Coach: Ara.
BOLOGNA: Ferrari, Pagotto, Ricci, Maini, Andreolo, Corsi, Biavati, Sansone, Puricelli, Fedullo, Reguzzoni. Coach: Felsner.
REFEREE: Barlassina (Novara).
GOALSCORERS: 47′ Puricelli.
Bologna won their sixth Italian title on 27th April 1941 having cruelly lost out the previous year on the final day. Felsner’s “big team” withstood fitness problems towards the end of the season and clung on to the first place they had secured on just the 6th match day. They held off Ambrosiana-Inter’s efforts and, with one round to go, they celebrated in Trieste. The goalless draw at the Stadio Littorio was enough because Ambrosiana lost 2-0 to Torino and Fiorentina succumbed 4-1 to Lazio. Bologna therefore won their sixth Scudetto – and a fourth in six seasons – to confirm an aura of invincibility backed up by the numbers: 92 wins in 180 games over the period, 287 goals scored and only 172 conceded. At home, the Rossoblu were truly unbeatable: their previous home defeat was in 1938 making it a veritably unsurpassable golden period.
Felsner’s greatest achievement was above all in attack as he alternated the old warrior Giovanni Ferrari (already a five-time Scudetto winner with Juve and Ambrosiana) and the tireless Andreoli as partners of Sansone. In addition, he coupled Biavati’s skill with the power of Puricelli, a specialist in the air (12 goals out of 22 with his head) but always able on the floor as well. This was supplemented by the speed of Reguzzoni who was unstoppable in front of goal. In defence, Pagottosi split his time between helping Fiorini and taking some of the work off of old Maini on the right whilst Marchese proved his solidity on the left.
The Rossoblu’s start was quite slow in the strange climate of a country at war but straining to cling on to normality, but after six matches, Bologna overtook Fiorentina and assumed the rhythm of champions. Juventus and Ambrosiana-Inter were on the Rossoblu’s tail and Bologna were winter champions after the first half of the season but only two points ahead of the Nerazzurri and only four in front of the Old Lady. In March and February, however, Bologna gapped their rivals. Andreolo was injured out and was replaced by the less extravagantly talented Boniforti but the Rossoblu’s 5-0 win over Ambrosiana on 30th March practically ended the contest.
27th April 1941, 29th match day
Trieste, Stadio Littorio
TRIESTINA: Striuli, Simontacchi, Scapin, Salar, Rancilio, Grezar, Tosolini, De Filippis, Cergoli, Trevisan, Tagliasacchi. Coach: Villini.
BOLOGNA: Vanz, Fiorini, Pagotto, Montesanto, Boniforti, Marchese, Biavati, Sansone, Sdraulig, Andreoli, Reguzzoni. Coach: Felsner.
REFEREE: Pizziolo (Florence).
“It was on Sunday 7th June 1964 that Bologna took to the field in Rome for a play-off against Inter Milan. The prize? The Scudetto. Editor Giovanni Spadolini, despite being a complete football novice (he thought that matches unfolded in three “acts”), had understood the enormous popularity of the event and had mobilised all of the journalists at the Carlino paper: “You”, he had told me, “will cover the city.”
And so it was that, at 17:00 on the dot as the radio (not TV) commentary began, I took to the streets and slowly patrolled the town centre. The city was empty, literally without a soul in sight. It would be too easy to draw a parallel with science-fiction movies where the protagonist wanders the deserted but intact streets and sees empty, open windows in the midst of a crushing silence. In such a film, the only sound to be heard would be a humming noise. It would be difficult to tell what it was, but there would be no doubting its effect.
This strange, metallic humming noise could also be heard on the empty and silent streets of Bologna. It was the tens of thousands of radio sets in people’s living rooms, in bars, and in wine cellars where people were sheltering from the heat. One couldn’t see the people but one could imagine them; friends, relatives, neighbours all united in facing ninety minutes of anguish. Anguish is a strong word but I cannot find any others. It wasn’t just a season coming to an end but a tumultuous and ridiculous story containing all the emotions, drama, pain, even death (of an old man on the terraces), that normally only concern the most important things in life.
I wanted Bologna to win even more than normal because they had been falsely accused of doping. Then the truth had come out and it was therefore logical to expect to “get our just desserts”. Everyone was glued to the radio, even people who had to ask which team Suarez played for when the commentator shouted that he had entered the box.
If Bologna were the heroes of the story, Inter weren’t exactly the villains. But they weren’t very sympathetic either. Many people remembered that Inter had rejected staying in the same hotel as Onassis and Soraya when they went to Vienna because it wasn’t fancy enough. Also, during the press conference with Austrian journalists, the waiters had gone around with watches and other expensive gifts instead of food and drink. Finally, the directors had said to the journalists, “If we win, come with us to Rio De Janeiro and we’ll pay for everything”. The Bolognese had commented, “Millionaires they may be, but gentlemen they’re certainly not”.
The first 45 minutes went by slowly. I stopped in a side street and sat down on a bench. During half time, windows and balconies filled up with men and women in their vests. They shook their heads and had a little chat or else stayed quiet with their elbows resting on the ironwork. After a quarter of an hour, everyone disappeared as if ordered by a whistle. The commentary struck up once more on the radio, speaking about the teams’ formations and about chances missed by a whisker. Everyone began to build up their own mental image as the commentator described the match, perhaps making it more exciting than a game on television.
Suddenly, something indescribable happened. There was an inhuman yell that had never been heard before. We’re used to the roar of a stadium not the roar of a city. It wasn’t just that Bologna had scored. It was that the story had come to the beginning of the end and it was ending as we all wished it would. It was a fairytale that had everything: David and Goliath; truth and lies; and innocence that triumphed. After a few more minutes, another almighty roar greeted the city at the final whistle and, almost instantaneously, a mass of humanity spilled out onto the streets: the very young and the very old, the rich and the poor, the beautiful and the ugly. I saw thousands of faces and I’m still surprised to think that each one of them had contributed to that surreal sound.
After a few minutes, you couldn’t even move in the streets and I realised with dismay that one had to go all the way back to the end of the war, a completely different event, to find a similar spectacle. But then I thought that even the most modest of things can become respectable if they succeed in creating so much joy. It was right that there were also days for these flags, for these tears, for these candid emotions. I got out of the car and hugged a passerby.”
“L’urlo della città”, by Luca Goldoni
7th June 1964, play-off
Rome, Stadio Olimpico
BOLOGNA-INTER MILAN 2-0
BOLOGNA: Negri, Furlanis, Pavinato, Tumburus, Janich, Fogli, Perani, Bulgarelli, Nielsen, Haller, Capra. Coach: Bernardini.
INTER MILAN: Sarti, Burgnich, Facchetti, Tagnin, Guarneri, Picchi, Jair, Mazzola, Milani, Suarez, Corso. Coach: Herrera.
REFEREE: Lo Bello, Siracusa.
GOALSCORERS: 75′ Fogli, 83′ Nielsen.
BOOKINGS: Bulgarelli for foul play, Fogli for dissent.
At the halfway point of the 1969/70 season, Bologna found themselves eleventh in the table and coach Fabbri decided to concentrate his resources on the Coppa Italia having already qualified with maximum points from a group stage with neighbours Reggiana, Cesena and Modena. A quarter-final meeting with Juventus finished goalless after two matches so a play-off was arranged with Como’s stadium serving as a neutral venue. The ever-reliable Perani eventually scored to win the tie for the Rossoblù with a few minutes to go.
The unusual format of the 1969/70 season meant that the trophy would be awarded to the club that came out on top in a final group stage featuring four teams with home and away fixtures to be played against each side. This was played when the Italy national team had already left to take part in the World Cup in Mexico but Bologna, for the first time in history, didn’t contribute a single squad member to the Azzurri thanks to the self-destructive refusal to take Bulgarelli. The Rossoblù overcame a Cagliari side that had just won Serie A with a stunning 4-0 victory away in Sardinia and also beat Serie B winners Varese to set up a winner-takes-all showdown with Torino at the Stadio Comunale. A draw would have been enough for Il Toro whereas Bologna needed a win to take home the cup. Sure enough, Bologna stormed to victory thanks to an extraordinary brace from Savoldi during the first half which was enough to put his side to the top of the standings. With nine points at the end of the “final”, Bologna won their first Coppa Italia on the 10th June 1970. It was the club’s first trophy since winning the Serie A title in 1964.
Coppa Italia, final group stage, 6th match day
Bologna, Stadio Comunale
BOLOGNA: Adani, Roversi, Ardizzon, Cresci, Janich, Turra, Perani, Bulgarelli, Pace, Scala, Savoldi. Coach: Fabbri.
TORINO: Sattolo, Lombardo, Fossati, Depetrini, Bolchi (55′ Pavone), Agroppi, Carelli, Ferrini, Sala, Moschino, Pulici. Coach: Cadè.
REFEREE: D’Agostini, Roma.
GOALSCORERS: 30′ Savoldi, 40′ Savoldi.
Bologna’s long journey to the final in Rome started in the elimination group stage in August which the Rossoblu got through but not without difficulty. The side had enough to beat Genoa and Avellino but then lost away to Napoli meaning that they needed a point at Reggio Emilia to see them through. In the final group stage, the Rossoblu were drawn in a “Lombardy league” with AC Milan, Internazionale and Atalanta. With the club entrenched in mid-table, Pesaola and his players realised that the Coppa Italia represented a great opportunity to win a trophy, especially as both Milan clubs were slightly distracted and several of their star players had their eyes on the 1974 World Cup in West Germany. The Rossoblu therefore stamped their authority on the group and went through without too much trouble. At the final at the Stadio Olimpico, Corrado Viciani’s surprise-package Palermo – in Serie B at the time – were waiting for the Rossoblu having shocked Juventus among others on their way to the final.
The final was scheduled for 23rd May 1974, four days after the end of the league season. Confident and skilful, the Rosanero had Bologna on the ropes right from the first whistle with Magistrelli putting the islanders in front with a header from Favalli’s cross. Palermo went close to doubling their lead several times through Vanello and then Barbana after half-time. Sergio Buso had had a great season between the sticks for the Rossoblu and had justified Petisso’s decision to choose him ahead of the faded Battara. He proved his worth once again as he kept Bologna within a goal of the Sicily club with at least three top saves including a brilliant stop from Magistrelli on the hour mark. Palermo almost had their hands on the cup, but they didn’t reckon with Beppe Savoldi who earned a throw-in with seconds to go and took it quickly to find Giacomo Bulgarelli with his back to goal inside the area. Ignazio Arcoleo went in from behind and upended Bulgarelli which convinced referee Gonella to award a penalty. In the final minute of normal time, Savoldi beat Girardi from the spot and Bologna were back in it right at the death.
The Sicilians continued to press in extra time whilst Roversi and his fellow defenders did everything to stop them. No further goals were scored so the final went to penalties. The Palermo ‘keeper moved off his line for the first penalty which Bulgarelli missed so the referee ordered a retake. The captain didn’t miss a second time. Girardi then outfoxed Cresci but not Savoldi. Palermo scored their first three penalties so the teams arrived at the fourth with the score at 3-2 to Palermo. Adriano Novellini scored but nerves got the better of Totò Vullo whose effort went miles over the top. Bologna’s fifth kick was calmly converted by Eraldo Pecci. The fifth man to step up for the Rosanero was ex-Juventus winger Erminio Favalli but his spot kick crashed back off the bar and gave the Rossoblu their second Coppa Italia as Bologna President Luciano Conti celebrated wildly along with the rest of the red and blue half of the Stadio Olimpico.
23rd May 1974, Final
Rome, Stadio Olimpico
*Bologna win 4-3 on penalties
BOLOGNA: Buso, Roversi, Rimbano (76′ Pecci), Battisodo, Cresci, Gregori (46′ Novellini), Ghetti, Bulgarelli, Savoldi, Vieri, Landini. Coach: Pesaola.
PALERMO: Girardi, Zanin, Cerantola, Arcoleo, Pighin, Barlassina, Favalli, Ballabio (61′ Vullo), Magistrelli, Vanello, La Rosa (46′ Barbana). Coach: Viciani.
REFEREE: Gonella (Asti).
GOALSCORERS: 32′ Magistrelli (P), 90′ pen. Savoldi (B).
RED CARDS: Vieri (B).
PENALTY SHOOTOUT: Bulgarelli goal, Vanello goal, Cresci saved, Magistrelli goal, Savoldi goal, Barbana goal, Novellini goal, Vullo missed, Pecci goal, Favalli missed.
Bologna’s first post-war international trophy won came on 4th April 1962 when Bernardini’s side claimed the new Mitropa Cup at the Stadio Comunale. The trophy was a descendant of the dear old Central European Cup. After getting past Sampdoria, Spartak Stalingrad (Bohemians) and FK Austria Wien during the group stage in the summer, the Rossoblu found themselves in a two-legged semi-final in the summer of 1961 against SK Kladno which they won 3-1 on aggregate. Bologna then progressed to the final against Czechoslovakian side Slovan Nitra. The first leg away in Slovakia ended in a 2-2 draw in the shadow of Mount Zobor. Nielsen scored from the penalty spot and Perani also found the net. Late afternoon in the afternoon on Wednesday in early spring, the Rossoblu added the trophy to their collection with a straightforward 3-0 victory. It was the club’s first piece of continental silverware since the Paris Exhibition Trophy of 1937.
Let’s relive the game from the perspective of Giulio C. Turrini who was published in ‘Stadio’ the following day:
The defeat to Inter, the incomplete Bologna side, the less than illustrious opposition, the fixture on a working day, the rain. All of this prevented the final chapter of the Mitropa Cup from being the occasion one would have hoped for. The only people there were those who were crazy for the old Bologna. Many of them must have been there 30 years ago for the Central European Cup fixtures of 1932 and 1934, sunning themselves as they saw their ‘lions’ against Admira, Ferencvaros and the other greats of central European football so the scepticism surrounding the opponent and other issues did not bother these fans. When Pavinato ran towards those in the stands with the old silver trophy bearing the names of past winners, he was met with sincere applause. Any minor criticisms were irrelevant at that point. Bologna had started the competition the previous summer and they had faced other Italian sides and some of the most prestigious opponents from Vienna and Bohemia. For many reasons, they were able to go through the tournament with a side that had been rotated a lot. They won the tournament. They deserved credit for this proud moment in the season. Slovan Nitra certainly showed their technical limitations on the international stage and this had already been noted in the first leg. The Slovak side was limited to organised and resolute defending with Gyurek dropping back from midfield and counting on Nielsen and Kisy while the central midfielder Starnik was left free. It was ‘half a system’ which did in fact manage to hinder the Rossoblu attack for some time.
Yet, it was evident that Bologna would get through sooner or later. When Demarco scored the opener, Slovan opened up in search of an equaliser which seemed more improbable than ever. It therefore became easy for Bologna to seal the result. Bernardini sent out a team with some regular starters. Four players (Santarelli, Capra, Janich and Bulgarelli) were injured even if the first three were hoping to be back in time for Sunday. Franzini was tied and they couldn’t ask Cervellatti to play three games in seven days. Bernardini was ready for this kind of match and the goalkeeper Cimpiele was chosen to start. The coach knew that the opposition could challenge Bologna right up until the end. The side that was put out turned out to be strong enough in the end. Bologna were able to dominate the entire match and attacks on Paolo Cimpiele’s goal were very rare.
4th April 1962, Final, second leg.
Bologna, Stadio Comunale
BOLOGNA: Cimpiel, Lorenzini, Pavinato, Tumburus, Taverna, Fogli, Perani, Rossini, Nielsen, Demarco, Pascutti. Coach: Bernardini.
NITRA: Paduch, Istok, Putera, Konik, Stanik, Kisy, Dinga, Pucher, Bachraty, Gyurek, Hrncar. Coach: Bucko.
REFEREE: Zecevic (Yugoslavia).
GOALSCORERS: 21′ Demarco, 46′ Pascutti, 54′ Nielsen.
At the time, Manchester City were one of the strongest sides around. The ‘Citizens’ had won the First Division in 1968, the FA Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1969, the League Cup in 1970 and two Charity Shields in 1968 & 1972. It was an era of greats in Manchester with United boasting Bobby Charlton and City’s side including several internationals including Joe Corrigan, Colin Bell, wonder-winger Francis Lee, Mike Summerbee and last-but-not-least Tony Book, the ‘Maine Man’ and iconic captain of the side.
But, having been boosted by a 1-0 success at home in the first leg (with a goal from Rizzo), it wasn’t beyond a determined Bologna to overcome the English side despite the unfavourable pre-match predictions. Mondino Fabbri knew very well that the Rossoblu were heading into a battle in the atmospheric surroundings of Maine Road, Manchester City’s proud and noisy fortress. Already deprived of Bulgarelli, the Rossoblu lost Adani and Vastola in the build-up through illness and a muscle injury. There was a chance of glory therefore for Vavassori and Pace who became nothing less than the heroes of this cup triumph. The goalkeeper saved the unsaveable and erected a metaphorical wall in front of the waves of sky-blue attack. The Pescara-born talent made the difference as he assisted both of the Rossoblu’s goals which proved enough to take the prestigious Anglo-Italian Cup back to the Stadio Comunale.
23rd September 1970, Final, second leg
Manchester, Maine Road
MANCHESTER CITY-BOLOGNA 2-2
MANCHESTER CITY: Corrigan, Book, Pardoe, Doyle, Helsop, Oakes, Hill, Bell, Lee, Towers, Young. Coach: Allison.
BOLOGNA: Vavassori, Prini, Ardizzon, Cresci, Janich, Gregori, Perani, Rizzo, Savoldi, Liguori, Pace. Coach: Fabbri.
REFEREE: Angonese (Mestre).
GOALSCORERS: 16′ Perani (B), 25′ Lee (M), 73′ Savoldi (B), 75′ Helsop (M).
The disappointment of Baggio’s departure made way for the start of a busy new season with a large number of fixtures. An eighth-place finish allowed Bologna to participate in the Intertoto Cup, the international competition held over the summer which offered both a trophy and the chance to qualify for the UEFA Cup in September. However, it started extremely early – in the middle of July – with Bologna entering at the third round in a straight knockout competition.
While president Gazzoni was conducting negotiations in an attempt to bring Beppe Signori to the Rossoblu as a replacement for Baggio, Mazzone’s side beat National Bucarest after a gruelling second half in Romania. Marocchi had been sent off and the side wasn’t at peak fitness. The semi-final was played in August against Spalletti’s Sampdoria and a goal from former Bologna man Palmieri made things difficult but Kolyanov scored in the 90th minute at the Dall’Ara with a memorable bicycle kick in front of the Curva to round off a 3-1 win after two goals from Andersson. The Rossoblu were made to struggle at the Marassi, but the aggregate lead was protected and they progressed to the final against the tenacious Polish side Ruch Chorzow.
In the meantime, Beppe Signori completed his personal fitness programme and he was back to join Mazzone’s side for the final over two legs. A Kolyvanov free kick in the first leg was enough for Bologna while the second leg was won in a match of great substance as Ingesson, Magoni and Cappioli controlled the play and preserved their grip on the trophy. A penalty from the Russian halfway through gave Bologna the lead before ‘Beppegol’ finished matters in the final minute on the counterattack. 28 years after the Anglo-Italian League Cup win, the Rossoblu had won another European trophy on 25th August 1998.
25th August 1998, Final, second-leg
Chorzow, Stadion Ruchu
RUCH CHORZOW-BOLOGNA 0-2
RUCH CHORZOW: Lech, Nawrocki, Wlecialowski, Bartos, Molek, Kwieczinski, Pietruszka (70′ Jikie), Mizia, Surma, Srutwa (83′ Gorawski), Bizacki (83′ Siemianowski). Coach: Lenczyk.
BOLOGNA: Antonioli, Boselli, Paganin, Mangone, Magoni, Ingesson, Cappioli (73′ Rinaldi), Paramatti, Nervo (83′ Eriberto), Kolyvanov, Fontolan (72′ Signori). Coach: Mazzone.
REFEREE: Colombo (France)
GOALSCORERS: 60′ pen. Kolyvanov, 89′ Signori.