QPR (3) – FC Cologne (0) – ‘Bowles Slams European Best’

UEFA Cup 3rd Round 1st Leg

Team: Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Hollins, McLintock, Webb, Thomas, Leach, Masson, Bowles, Givens

Attendance: 21,143

After disposing of Brann Bergen and Slovan Bratislava in earlier rounds, the R’s then took on FC Cologne at Loftus Road on 24th November 1976. David Miller’s match report appeared the next day:

‘Stan Bowles, kicked almost inside out for 75 minutes, scored a glorious third goal to crown this vibrant UEFA Cup 1st leg victory last night.

The shot, the skill which preceded it for an hour and the restrained temperament confirmed Bowles’ international calibre.

And it also established a new ten-goal European record for a British player in a single season…beating the previous best by Dennis Viollet and Denis Law.

Don Revie watched Rangers give English soccer a welcome facelift with a display of skill and intelligence – courtesy partly of veteran Scot Frank McLintock and Irishman Don Givens.

Not even Shepherd’s Bush during the past two seasons has seen three finer goals than those which should now put Rangers sole survivors – safely into the last eight.

It was McLintock – who has assisted so many vital goals in the evening of a notable career -who helped crack Cologne…they defended fiercely for 45 minutes with nine men.

Twice in three minutes shortly before half-time, McLintock laid on the chance for first Givens and then Webb to score with a header and a hooked shot of equal flamboyance.

It had begun to look as if Rangers’ bid for European glory would die in a welter of frustration and flying tackles.

Harald Konopka and Wolfgang Weber stuck to Bowles and Givens like glue…never more than half a stride away, Konopka repeatedly cut Bowles’ feet away. Heinz Flohe and Bernhard Cullman, sweeper in front of the back-four, were booked for fouls on Bowles.

The first goal came as McLintock’s swerving, dipping cross right to left across the penalty area, found Givens diving headlong at the end of a blind-side run to meet the ball with tremendous power, never mind bravery.

Keeper Harald Schumacher somehow parried the ball, but it spun up and over him, dropping beyond the line before he could grab it.

Three minutes later, the second of consecutive, wickedly in-swinging corners by Dave Thomas, found McLintock’s head ten yards out on the far post.

He knocked the ball down and there, of all people was Dave Webb almost lying on the ground, to hook the ball past Schumacher with the style of Gerd Muller.

But it was the new Muller, Dieter, who almost turned the game for Cologne in the second-half. Twice Phil Parkes only just managed to smother Muller when it seemed he must score.

Cologne, for half-an-hour in the second-half, showed just what Rangers can expect in a fortnight’s time.

Yet what should prove to be the decisive goal came with a quarter-of-an-hour to go. Dave Clement, attacking as so often down the right, fed Don Masson, who slipped the ball first-time wide to Stan Bowles.

With superb timing, Bowles gave Konopka the slip, realised the angle was too acute, and came inside Roland Gerber with equal ease before thrashing the ball home.

Manager Dave Sexton said afterwards: “That should give us enough in the bank for the second-leg. I thought Cologne controlled the game rather better than we did in the second-half, and they are a dangerous side coming forward.”

“But at home they will still have to watch out for us, just as we did for them today.”

The Supporters Club arranged four different tours for the second-leg:

(a) Boat Tour One: £19.75 – Depart 6th December 20.00, proposed arrival in Cologne 11.30. Depart for Zeebrugge after the match and arrival at Loftus Road set for 13.45.

(b) Boat Tour Two: £31.00 – Depart Loftus Road 20.00, proposed arrival in Cologne 11.30. Transfer to the hotel after the match. Depart hotel at 9.00 and arrival at Loftus Road scheduled for 22.45.

(c) Air Tour One: £46.00 – Depart Gatwick 09.30. Arrive Koln/Bonn 11.40 local time. Set off for the airport after the match with a scheduled 01.00 arrival at Gatwick.

(d) Air Tour Two: £57.00 – Depart Gatwick 10.30. Arrive Koln/Bonn 12.40 local time. Transfer back to hotel after the match. Set off from the hotel the following day at 13.00. Arrive at Gatwick at 17.00.

Steve Russell