An awkward, sclaffed muddle of an equaliser from Neil Simpson suddenly turned things on their head. The perfect Scottish answer to the brilliant skill of the Germans. It not only brought the scores level, but coming as it did on the verge of half-time, ensured that the Pittodrie crowd roared the team off the park at the interval and roared them back on for the second half.
The anticipation (and noise) levels as the second half kicked off mirrored that of the first half, but yet again the Germans nonchalantly plucked a piece of skill out of the top drawer (a Pflugler volley) which put the Dons behind and killed the crowd stone dead yet again. With a whole half hour yet to be played the Dons needed to score twice and keep the impressive Germans out.
Many in the crowd could be forgiven for consoling themselves with the thought that they had witnessed a couple of top drawer goals, seen the Dons put up a spirited performance and everything would be back to normal tomorrow morning. Back in our rightful place as a plucky Scottish side who just couldn't quite cut it with the real teams in Europe (and doesn't Rummenigge look a lot taller in real life than he does on the telly?).
The history books (and the old worn out videos) faithfully tell the story of what happened on the pitch during the final fifteen minutes of the match. Dummy freekick routine, Strachan wheels, curls it in and McLeish scores. Sixty seconds later a piece of pure McMaster precision engineering picks out Eric Black hanging in the air, Muller parries and Hewitt finishes. The facts are well known, but only those long suffering souls packed into Pittodrie that night know what it was really like. The term 'emotional rollercoaster' is woefully inadequate and doesn't even begin to describe the pleasure and pain, then pleasure again of that night. The phrase 'you had to be there' was coined specifically for the evening of 16th March 1983.
To be level again at 2-2 meant that the Dons had to find one more goal. The roar that greeted the equaliser was accompanied by the sound of 24,000 loins being girded (even the ladies) in readiness for the make or break supporting job to be done. Popping in the winner so soon after, simply meant that the noise level which had reached new Pittodrie heights one minute previously, just cranked itself up a notch or several. This was the definitive 'hug a complete stranger four rows in front' moment.
Forget Gothenburg (a foregone conclusion), forget a pools or lottery win, forget the birth of a first child. If you saw the Dons come back from the dead and knock Bayern Munich out of the Cup Winners Cup, then your life is complete.