Bayern Munich 1 (Muller 83) – Chelsea 1 (Drogba 88) – Scores tied after ET
Penalty Shootout –
Lahm (Bayern) – Scores 1-0
Mata (Chelsea) – Saved 1-0
Gomez (Bayern) – Scores 2-0
Luiz (Chelsea) – Scores 2-1
Neuer (Bayern) – Scores 3-1
Lampard (Chelsea) – Scores 3-2
Olic (Bayern) – Saved 3-2
Cole (Chelsea) – Scores 3-3
Schweinsteiger (Bayern) – Saved 3-3
Drogba (Chelsea) – Scored 3-4
Come to think of it, in the end, it was probably in Chelsea’s destiny to win the Champions League this season. After getting past hurdles such as Napoli, Benfica and Barcelona, all of them hard-earned wins, it took another full-blooded performance from the Blues to conquer Europe.
Roman Abrahmovic has finally laid hands on the one trophy he so long wanted. Nearly a decade after pumping in millions of pounds into Chelsea, and a dozen managers later, it was Roberto di Matteo who delivered the Russian his gift, after a close match at the Allianz Arena, in Munich.
However, it is back to the drawing board for Bayern Munich’s young talented squad. With players like Badstuber, Alaba, Lahm, Muller, Kroos, Schweinsteiger, it ended in heartbreak. And the pain will be even more bitter for Arjen Robben, formerly of Chelsea, who missed the most crucial of penalties.
Both sides, keen on putting their final dissapointments of 2008 and 2010 behind them, came into this game with a host of suspensions. Chelsea were without the quartet of Terry, Ivanovic, Ramires and Meireles, and Bayern without Gustavo, Badstuber and Alaba. Gary Cahill and David Luiz passed late fitness tests and were named in the centre of defence, and there was also place for Ryan Bertrand in midfield. Bayern ployed the experienced Ukrainian Anatoliy Tymoschuk at the back, with Diego Contento at left-back. In midfield, the German trio of Schweinsteiger, Kroos and Muller started as expected, with Ribery, Robben and Gomez upfront.
In a first half, almost entirely played in Chelsea’s half, it was Bayern who would rue the numerous opportunities they missed and the many patient buildups they squandered. Chelsea’s resolute defending, and well organised backline, ably supported by Bertrand and Mikel in defensive midfield, was serving them well.
Petr Cech made a fine save with his legs from Robben, and the wasteful Gomez skied a shot, despite being in a good position, and working a fine turn. Chelsea’s only real chance to Salomon Kalou, who found some space on the right, but Manuel Neuer saved. In contrast to Chelsea’s meagre 2 shots on target, Bayern had recorded 13, but yet the scores were untroubled.
Bayern continued to pound Chelsea with some good patient buildups. Frank Ribery had a stinging shot cleared by David Luiz, while Ashley Cole made several clearances. Ribery then thought he had scored, only for the referee’s assistant to rule it out as offside. Didier Drogba had a great chance to score for Chelsea, when Neuer mishandled the ball. However, the Ivorian’s shot was saved by the German keeper.
Bayern finally got the goal they deserved, for all their industry when a Schweinsteiger cross was headed in by a rising Thomas Muller, who escaped the attentions of Ashley Cole. It took a bounce, and went over Cech, from the narrowest of angles. Chelsea by now had thrown on Spanish striker Fernando Torres, and it was his work that won Chelsea a corner in the 88th minute, which was taken by his compatriot Juan Mata.
It fell perfectly to Drogba, who powerfully headed home. It was (gulp!) one of the best headers I have seen till date. It was perfectly placed, with the right power and pace. It was majestic. Clearly, by now Bayern’s confidence seemed to slowly drain away, but that of Chelsea began to rise. Bayern had already replaced the creative Thomas Muller with defender Daniel van Buyten, after they went ahead, and now faced extra-time.
Croatian striker Ivica Olic came on for Frank Ribery after the Frenchman was impeded in the box by Didier Drogba. Arjen Robben stepped up, and forced a fine save by Cech. The Czech international clearly had a workout dedicated to penalties, it seemed.
The shootout was Chelsea’s chance to exorcise the ghosts of Moscow 2008, but only Bayern stood between them. Philip Lahm scored, despite Cech getting a touch on it. Juan Mata had his penalty saved finely by Manuel Neuer to his left. Gomez was up next, and Cech guessed right, but the kick was well-placed, and out of reach. David Luiz blasted one in, and surprisingly, Manuel Neuer scored one too. Frank Lampard, the penalty specialist converted his. Ivica Olic, though, wasn’t as lucky, and Cech made a fine save. Ashley Cole, who never misses in a shootout, scored his. Bayern’s last penalty fell to Schweinsteiger, whose spot-kick had ensured passage into the final in the first place. He hesitated in his run-up, and his shot struck the post. It was all left to Didier Drogba to take Chelsea to the promised land, and he did exactly that, sending Neuer the wrong way.
Chelsea’s old guard had finally done it. The class of 2004/2005, which had started with Jose Mourinho’s reign, had finally ended their quest for European silverware, with di Matteo’s Chelsea. The trophy would come to London for the very first time.
Match Ratings (Bayern Munich)
Neuer (7) – Barely made any saves, and quite clearly should’ve done better when he got to make one.
Lahm (7.5) – A good display. Not one attack from Chelsea on his flank.
Boateng (7.5) – Played Drogba really well. Should’ve marked him better on that corner though.
Tymoschuk (7.5) – Playing out of position, a good shift.
Contento (6.5) – Caught out of position too many times.
Schweinsteiger (7.5) – A hardworking display in the centre of midfield.
Ribery (7) – Lacked composure in the final third, but played in a lot of crosses, and worked out some good positions.
Muller (7.5) – A good industrious display, and almost scored the goal that won Bayern the Champions League.
Kroos (7) – Helped in keeping good possession in the centre of midfield.
Robben (7.5) – Tried the same thing far too many times. Chelsea had him well marked. A good display, with plenty of crosses. Missed the all-important penalty with a weak shot, in extra-time.
Gomez (6.5) – A poor lacklustre display. There has always been a criticism of him, that despite his fine goal scoring tally, he misses too many chances.
van Buyten (6) – A substitution, that went wrong. Didn’t mark Drogba on the corner, and probably cost Bayern that creativity in extra time.
Olic (6.5) – Seemed lively in extra time, but not enough to force a goal.
Match Ratings (Chelsea)
Cech (9) – An amazing display. After all these years, he richly deserves a Champions League winners medal.
Bosingwa (7.5) – Gave too much space for Ribery and Contento, but a good composed display overall.
Cahill (7.5) – A bit off-pace, but a good committed performance.
Luiz (7.5) – Partnered Cahill well. Should’ve marked Muller better though.
Cole (8) – A brilliant display, again. The most consistent left-back in the world.
Mikel (6.5) – Had a hard game against a creative midfield.
Bertrand (6.5) – Looked out of depth, but stuck to his task well.
Mata (7) – Barely had a sniff of the ball, but always looked dangerous on the counter.
Lampard (7) – Curbed his attacking instincts, to put in a restrained, defensive performance.
Kalou (7) – Created some good chances on the right.
Drogba (7.5) – Scored a fantastic equalizer, and the decisive penalty. Couldn’t ask for more.
Malouda (6.5) – Offered one more option on the wide, but with minimal impact.
Torres (7) – Looked sharp, and has clearly shown improvement in his work rate.
Overall Match Ratings –
Bayern Munich – 7.03
Chelsea – 7.26