UEFA Champions League Final 2012
Bayern Munich 1-1 Chelsea (AET)
(Chelsea win 4-3 on penalties)

 

 


 

Chelsea's Didier Drogba concedes a penalty for tripping Bayern's Franck Ribery in extra-time (above top); while the Blues squad show their utter happiness and overjoyment of finally getting their hands on the greatest European prize of them all (above below)

 

 

By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor from the Allianz Arena 

 
Chelsea triumphed in a topsy-turvy penalty shootout to lift the Champions League for the first time in their illustrious history as the Blues conquered against Bayern Munich in the German capital.

Didier Drogba - who could be making a farewell appearance in a Blues shirt - confidently dispatched the winning spotkick in a tense shoot-out to send the trophy to the English capital for a first time in dramatic and unbelievable circumstances after Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger had placed his penalty against the base of the post. Thomas Mueller had given the domineering Germans a deserved lead in the 83rd minute with a well-connected header from a cross by Toni Kroos which looked to be the winning goal and be a kick in the heel for Chelsea.

But the Blues responded in admirable fashion with their big game player Didier Drogba stepping upto the plate with a minute to spare with a powerful header which flew into the roof of the net despite Neuer's attempts to keep it out to send the game to extra-time. Former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben had a penalty saved expertly by Petr Cech as Drogba turned from hero to villain in the space of minutes after clipping the heels of Franck Ribery inside the box.

Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes- bidding to become the ninth coach to win the Champions League trophy for a second time after his success with Real Madrid in 1998- couldn't call upon the services of Luis Gustavo, David Alaba and Holger Badstuber who were suspended after picking up yellow cards in the semi-final second leg against Real Madrid. Diego Contento made just a fourth appearance of the entire season at left-back while in a defensive reshuffle Anatoliy Tymoshchuk was forced to play at centre-back. Prolific goalscorer Mario Gomez started upfront looking to add to his twelve Champions League goals this season.

Blues captain John Terry sat out the final after his red card in the semi-final against Barcelona at the Nou Camp joining Branislav Ivanovic, Raul Merieles and Ramires who were all banned through UEFA's yellow card rule. Roberto Di Matteo had to sweat on the fitness of Gary Cahill and David Luiz to form an effective partnership in central defence whilst giving a Champions League debut to 22-year old left-back Ryan Bertrand in midfield. Florent Malouda, who was withdrawn in the first half of Chelsea's victory over Blackburn last weekend in the final Premier League game of the season, made the bench along with Fernando Torres.

With many expecting an El Clasico final between Real Madrid and Barcelona from the moment the semi-final draw was made, it was quite a surprise for neutrals to be witnessing the showpiece to be played between the English and the Germans. The 2012 Champions League final got underway with Bayern- much fancied to make home advantage count- playing in familiar surroundings becoming the first team in Champions League history to play the final at their home ground.

All the statistics pointed to a Bayern win with the Germans winning 13 of their last 14 European home games going into the match while Chelsea had won just one game away in this season's competition- which was a narrow 1-0 win at Benfica in the quarter-finals. Normally fast starters on home turf, Bayern Munich came out of the traps much quicker and rapidly got to work in getting at Chelsea from the off in a fractious and frenetic opening.

An early yellow card issued to Manchester United transfer target Schweinsteiger for deliberately handling Mikel's attempted clearing pass looked to set the tone for a stop-start match with plenty of talking points as the opening exchanges began with a fast pace. The German international Schweinsteiger then brought some courageous defending from Gary Cahill, seen for the first time since hobbling off in the first half at the Nou Camp a month ago, to throw himself in the way and deflect the ball behind.

 

? DID YOU KNOW ?

The defeat for Bayern Munich means that they have won one and lost three of their four European cup finals against English opposition.

 

It was assured start from the "home" side as the Germans mixed their play up well in passing the ball around with constimate ease while working the channels well and tossing it up to the taller figure of Mueller with Gomez- behind only Messi in this season's Champions League scoring chart- looking to feed off knock-downs as Bayern built up pressure cohesively. Chelsea remained resolute showing defensive resolve which had served them well in the two-legged semi-final against the Catalan giants and previous holders of the great trophy.

Lampard and Bosingwa almost played themselves into trouble when Mario Gomez, who decided not to shoot when room for a shot opened up for him, attempted a cutback for the arriving Kroos with a mix-up between the two Chelsea players resulting in a cheaply conceded corner. The sixth-placed Premier League side were under the kosh as the Bundesliga outfit, who finished second and lost the German cup final last weekend to Borussia Dortmund, kept flooding forward in search of the elusive first goal which almost came when Robben drilled a low effort towards goal after flicking the ball past a static Bosingwa but goalkeeper Petr Cech came to Chelsea's rescue somehow scopping the ball up onto the post with his legs.

Chelsea- who beat Liverpool in their own domestic cup final earlier this month- had limited opportunities to attack themselves in the opening half hour with Bayern slowly but surely turning the screw with Juan Mata looking to be the outlet that the Blues look for when seeking to counteract up the pitch. The Spaniard's free-kick from twenty yards didn't trouble Manuel Neuer in the Bayern goal with the first effort of note at goal from the Blues as it harmlessly travelled over the crossbar.

At the other end, Thomas Mueller struck narrowly wide from Contento's dangerous cross after good build-up play down the left hand side. Salomon Kalou forced the Munich goalkeeper into his first save of the night down to his left smothering a decent nearpost shot after some cultured build-up play.

The end to the first half was end-to-end with Chelsea much better in terms of going forward while Bayern still created the best chance of the game so far which fell to the right man infront of goal as Mario Gomez, who scored twice in a group stage match here against Manchester City earlier in the competition this season, failed to add to his 41 goals this campaign and work the Chelsea shotstopper as he ballooned horribly into the crowd after letting the ball run delicately across his body to cleverly fool David Luiz infront of him.

Bayern began hastily in the second half with Chelsea needing to settle themselves once again. Franck Ribery had a goal ruled out for offside on 53 minutes as the eagle-eyed assistant referee flagged after Robben's shot had deflected off Ashley Cole and fell straight to the feet of the French winger- who was suspended for the 2010 final defeat to Inter Milan at the Bernabeu- who tapped the ball in but it did not count. Some more desperate last-ditch defending stopped Bayern with the impressive Ashley Cole flinging himself in the way of a Robben shot courageously as the Blues worked hard and stuck to the task and their shape to keep the Germans at bay.

Despite the palputations regarding Bayern as overriding favourites, this was the sixth final played between sides from the Premier League and German Bundesliga with the English side prevailing in four of the previous five therefore history being against Munich. Although the pendulum kept swinging the way of the team in red who try as they might couldn't convert their dominance into goals.

There were plenty of shots at goal but not many finding the target for Jupp Heynckes' men as their efforts flew wide or over as the hosts appeared to run out of ideas against the disciplined and compact visiting pack from West London with Bertrand not looking out of place on his European bow forging a useful link-up with Cole down the left hand side albeit with a more defensive approach although he was eventually replaced by Florent Malouda. The final minutes were going to be a stern examination of Chelsea's durability and resistance with Tottenham indeed relying on a breakthrough for Bayern Munich to spoil Chelsea's hopes of reaching the lucrative European competition for next season and put them there instead.

And Spurs supporters watching at home and indeed the Bayern followers packed into the Allianz Arena must have thought it was to be their year when they finally found a way through in the 83rd minute with Thomas Mueller using his aerial prowess to devastating effect to scruffily head a pinpoint delivery from Toni Kroos down past Petr Cech to send their fans wild as Chelsea players momentarily sat on the deck deflated while trotting back towards the centre circle knowing their chances of getting of responding were slim with precious little time remaining.

The 22-year old, who scored twice for Germany against England at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, was swamped by team-mates as Chelsea reflected on a soft goal to concede and how costly it could be with owner Roman Abramovich's face telling the whole story as he watched on from his VIP seat.

 

? DID YOU KNOW ?

Chelsea saw off Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Genk, Napoli, Benfica and Barcelona and Bayern Munich to lift the Champions League or European Cup for the first time in their 107 years of establishment.


But Chelsea's main goal threat and big game player rescued them in the nick of time much to the surprise of most watching on as Didier Drogba produced right on cue to equalise with just a minute to spare. The Ivorian scored his ninth goal in his ninth major final for Chelsea by connecting powerfully with a bullet header at the near post from Juan Mata's corner as Manuel Neuer left flapping as he got a hand but couldn't react fast enough and it was the Chelsea fans' turn to be delighted and Bayern's to feel the tension. It came suddenly and unexpected but was a sweet moment with the Blues' Champions League rollercoaster riding on further.

As the game flickered into extra-time, strong penalty appeal was waved away by the Portuguese financial advisor in charge for Chelsea when substitute Fernando Torres was touched by Jerome Boateng inside the box but the referee judged that the coming together was something and nothing and waved play on. And the night took an unbelievable turn as exactly a minute later Bayern Munich were awarded a penalty of their own at the other end.

A determined Ribery forced himself into the penalty area before having his heels clipped by Didier Drogba, who also conceded a spotkick in the semi-final, as Pedro Proenca pointing to the spot with little doubt in his mind whilst showing a yellow card to the bemused forward.

But Chelsea's luck was in once more as just like the semi-final against Barcelona, one of the world's best was affected by the pressure of the occasion as former Blue Arjen Robben ran forward from twelve yards however the Dutch international saw his driven penalty incredibly blocked by the body of Petr Cech who then gathered the loose ball in what was an enormous let-off for the Blues. A miraculous stop from a goalkeeper much-maligned this season as the Blues somehow escaped again and found something from somewhere when they needed it most.

Ivica Olic, who was introduced for the injured Franck Ribery who stayed down when sent sprawling to the deck after being tripped by Drogba, wasted a glorious opportunity to snatch a winner at the death for Bayern in extra-time to save the agony of a penalty shoot-out but the Croatian sidefooted wide as he was caught in two minds as to whether he should shoot or cross with Van Buyten jogging in at the back post as a big chance came and went which could be a crucial factor playing a part in winning or losing.

It meant a penalty shoot-out with Bayern- having never lost a European penalty shoot-out in their history- looking more accomplished with captain Phillip Lahm smashing home the first. Mata's tame effort was kept out by Neuer as Gomez's well-placed sidefooter into the bottom corner giving Cech little hope of saving as the Germans looked in command.

David Luiz- who hadn't featured since the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham in April- took a long run-up before clinically dispatching his spotkick with true conviction to make it 2-1. Goalkeeper Neuer stepped up next to squeeze his penalty past his compatriot to leave Bayern at matchpoint. Lampard, who scored in Moscow four years ago and had netted five of the six spotkicks taken this season, confidently blasted his into the roof of the net.

Olic saw his weak effort clawed away by Cech while Ashley Cole converted Chelsea's next penalty to leave it locked level at 3-3 after four each. With such fine margins and no room for error, Schweinsteiger stuttered in his run upto the spot and saw his precise kick rebound off the foot of the post after waiting for the keeper to commit himself. It was left down to Drogba, sent off in their only other Champions League final against Manchester United in 2008 which was lost on penalties, to clinch the greatest prize of all as he stepped up to stroke it nochanantly into the bottom corner with composure in abundance to finally crown Chelsea champions of Europe with the players, fans, staff and owner harmonious in their elation as all involved let their contrasting emotions take over.

Blue was the colour around the German capital as the celebrations went on long into the night with Roberto Di Matteo shedding tears of happiness as they paved their way into Chelsea history and next year's tournament as Abramovich's holy grail was delivered at long last. 

It was a adventurous journey which looked to have come to an end after being outclassed and comprehensively beaten in Naples in February in the knockout phase. The trophy will be paraded around London tomorrow afternoon so that fans unfortunate enough to miss out on the trip to Munich can take a glimpse of the prize which has seemingly taken an age to get hold of with thousands expected to pile the streets.

The result meant that Harry Redknapp's side will have to settle for the second-string Europa League next season in spite of finishing fourth. On the other hand, it means a second successive season without silverware for Bayern which is alarming reading for fans of the club and could spell the end of Jupp Heynckes' two-year spell as head coach.   

 


ANALYSIS
Adam Higgins
The Football Site -  Chief Football Editor

"It was a truly extraordinary game of football and what an incredible journey it has been for Chelsea football club over the past three months. Nobody would have foreseen that Chelsea could have achieved this- beating Bayern Munich in their own backyard at their own game. An English side coming out on top in a penalty shoot-out against the Germans- can you believe it?. Drogba had a mixed night but he showed again just how much he means to this club. Surely this is enough to give Roberto Di Matteo the job on a permanent basis. He maybe caretaker manager but he has taken care of everything. It was such a remarkable ending to what looked such a bleak campaign for the Blues in the Autumn months, they looked down and out so many times along the route to Munich but found a response when it mattered most. They deserve to win the Champions League - it was written in the stars. Roman Abramovich has the trophy that he has craved so much and now has his next manager."

 

 

Saturday 19th May 2012

UEFA Champions League Final

Allianz Arena (Munich, Germany) 

 

Bayern Munich 1-1 Chelsea (AET)                            KO 7:45pm            (HT 0-0)

Mueller 83             Drogba 89


(Chelsea win 4-3 on penalties)

 

  • Phillip Lahm (Bayern Munich) scored 1-0
  • Juan Mata (Chelsea) missed 1-0
  • Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich) scored 2-0
  • David Luiz (Chelsea) scored 2-1
  • Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich) scored 3-1
  • Frank Lampard (Chelsea) scored 3-2
  • Ivica Olic (Bayern Munich) missed 3-2
  • Ashley Cole (Chelsea) scored 3-3
  • Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich) missed 3-3
  • Didier Drogba (Chelsea) scored 3-4
  •  

    Bayern Munich:  1 Neuer- 7.5/10, 21 Lahm (C)- 8/10, 17 Boateng- 7.5/10, 44 Tymoschuk- 7/10, 26 Contento- 7.5/10, 10 Robben- 6.5/10, 31 Schweinsteiger- 8.5/10, 39 Kroos- 8.5/10, 7 Ribery- 7.5/10 (Olic 97- 3/10), 25 Mueller- 8/10 (Van Buyten 86- 3.5/10), 33 Gomez- 7.5/10.

    Subs not used:  22 Butt, 13 Rafinha, 14 Usami, 23 Pranjic, 9 Petersen

    Booked:      Schweinsteiger (2)

     

    Chelsea:  1 Cech- 9/10, 17 Bosingwa- 7/10, 4 David Luiz- 7.5/10, 24 Cahill- 8/10, 3 A Cole- 8.5/10, 8 Lampard (C)- 8.5/10, 12 Mikel- 7/10, 21 Kalou- 7.5/10 (Torres 84- 4.5/10), 10 Mata- 7.5/10, 34 Bertrand- 7.5/10 (Malouda 73- 5/10), 11 Drogba- 9.5/10.

    Subs not used:  22 Turnbull, 19 Ferreira, 5 Essien, 6 Romeu, 23 Sturridge

    Booked:      A Cole (81), David Luiz (85), Drogba (93), Torres (119)

     

    My Man of the Match:    Didier Drogba (Chelsea)- Rating 9.5/10

    My Poorest Performer of the Match:    Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)- Rating 6.5/10

     

     

    Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal)- 9/10
    Attendance: 69,901

     

     

    Match Facts


    Possession: Bayern Munich- 55%                 Chelsea- 45%

    Shots: Bayern Munich- 34                      Chelsea- 9

    Shots on target: Bayern Munich- 21                  Chelsea- 6

    Shots off target: Bayern Munich- 13                  Chelsea- 3

    Corners: Bayern Munich- 20                   Chelsea- 1

    Fouls: Bayern Munich- 11                    Chelsea- 26

    Offside: Bayern Munich- 1                      Chelsea- 2

    Assists: Bayern Munich- Kroos                  Chelsea- Mata

     

     


    Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes

    "I felt we were the better side for most of the game and deserved to win. I congratulate Chelsea for winning of course and I wish them well but we should have had that game wrapped up before then. We had numerous chances, plenty of shots at goal but our finishing and shooting capabilities were very poor. I thought their defensive-minded set-up was unhelpful to us but we had occasions where we needed to get the ball in dangerous areas and didn't manage it. We had a lead with seven minutes to go which we didn't protect, we invited pressure, switched off from a corner giving Didier Drogba a relatively unchallenged header which killed us with a minute left. We were physically and mentally drained in the extra-time period- if we had dug deep and took one more chances then I think we would have done enough to get through. I don't know whether I will be here or not next season, we will have to wait and see what happens in the next few weeks. I'd like to think my position is safe for the time being and we will now look to put this very painful defeat behind us and look ahead to next season now with no regrets."

     

     


    Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo

    "My future is not important. Whatever the club decides I will respect. You know that what we discuss with the boss [Abramovich] we don't discuss publicly. It is irrelevant because, as I have said in the last three months, I have been happy with the arrangement and whatever the future holds I will accept. The lads were fantastic from start to finish. When our backs are against the wall we step up to the mark. Football is crazy and unpredictable and I don't think anybody could have predicted what has happened in the last three months. I feel great and I'm pleased for everyone connected with the club. I am so pleased for our players because they have worked so hard over many, many years to achieve this objective and of course had the experience of losing on penalties to Manchester United in the final in Moscow in 2008."


    Click here for the full post-match interview with Blues caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo

     

    Click here to listen to the reliving of Chelsea's Champions League final triumph on penalties

    Click here to listen to the interview with Chelsea's penalty hero Didier Drogba after the game

    Click here to watch reaction from Chelsea players after their amazing Champions League victory

    No timescale on new boss appointment-  Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay

    Watch Chelsea's Champions League trophy bus parade around London

    Click here to hear from Chelsea's Frank Lampard on an incredible night in Munich

    Click here for match highlights of the 2012 UEFA Champions League final

     

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