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Roman Abramovichâ€™s dream of winning the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea finally came to fruition at the Allianz Arena as Chelsea defeated Bayern Munich in their own backyard after the most dramatic of penalty shootouts. The game went into the heartbreak lottery service that is a penalty shootout after the two teams were level at 1-1 after 120 minutes. Juan Mata missed Chelseaâ€™s first kick to hand the initiative to Bayern, who raced into a 3-1 lead. Olic, who will leave Bayern in the summer, then saw his shot saved by Petr Cech before Bastian Schweinsteiger struck the post. Didier Drogba had the job of winning it for the Blues as the shootout stood at 3-3 and the Ivorian sealed his name in the headlines with a calm conversion.
Earlier, the goals came in the final ten minutes of a game that Bayern dominated. Thomas Muller scored the opener on 83 minutes with a well-taken header before Drogba did the same at the other end five minutes later to level proceedings. Chelsea looked down and out for most of the game but showed tremendous spirit to hang-in and eventually clinch the trophy. Bayern created countless chances throughout the game and even missed a penalty in extra-time as Arjen Robben saw his effort blocked by Cech.
It must have been written in the stars for Chelsea as they have continued to win against the odds throughout the tournament. And for an English outfit to beat the Germans in a penalty shootout further proves the point about this being Chelsea's destiny.Â· The Blues become only the 6th English side to lift the famous trophy and fittingly it was a penalty shootout victory to cleanse the memories of that infamous night in Moscow four years ago. As for Bayern, they fall at the last step for the 2nd time in three years and the fact that it was in front of their own fans will hurt the German giants even more.
Jupp Heynckes was forced into a defensive shake-up as Antoliy Tymoschchuk came in for the suspended Holger Badstuber in the centre while Diego Contento replaced the also suspended David Alaba, with Jerome Boateng and Phillip Lahm continuing on the right of the backline. Toni Kroos dropped into a deeper midfield role with Bastain Schweinsteiger, thus necessitating the introduction of Thomas Muller in attack. Muller was flanked by Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, with Mario Gomez the target-man up front.
Arjen Robben's threat must have played on Roberto Di Matteo's mind as he sprung a major surprise in his line-up as young Ryan Bertrand started on the left, as cover for Ashley Cole. David Luiz and Gary Cahill made their comebacks from injury to take up the central defensive spots, with Jose Bosingwa the man on the right. Jon Obi Mikel was the anchorman in midfield and he had Frank Lampard for company in a two-man central midfield for Chelsea. Salomon Kalou and Juan Mata were the attacking threat behind the lone-man, one Didier Drogba as Fernando Torres started on the bench.
Bayern forced the issue from kick-off as they won a free-kick in the early minutes, from which Robbenâ€™s delivery was poor. The Dutchman then made his first slalom on the right as Cole had to keep pace with the winger while Ribery did the same at other end.Â· Schweinsteiger, who picked up a needless early booking for handball, was then allowed to shoot from the edge of the area, with his midfield partner Kroos following suit minutes later.
Petr Cech wasnâ€™t tested from any of those strikes though as Chelsea kept the Germans at bay. The game was very open for a short spell around the 10 minute mark as both sides countered, with Drogba playing in a dangerous cross from the right that unluckily failed to meet a Chelsea head while Robben seemed to get the better of Cole as he cut-in from the right but his shot flew well wide.
It was all Bayern as the Bundesliga giants kept knocking on Chelseaâ€™s door, with Schweinsteiger controlling matters in the centre as the Blues barely had possession. Gomez had a couple of sights at goal as he headed over under pressure from Luiz before getting into a great position a few yards from goal, only to lose the ball to Lampard. Chelsea were living dangerously though as the first real save of the night was made by Cech as he used his legs to puch Robbenâ€™s low drive from the left onto the post.
The Chelsea midfield were doing little to keep the Bayern attackers from running at their defence and another such moment saw Muller leave his marker for dead inside the box but his shot was wayward as it missed the target. The Blues did get a rare sight at goal as Kalou fired a first time shot on the right after a quick counter-attack, but his decision to find the near post allowed Manuel Neuer to save comfortably.
Gomez should have put the team in red ahead just before the break as he sold Cahill a delicious dummy and with the goal at his mercy he contrived to shot high into the sky as Chelsea were reprieved.
The pattern didnâ€™t change a great deal after the break as the â€˜home sideâ€™ continued to press, playing slick one-touch football on the wings and down the middle. Ribery did get the ball past Cech in the early minutes but the linesman rightfully spotted the Frenchmanâ€™s offside position. Neuer was still a spectator at the opposite end, even from Drogbaâ€™s shot on the turn, which flew inches wide of the upright.
There was no stopping wave after wave of red attacks as Chelsea were throwing their bodies on the line. Cole was the main man at the back as first performed a miraculous block a few yards from goal to deflect Robbenâ€™s shot over for a corner. The Englishman then made another good interception as he kept out a fine strike by Kroos.
The first glimpse of Drogba troubling Tymoschchuk came only in the 73rd minute as he turned the defender on the left channel before squaring a ball across the box, with Contentao clearing for a corner. The game was beginning to stretch as tired legs took over and it didnâ€™t help Bayernâ€™s shooting a great deal as Muller contrived to miss yet another chance, this time missing the goal with his right-footed strike in front of Cole.
But the German International made no mistake moments later as he came in at the far post to head in Schweinsteiger's curling cross from the left. Cech was surprised by the bounce of the ball after Muller headed it down as it creeped in between the crossbar and the keeper's fingers. The response from Di Matteo was to bring on Torres but it was his strike partner Drogba who found a way to goal at a vital moment for Chelsea as he incredibly equalized in the 88th minute.
The Ivorian attacked a corner with great venom and he got enough behind the ball to beat Neuer, who did get his hands on the header but could do nothing against its sheer power. The wild swings in fortune then saw Drogba give away a penalty a few minutes into extra-time as he clumsily tripped over Ribery from the back. But then Cech bailed out his team-mate as he made a brilliant save to keep out Robben's spot-kick.
Bayern created another glorious chance, in the 2nd half of extra-time as substitute Olic beat the offside trap to collect Lahm's cross over the defence and he squared the ball for Daniel van Buyten, who inexplicably did not anticipate it as Chelsea breathed a huge sigh of relief. Cahill then made a heroic block to deny Gomez after yet another positive move initiated by Lahm.
The penalty shootout was kicked off by Bayern as Lahmâ€™s strike just about made it past Cech, who got a hand to the ball. First blood then went to the Germans as Mataâ€™s effort was saved by Neuer and Gomez followed it up with a brilliantly taken spot-kick into the bottom corner. Luiz had to score Chelseaâ€™s 2nd and he did so in great fashion as he sent Neuer the wrong way to make it 1-2. Neuer himself took the next kick and he beat his opposing keeper with a low shot to the left.
The shootout was then turned on its head as Lampard scored the vital 7th penalty to make it 2-3 to Chelsea and Cech then saved Olicâ€™s poor kick. Cole put the two teams level with a superb finish as it stood at 3-3 when Schweinsteiger stepped up. But the midfielderâ€™s strike hit the right post, leaving Drogba with the chance to win the trophy with the final kick and he made no mistake as he rolled the ball into the left corner to set off the celebrations.
Roberto Di Matteo has achieved an almost impossible task of winning a supreme cup-double for Chelsea as the interim manager has driven the club to an FA Cup and Champions League triumph in the short time he has been in-charge. Chelseaâ€™s heroics against Barcelona in the semi-finals was a tremendous effort but they managed to do one better in the grandest stage as they found the magic formula against the Germans.
Bayern were the clear favourites to win the game and their 5th European triumph but alas Schweinsteiger and co will have to contemplate on yet another missed opportunity. On a side note, Tottenham Hotspur will be less than enamoured with the Chelsea win as they are now pushed into the Europa League despite finishing 4th in the Premier League.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng,Tymoschchuk, Contento, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Robben, Muller (Van Buyten 86'), Ribery (Olic 90+7'), Gomez
Subs: Butt, Van Buyten, Rafinha, Usami, Pranjic, Petersen, Olic
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Cahill, David Luiz, Cole, Mikel, Lampard;Kalou (Torres 84'), Mata, Bertrand (Malouda 74'), Drogba
Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Essien, Romeu, Malouda, Sturridge, Torres
Final Score: Bayern Munich 1-1 Chelsea (3-4 Penalties)
Goals: Muller 83', Drogba 88'
File Photograph Copyright: Ryu Voelkel
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