Final, 1-1 (Chelsea wins penalty-kick shootout 4-3): Chelsea is the champion of Europe. The Blues capped off their magical late-season run by winning the Champions League for the first time in history.
It may have taken penalty kicks, but no one in Blue will care. Chelsea prevailed in the shootout, and Drogba stands tallest as the hero of the old guard in the end.
Bayern Munich only has itself to blame. It was by far the better team for most of the 120 minutes, and it was Chelsea’s equal for the brief time it didn’t dominate. But the Germans were wasteful in front of goal and lost focus at that key moment when Drogba tied the game.
Chelsea, to its credit, defended well enough to remain in the game when it looked like Bayern would overrun anything in blue. Its sixth-place finish in the Premier League is forgiven as the Blues qualify for next season’s Champions League on the back of this victory.
This strangest of season ends with one of the unlikeliest European champions in history. Chelsea was dead and buried on March 5. The next two and a half months saw it fill its trophy case with the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League. Somewhere, owner Roman Abramovich is smiling. The Chelsea owner could do much worse than to reward interim manager Roberto di Matteo with a permanent contract.
That’s all for now and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.
Penalty kicks: It’s Drogba’s time.
And he wins it for Chelsea.
Penalty kicks: Schweinsteiger will take Bayern’s fifth.
But Bayern’s semifinal hero hits the post. He took a stutter step, and his aim let him down.
Penalty kicks: Cole comes up to take Chelsea’s fourth.
He buries a left-footed effort after a short runup.
Penalty kicks: Olic signs off on his Bayern career in misery.
Cech saves his penalty.
Penalty kicks: Lampard is set to take Chelsea’s third.
He calmly dispatches it past Neuer.
Penalty kicks: Neuer will take Bayern’s third penalty. It’s goalkeeper on goalkeeper.
And he slots it underneath Cech to his right.
Penalty kicks: Luiz and his hair are next for Chelsea.
He drives it powerfully down the middle.
Penalty kicks: Gomez has made a mess of everything he’s touched.
But he scores with a low drive to Cech’s left.
Penalty kicks: Mata is Chelsea’s first shooter.
Neuer turns away his left-footed drive.
Penalty kicks: Lahm, Bayern’s captain, steps up to take the first spot kick.
And he scores, despite Cech getting a hand on it.
Penalty kicks: Both goalkeepers are top-class and in form. Neither team has the clear advantage in that department, so the shoot-out will be decided by the quality (and nerves) of the takers.
120th minute, 1-1: Torres is booked for a foul at the end of extra times. Penalty kicks are here, and this game will be decided by what is virtually a lottery.
117th minute, 1-1: The dreaded penalty shoot-out looks imminent.
Both groups of players are out of gas and, barring any catastrophe, could be looking to save a last bit of zest for the spot kicks.
112th minute, 1-1: Lahm pushes into the area and creates another chance for Bayern.
He cut a cross back from the by-line, but Gomez was unable to steer his shot on goal.
In his defense, he was tightly marked.
108th minute, 1-1: Olic takes a cross at the far post and tries to play it across the face of goal to Gomez.
It ran into no man’s land, where neither Bayern player could reach it. It’s another missed opportunity for the home team.
106th minute, 1-1: Bayern has made two substitutions, but its system remains the same.
Van Buyten slotted to the back line, and Tymoshchuk pushes into the midfield.
Halftime (extra time), 1-1: The first half is complete, and Chelsea is holding on while Bayern presses and presses.
105th minute, 1-1: Chelsea just looks a little more dangerous with Torres on the field. He has caused Contento all sorts of problems when he drifts out to the right.
99th minute, 1-1: How many of their nine lives have those Chelsea cats used?
Bayern continues to press, but the concentration of its players must be negatively affected by all the drama.
Also, Olic came on for Ribery. The game will surely suffer for it.
95th minute, 1-1: Cech saves Robben’s effort.
It was poorly taken. Robben went for power, but it was too close to the middle. Cech nearly dove past it, and somewhere Dortmund’s Neven Subotic is smiling.
93rd minute, 1-1: Drogba fouls Ribery in the area, and Bayern has won a penalty.
Ribery is down in the area with cramps. It causes a delay in the action.
91st minute, 1-1: Torres went on a marauding run and went down after contact with Boateng in the area.
The referee waved play on.
91st minute, 1-1: How will Bayern regroup after allowing Chelsea to tie the game? Robben and Mueller were emotional in the huddle between the end of 90 minutes and extra time.
90th minute (plus four), 1-1: Mata wins a free kick from a dangerous spot, and it’s Drogba who stands over it, looking to win the ultimate prize for Chelsea.
But he wastes it.
That’s the end of 90 minutes. Extra time is upon us.
90th minute (plus one), 1-1: If Bayern is shocked by the stunning turn of events, it’s not showing it.
Robben drives forward on the left (he has switched sides with Ribery) and shoots, but his shot is blocked.
88th minute, 1-1: Drogba ties the game with a sensational header.
He beats Boateng to Mata’s corner kick and heads itinto the near post top corner.
86th minute, 1-0 Bayern Munich: Van Buyten is coming on for Mueller, who departs to rapturous applause.
84th minute, 1-0 Bayern Munich: Torres comes on for Kalou. The fallen star has little time to make his mark on this game.
83rd minute, 1-0 Bayern Munich: It’s Mueller who puts Bayern ahead.
Kroos delivered the cross from the far post. Mueller was able to lose Cole at the back post and head his shot off the ground. It bounced over Cech and snuck under the crossbar.
81st minute, 0-0: Cole has been nearly perfect up to this point, but he fouls Mueller near the touch-line and is punished with a yellow card.
78th minute, 0-0: Mueller has a great chance to score, but his shot goes wide.
Cole was in perfect position, and Mueller had no clear point at which he could aim his shot.
77th minute, 0-0: At what point will frustration set in for Bayern? The Germans have dominated this game but have been unable to beat Chelsea’s last line of defense.
If they start pressing (or throwing too many men forward), which leads to mistakes that Chelsea can exploit.
74th minute, 0-0: Bertrand has been replaced by Malouda. The Chelsea youngster did not look at all out of place in making his European debut on the biggest of stages.
73rd minute, 0-0: Chelsea’s attackers have just started to come to life.
Kalou and Drogba have come close to getting their heads on crosses in the last two minutes.
70th minute, 0-0: One of di Matteo’s first moves as Chelsea manager was to jettison the tactic of the high defensive line.
The deep-sitting back four has repeatedly saved Chelsea by blocking a number of shots that Cech would not likely be able to reach.
63rd minute, 0-0: The longer this game remains scoreless, the more importance substitutes can have.
The fresh legs available to Chelsea are more likely to turn the one-way momentum of the game. Malouda, Sturridge and Torres are sharper and more seasoned than their Bayern counterparts.
The veteran Olic is the only available attacking player that has played more than 250 league minutes this season. He tops them all with a whopping 566 total minutes of action.
60th minute, 0-0: Robben and Gomez combine in the area, and the Dutchman unleashes a quick shot from 12 yards out. Cole was there to heroically turn it away with a sliding challenge.
54th minute, 0-0: Ribery and the Bayern fans thought he had scored from close range, but the referee’s assistant raised the flag.
Robben’s shot was deflected, and it fell kindly to the French winger. But he was standing a foot or two behind the last defender.
51st minute, 0-0: We all know who will be Chelsea’s hero if it pinches a goal out of nothing: Drogba.
The Ivorian turns and shoots on the half-volley, but his effort from distance goes wide.
49th minute, 0-0: Bayern has started the half brightly. Robben and Ribery have both won corners after beating Chelsea defenders off the dribble.
46th minute, 0-0: The second half is under way, with Bayern attacking its “home” end in this “neutral” venue.
Halftime, 0-0: The first half has come to an end, and it’s scoreless in Munich.
Bayern has dominated play, controlled possession and created a number of genuine scoring chances. Gomez and Mueller will rue the missed chances, as Bayern should be ahead by a goal or two.
Chelsea has been able to absorb the pressure despite not offering much going forward. When Chelsea commits men to the attack, Bayern has been able to exploit the open space to great effect.
42nd minute, 0-0: Gomez, once again, lets Chelsea off the hook. This time he blasts a shot over the bar after doing so well to create space in the area.
The chance was created when Bayern caught Chelsea with men forward. The Germans’ blitz into the Chelsea half with quick passing, and a back-heel from Mueller found the big striker in the area.
40th minute, 0-0: Gomez was one of Europe’s best strikers this season, but his touch let him down at the worst possible time.
Ribery’s sliced shot fell right to him at the far post, but he couldn’t control it, and Cech was able to clean it up.
38th minute, 0-0: Kalou hits a curling drive that Neuer handles well. Chelsea finally strung together a few passes and opened up Bayern’s defense with ease.
36th minute, 0-0: Contento finds Mueller in the area with a well-placed cross, but the young forward cannot hit his volley on target.
It was Bayern’s best chance since Cech’s save on Robben. Mueller has found himself on the outside looking in recently. His sharpness abandoned him at the moment when he most needed it.
33rd minute, 0-0: Chelsea makes a rare foray into the Bayern third, and it’s Cahill (of all people) who is responsible. He passed wide, received it back, and won a free kick after Boateng brought him down.
But Mata wastes the effort, hitting it well over the bar.
32nd minute, 0-0: Bosingwa kicks Ribery in the calf, and he goes down like the Chelsea defender kicked a hole in him.
The referee has a few words with Boswingwa, but he does not caution the player.
28th minute, 0-0: The first 30 minutes have been all Bayern, but Cech’s good form has continued into this game.
22nd minute, 0-0: Bayern nearly breaks the deadlock through Robben.
His shot draws a save from Cech, but it appears to have hit the bar as well.
18th minute, 0-0: The first 20 minutes are shaping up like the Barcelona-Chelsea duels of the semifinals.
Bayern is doing all the attacking, and Chelsea is sitting deep in its defensive shell. The longer this goes on, with the score remaining the same, it could play into Chelsea’s hands.
13th minute, 0-0: While Schweinsteiger and Kroos have controlled the game, Ribery and Robben have struggled to work their way into the action.
Chelsea is sitting so deep, it’s difficult for the talented wingers to find space behind the Blues’ back line. It’s likely that they will be forced to tuck inside and attack through the crowded center. That is, unless Chelsea goes on the attack.
Ninth minute, 0-0: Robben shanks his shot after Ribery found him with a chip over the top of the defense.
Both teams are passing crisply until they reach the final third. There, they are betrayed by wayward shooting and misplaced deliveries into the area.
Seventh minute, 0-0: Bayern has dominated possession so far, but the wall of blue has turned away each of the Germans’ attacks.
Second minute, 0-0: Bayern has held the early advantage in territory, but it suffered its first setback.
Schweinsteiger was cautioned for a handling the ball. Although tackling isn’t one of his strengths, he’ll have to be on his best behaviour for the duration of the game.
Pregame: All the talk centers around the players who won’t play a (direct) role in the outcome of the game. A manager could field a formidable team with the players who miss out because of suspension.
John Terry, Holger Badstuber, Luis Gustovo and Ramires are just a few of the stars who miss out.
For Bayern, Tymoshchuk drops back from his usual role as a (reserve) midfielder to the center of defense, where he will partner with Boateng.
Kroos will play in the center of the midfield with the unmatchable Schweinsteiger. Mueller, the breakout star of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, is drafted into the hole behind Gomez. Ribery and Robben will look to devestate from the flanks.
Chelsea has young wingback Bertrand in the midfield. He will play alongside Obi Mikel, providing the cover for Lampard to drive forward. Drogba, Kalou and Mata will handle the attacking duties. Luiz and Cahill have shaken off hamstring injuries. They will start in the center of defense.
2 p.m.: Here are the lineups:
Manuel Neuer (1), goalkeeper
Philipp Lahm (21), right back
Jerome Boateng (17), center back
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (44), center back
Diego Contento (26), left back
Bastian Schweinsteiger (31), midfielder
Toni Kroos (39), midfielder
Thomas Mueller (25), midfielder
Franck Ribery (7), forward
Arjen Robben (10), forward
Mario Gomez (33), striker
Hans Jorg Butt (22), goalkeper
Daniel Van Buyten (5), defender
Rafinha (13), defender
Danijel Pranjic (23), midfielder
Takashi Usami (14), midfielder
Ivica Olic (11), striker
Nils Petersen (9), striker
Petr Cech (1), goalkeper
Jose Bosingwa (17), right back
Gary Cahill (24), center back
David Luiz (4), center back
Ashley Cole (3), left back
John Obi Mikel (12), midfielder
Ryan Bertrand (34), midfielder
Frank Lampard (8), midfielder
Salomon Kalou (21), forward
Juan Mata (10), forward
Didier Drogba (11), striker
Ross Turnbull (22), goalkeeper
Pauolo Ferreira (19), defender
Michael Essien (5), midfielder
Oriol Romeu (6), midfielder
Florent Malouda (15), midfielder
Daniel Sturridge (23), forward
Fernando Torres (9), striker
1 p.m. ET: Old meets new in Munich, Germany. Bayern Munich and Chelsea FC will face off in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday. The two clubs, who hope to lift world soccer’s most prestigious trophy, represent royalty the past, present and future of the beautiful game.
Bayern Munich saw it as its destiny to play in this final, which takes place at its home stadium — the Allianz Arena. It marks the first time in the Champions League era that a team will play in a final at its own stadium. The German club has won the competition on four previous occasions, making it nothing less than soccer royalty.
The last decade has seen Chelsea emerge as a force in England and in Europe. The star-studded Blues have won numerous honors on the domestic front, but Champions League success has eluded them. Its renaissance under manager Roberto di Matteo has put it on the brink of winning the one competition that owner Roman Abramovich covets most. For many in Chelsea’s “Old Guard,” this game will be their last chance at Europe’s great prize.
Although one cannot discount Chelsea’s experience at this level, the odds are in Bayern’s favor. It is led by veteran manager Juup Heynckes, who could win the trophy for a second time. His first triumph was in 1998 with Real Madrid, and a win over Chelsea would make him the 14th manager to lift the historic trophy on two occasions. It also has won seven straight home games in Europe and 13 of its last 14. On the other hand, Chelsea has only won one Champions League road game this season.
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