Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea: 5 Biggest Stars for the Blues in Final Win
Chelsea have won the Champions League for the first time in their history after a penalty shootout win over Bayern Munich in Germany, and they have several heroic performances to thank for the victory.
Though the defending as a whole will no doubt be attributed to an overall team effort, some players stood out above the others. In truth, there were a few holes in the defence and only some extremely shoddy finishing by Bayern Munich failed to punish the Blues more fully.
Nonetheless, the result is all that matters, and Chelsea made sure their name was on the cup, riding their luck when they needed to and producing big moments from several players when they needed it most.
Here are the five biggest stars for Chelsea on a night that will live long in their club memory.
Petr Cech, Goalkeeper
After a match-winning performance that included a fine stop onto the woodwork early on and three penalty saves over the entire course of the match, Chelsea stopper Petr Cech gave newspaper editors everywhere hope that he would be handed a new contract as a result of his big performance to give them the chance to roll out a favourite headline:
New Check for Czech Cech.
The giant goalkeeper dealt well with all of the Bayern Munich set pieces, was a commanding presence and above all else kept his side in the tie with an extra-time spot-kick save from Arjen Robben, before clawing away further penalties from Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger in the shootout.
A monster performance.
Gary Cahill, Central Defender
Gary Cahill put his body on the line for Chelsea after recovering from injury in time for the Champions League final.
He partnered David Luiz in the centre of the defence in the absence of suspended duo John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic and justified his signing by Chelsea in January with a determined performance.
Cahill was always tight to Mario Gomez. Even though the German got three shots away in the first half, he was off his game enough on the night to not make any of them count.
Just when it looked like he might get another chance or two, Cahill upped his performance to make one or two smothering blocks and challenges to help clear the danger.
Ashley Cole, Left-Back
Ashley Cole put in a fine performance at left-back as he largely nullified the threat of Thomas Muller for 50 minutes before the German drifted infield, swapping positions with Arjen Robben.
Robben caused Cole more problems as he cut infield to shoot with his left foot, but the full-back was by and large able to cope with the movement and made several important blocks to stop the efforts on goal from reaching their target.
Cole had the inexperienced Ryan Bertrand in front of him but received plenty of support from his heir apparent, and as a result was able to get forward at times to support counter-attacks.
The England international also tucked away a penalty successfully in the shootout.
Didier Drogba, Striker
The man for the big occasion, Chelsea forward Didier Drogba made it nine goals in nine cup finals for the Blues with his late-headed equaliser in the Champions League final.
He was isolated for long stretches of the first half, but did his best to hold up the ball and link up with Juan Mata in particular when he could. But it appeared to be a lonely night for the Ivorian.
Chelsea came into the game more during the second period, but it still took a snap-shot on the turn from 40 yards for Drogba to have his first real sight of goal during the game, and even that was at a stretch a half-chance.
But when Chelsea looked dead and buried, it was Drogba who came up trumps again with a thumping header past Manuel Neuer.
It looked in extra time as though he would be the villain of the piece, conceding a penalty to Bayern, but his 'keeper Petr Cech came to the rescue with a fine save.
On to the shootout and Drogba calmly stepped up to send Neuer the wrong way—and score Chelsea's fourth and final penalty, the one which won them the European Cup for the first time ever.
Fittingly, it could well be his last kick of the ball as a Chelsea player.
Roberto Di Matteo, Interim Manager
Alright, alright, not technically a player I know, but Roberto di Matteo needs at least a mention.
The interim boss is still unsure if his future lies as Chelsea's manager, despite winning the FA Cup and now the Champions League just three months after taking over from the epic failure of the Andre Villas-Boas reign.
It seems inconceivable that Roman Abramovich could decide not to hire him...but we'll have to wait a little longer to find that out.
The truth is, di Matteo could retire tomorrow and still be forever a legend at Chelsea after landing them their first Champions League title.