Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea: 10 Unforgettable Moments from Champions League Final
Bayern Munich and German international legend Franz Beckenbauer has always said he lives life with "no regrets."
An admirable sentiment, if he truly can apply it.
Because watching Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger slump to the turf, crestfallen, after missing the decisive penalty kick in the shootout, made you feel certain that the German No. 31 will look back upon this day with disdain.
It was a thoroughly encapsulating final, this 2012 edition, perhaps most because it was underwhelming for so long.
Then, when two goals of such terrific quality were scored (Thomas Muller for Bayern and the incomparable Didier Drogba for Chelsea), before Arjen Robben's penalty miss in regular time, the game seemed destined for an unforgettable finish.
Which is exactly what happened. Here are 10 of the most unforgettable moments from a final that won't soon be forgotten.
Petr Cech Saves Arjen Robben's Low Drive in the First Half
In a fitting bit of foreshadowing, Chelsea keeper Petr Cech did well to get down quickly to his right to deflect a forceful Arjen Robben drive into the side netting during the first half.
Bayern had dominated for the entire half, and would continue to do so. While Robben was handled quite effectively by Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole, the Dutchman burst through the Blues defense on that occasion, only to have the Czech international deny him glory.
Mario Gomez with Three Glaring Misses
He tried a couple sensational overhead efforts, but Mario Gomez—scorer of 41 goals this season for Bayern Munich in all competitions—would have been better off putting away the three gilt-edged chances made available to him in the first half.
The most glaring miss by the German with the Spanish name came after Franck Ribery fired a low drive across goal.
Gomez, who had been so clinical all season for the Bavarians—not least of all in the Champions League—saw the ball come right into his path. But instead of firing a first-time drive past a helpless Cech, Gomez took a touch, which thereby allowed the Blues defense to recover and scupper the chance.
Manuel Neuer Saves a Forceful Drive from Solomon Kalou
Kalou was a peripheral figure for most of the match—as had been the case for Chelsea against Barcelona in both legs, the attacking players didn't have much to do in the final third—but the Ivorian did catch hold of a forceful drive from the right edge of the penalty area that, had Manuel Neuer not saved it assuredly, was snaking in toward the near post.
Bayern Have a Franck Ribery Goal Called Back for Offside
Bayern continued to dominate throughout the second half, and the Bavarians believed they had grabbed the opener when Franck Ribery touched home from six yards out after a deflection fluttered Arjen Robben's drive to the goal-mouth area.
Ribery was rightfully ruled offside, however, and the game continued on scoreless.
Thomas Muller Grabs the Opener for Bayern
Like a certain Gerd Muller of so many years gone past, Thomas Muller scored for his club side when the occasion demanded production.
Ghosting in to the back post, Muller latched on to a wondrous lofted ball from Tony Kroos and headed the ball down into the turf, whereupon it bounced up past a hapless Cech and into the back of the net. Eighty-four minutes gone, and it looked like we'd seen the winner.
It was 1-0 Bayern, but not for long.
Didier Drogba Equalizes for Chelsea
He was one of the foremost aerial threats in the English game for years, but you'd have to think Didier Drogba will look back upon his headed goal in Munich as the finest in his career.
Chelsea, dominated so thoroughly for the majority of the match, had earned their first corner in the 88th minute. And in vintage, ruthless fashion that would have brought a smile to a certain Jose Mourinho, they converted.
Drogba met a well-struck Juan Mata corner and headed an unstoppable, inch-perfect effort past a dumbstruck Neuer, who could only get a palm to the rocketed ball. Chelsea were on level terms.
Petr Cech Immortalizes Himself
It wasn't the best penalty from the Dutch No. 10, but Cech still did remarkably well to keep out, then smother Arjen Robben's injury-time spot-kick.
It had seemed for all the world as if Bayern were high and dry, but the script shifted once more. Just as it had all night.
Manuel Neuer Saves a Penalty, Then Converts One
It spoke to Bayern manager Jupp Heyneckes's confidence in his keeper that Neuer took the third spot-kick in the shootout.
And wouldn't you know it, after saving Juan Mata's effort, Neuer slotted a perfect penalty past Cech to keep his side in the lead.
The man who once said he could play as an outfielder in the German third division definitely backed up that claim with his effort.
Bastian Schweinsteiger Finds Misery
Upon first glance, it seemed a well-struck penalty.
Perhaps a bit soft, Schweinsteiger had placed his effort well, coaxing it toward the right edge of the goal. But Cech, who had been so good all game, made a terrific lunge to get his fingertips to the ball and deviate its path.
In an agonizing moment that seemed to stretch on, the ball struck the post before bouncing out.
Schweinsteiger was immediately distraught, shielding himself with the brim of his jersey. It spoke to teammate Philip Lahm, however, that he immediately rushed to Schweinsteiger's aid to console him.
Didier Drogba: It Was Written
As he would say following the match, "Life is beautiful."
There was no better way to sum up the end of the final for Didier Drogba. He'd provided the equalizer that forced extra time and then penalties and then, wouldn't you know it, he sent home the decisive penalty to give Chelsea the European crown owner Roman Abramovich has craved for so long.
His run-up was short and to the point: kind of like his approach to football. There are few players more decisive and incisive than Drogba. As much as it pains me to say, he will be missed from the English game.