Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea: How the Blues Pulled off the Impossible

Alex Hall@@AlexKHallCorrespondent IIIMay 20, 2012

MUNICH, GERMANY - MAY 19:  Chelsea fans support their team during UEFA Champions League Final between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea at the Fussball Arena München on May 19, 2012 in Munich, Germany.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The 2012 Chelsea squad etched their place in history yesterday when they became the first version of the team to win the Champions League final.

The Blues ran through Napoli, Benefica and pulled off the improbable by defeating Barcelona to reach the final game. Then Chelsea and manager Roberto Di Matteo used classic Italian tactics to defeat Bayern Munich in their home country of Germany to win the tournament.

Bayern's attack lead by Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery kept Chelsea on their heals for much of the match, with the German club notching 35 shots on goal to the Blues' mere nine.

"If you see the game we played tonight you would have never thought that Chelsea would walk away as the winners," Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer told Sports Illustrated.

The Blues didn't have the most ball possession or corner kicks or shots on goal between the two teams, but they were able to weather the storm of their opponent's attack and make the most of their offensive possessions.

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay told The Guardian that Matteo has a lot do with this historic run by his club:

"He's done an amazing job, Robbie. He's enabled the players to get back the confidence they used to have and he's really got the players performing."

Matteo implemented a classic defensive strategy by many Italian clubs and national teams over the years. Rely on the defense to hold the opposing strikers at bay and make sure your offense has their counterattacks pay off.

While Bayern was the first to score, late in the match Chelsea veteran Didier Drogba did what he does best, score goals with a brilliant header. That allowed Chelsea to bring the match into overtime, where both teams failed to score, setting up Drogba for his game- and tournament-winning penalty kick.

Chelsea's simple strategy paid dividends and despite Bayern's home-crowd advantage and superior possession percentage, the Blues brought their first Champions League title home to London.