UEFA Champions League: History of Shootouts in the Final
Since the introduction of the shootout, the idea of having 120 minutes of play decided by penalty kicks has been met with avid criticism.
To some they are pure luck, to others they are an art, but to the majority of fans they are the single most exciting (or dreadful) way to finish off a cup final. But as Laurent Blanc once said, “Penalties are awful, unfair, but what else is there?”
Looking back on Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final, Chelsea did not play their best game and Bayern Munich was not clinical in their finishing. The game had all the marks of a forgettable final until Müller and Drogba traded jabs and set up what was sure to be a memorable ending.
The highs and lows of penalty shootouts are fervently remembered by those who come out on top and seldom forgotten by those who fall just short. Chelsea and Bayern Munich are not alone; let’s take a look at the other clubs that have tasted shootout glory or defeat in UEFA Champions League finals.
1984 European Cup Final
The first time the top European club competition would be decided by a shootout came in 1984 in front of a sold-out crowd at Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Three-time winners Liverpool were to face Roma in what would practically be an away game for the Merseyside club. The Reds won the shootout, 4-2.
1986 European Cup Final
Led by midfielder Bernd Schuster and in front of an ecstatic crowd in Seville, Barcelona came into this game as heavy favorites. Steaua București were the first Romanian club to ever make it to the final and would become the first Eastern European team to win the tournament.
Romanian goalkeeper Helmuth Duckadam would go on to stop all four of Barcelona’s penalties and would earn the nickname, “The Hero of Seville,” in the 2-0 shootout victory.
1988 European Cup Final
Stuttgart hosted the 1988 final in a match that pitted two-time winners Benfica against a PSV team led by Ronald Koeman.
PSV manager Guus Hiddink looked to match wits with a Benfica side that was appearing in its sixth European Cup final and boasted legendary forward Eusebio as part of its coaching staff.
After 120 minutes of goalless action it was up to spot kicks to decide the winner. PSV won 6-5.
1991 European Cup Final
The French club came into the match as favorites with a team that included the leading scorer of the tournament and the man who would become the 1991 European Footballer of the Year, Jean-Pierre Papin.
After his team won the shootout, 5-3, Red Star coach Ljupko Petrovic said after the match:
We realized we could not really beat Marseille unless they made a mistake, so I told my players to be patient and to wait for penalties. We practiced penalties a lot in our closed training session on Tuesday and it paid off.
1996 UEFA Champions League Final
Hosted in Rome, the 1996 final was the first UEFA Champions League final to go to a shootout since the tournament changed names.
The game featured strong Dutch side Ajax, led by the likes of Edgar Davids, Patrick Kluivert and the de Boer twins, as well as Italian giants Juventus, who were armed with a young Alessandro Del Piero and current manager Antonio Conte, among others.
The Italians won on their home soil, 4-2.
2001 UEFA Champions League Final
Valencia came in to the match seeking to avoid its second consecutive final loss a year after falling against Real Madrid. Bayern Munich were led by captain Stefan Effenberg and German national team goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.
After trading penalty kicks in regulation and going scoreless in extra time, this became the first final in which all goals were scored from the 12-yard spot. Bayern won 5-4.
2003 UEFA Champions League Final
For the first time the UEFA Champions League final would be an all-Italian affair. Powerhouses AC Milan and Juventus would meet in Old Trafford to decide who would take home the trophy.
Juventus would be without their star midfielder Pavel Nedved thanks to a suspension. The game would end 0-0 through regulation and both periods of extra time, it was up to Gianluigi Buffon and Dida to decide the winner.
Milan won 3-2.
2005 UEFA Champions League Final
Hailed as the “Miracle in Istanbul,” this match proved to be one of the most exciting finals in recent memory.
After being down 0-3 at halftime, Liverpool mounted an unforgettable comeback to send the game into extra time before winning the shootout, 3-2.
AC Milan would have their revenge two years later and defeated Liverpool in Athens to claim their seventh European Cup/UEFA Champions League.
2008 UEFA Champions League Final
Moscow was the setting for the first all-English final. Sir Alex Ferguson and his Manchester United side faced Chelsea, a club who hoped to have a triumphant homecoming for their Russian billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Frank Lampard each tallied to send the game to extra time at one goal apiece. A scoreless extra frame set the stage for the penalty shootout, one that Chelsea captain John Terry won’t easily forget. He missed, and United won 6-5.
2012 UEFA Champions League Final
In front of their home crowd and against a Chelsea team that had limped its way into the final after surviving against Barcelona, Bayern Munich came in to this matchup as clear favorites.
Facing four key suspensions, Chelsea had to rely on the play of their most experienced players. Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech delivered when it mattered most and brought the cup to London for the first time in history after a 4-3 shootout win.