Bayern Munich 1 Chelsea 1 aet; (Chelsea win 4-3 on pens): match report
It came down to this: Didier Drogba standing alone, facing the vast banks of the whistling Bayern Munich fans. This was his moment to make history.
In goal Manuel Neuer stood imposingly tall, stretching up to rattle the bar. Into that wall of noise, Drogba strode forward and struck the ball low and to his left. With what could prove his last kick of a ball in a Chelsea shirt, Drogba won the European Cup.
Frank Lampard and John Terry hoisted the trophy together as those Bayern players and supporters who could stomach it, watched on in disbelief. This was the fitting finale to European campaign that has stretched credibility.
Chelsea were written off in Naples, were given the longest of odds with 10 men in Barcelona and were a minute away from defeat here in the Allianz Arena, having been thoroughly outplayed by a classy Bayern side.
Yet the German club had wasted chance after chance before finally going a goal up with eight minutes to go thanks to Thomas Müller.
Chelsea had little more than faith to cling to. But it was enough. Drogba rose to smash in a header from Juan Mata’s corner with 89 minutes played to send the game into extra time. For the Bayern fans there were ominous echoes of their dramatic capitulation to Manchester United in 1999.
Arjen Robben then missed a penalty for Bayern, recklessly conceded by Drogba, and Bayern continued to miss chance after chance as Chelsea crept closer to the shoot out. It was a triumph of bloody-minded refusal to capitulate, and with it Chelsea have taken their place among the European aristocracy, become the 22nd club to win the European Cup. In a season when the likes of Lampard, Drogba and Ashley Cole were told they were finished, past it, they produced their greatest victory of all. Surely now Roberto di Matteo must be given the job of leading this Chelsea team into next season, his players gave everything for him, fighting through cramp and exhaustion to defy Bayern in their own stadium.
Roman Abramovich, who was seen clapping and signing along with the fans as they celebrated as secured his treasured ambition and the man that delivered it will surely be rewarded. Even in the shoot out, Chelsea had to come from behind. Philipp Lahm had already converted Bayern’s first penalty when Juan Mata saw his effort saved by Manuel Neuer. Both sides kept scoring until Bayern’s fourth effort, when Petr Cech plunged to his left to claw away Ivica Olic’s effort.
Ashley Cole whipped his effort past Neuer and then Cech pulled off his second heroic save, pushing Bastian Schweinsteiger’s effort against the foot of the post. Some of the Chelsea players thought that was it, the tension clearly getting to them as they ran onto the pitch in premature celebration. The calmer heads called them back. Drogba still had to apply the coup de grace.
As his team-mates celebrated wildly in front of their own fans, Drogba sought out Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger, seeking to console his vanquished rivals. The Bayern pair had been superb all game, as Bayern dominated Chelsea but Robben missed a penalty in extra time and Schweinsteiger missed the decisive penalty in the shoot out. It was a moment of dignified sportsmanship amid the turbulent emotion and recognition of what Bayern had given to this game. Bayern had begun with an imposing declaration of intent. As the kick off approached, the Bayern end unveiled a huge flag in the shape of the European Cup. The message on the accompanying banners made it clear: our city, our stadium, our trophy. An act of hubris? For much of the game it appeared a simple statement of fact. With Robben and Franck Ribery flying, Bayern threatened to overrun a Chelsea team that dropped deeper and deeper. Just as they had in the Nou Camp, though, Chelsea’s defenders hurled themselves in to tackles and blocks. Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Ashley Cole were superb, slamming the door every time Bayern seemed to push it open.
Luck played its part too. When Cech could only get a boot on to Robben’s low shot in the first half, it squirted up and hit the top of the post. Such are the fine margins between success and failure.
For most of the game Toni Kroos and Schweinsteiger kept weaving the ball around the pitch, keeping Chelsea claustrophobically trapped in their own penalty area, trying to slowly suffocate the fatigued men in blue. Chelsea’s attacks were sporadic, Drogba getting only fleeting sight of the ball. It took them over half an hour to register their first effort towards goal. Bayern just kept missing. Mario Gomez could not get the bounce of the ball and Robben’s shooting was all over the place. As the game drew to a close it was the energetic Müller carrying the threat. Cole was booked for bringing him down on the right after a neat run and then he had a far post header saved by Cech. You could not say that Chelsea had not been warned. It lent his goal a sense of inevitability. Kroos flighted an in-swinging cross from the corner of the penalty area on the Bayern left. Müller did not have much of an angle to work with but he deceived Cech by heading directly down into the turf, the ball bouncing up and past the Chelsea goalkeeper. The game was surely up. This Chelsea team do not know when they are beaten, though. With a minute left, and the Bayern fans celebrating, Chelsea won a corner on the right-hand side and Mata sent a crisp delivery into the near post. Drogba, soaring through the air, whipped his head through the ball, sending it hurtling in at the near post. The drama was only just beginning.
Congrats Chelsea! I think if you beat Barca you deserve to win. Well done.
Hell yeah! I can't believe they did it; after a very disappointing Premier league season, full of unhappy players, missed opportunities, a fired coach, and an unacceptable 6th place finish, these last few weeks have been so incredibly exciting, yet so incredibly improbable...First, the FA Cup and now the Champions League...Down to Napoli, had to go though Barc and hold them with only 10 men, and then to beat Bayern Munich at home in the final...what an incredible run...
Blue heaven: 200,000 cheering fans pack the streets to welcome back the Kings of Europe
At some of the busiest points, the parade route was 20-deep with fans in Chelsea kits.
You wait ages, then two come at once: Chelsea players parade with Champions League trophy and FA Cup Kent Gavin
It was the party Chelsea’s European heroes have been yearning for their whole careers.
After staying up all night in Munich, the boys from Stamford Bridge were still eager for more ecstatic celebrations - and their jubilant fans obliged.
More than 200,000 cheering supporters lined the streets of West London for the team’s open-top bus victory parade.
For players like John Terry and Frank Lampard it was the proudest moment of their careers.
Old Big Ears: Frank Lampard and John Terry arrive in London with the Champions League Trophy Splash News Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich on the team bus PA
And perched at the back of the bus to stay out of the limelight was billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, finally getting his hands on the prize he has craved for eight years.
The bus was greeted by a sea of chequered blue and white flags swaying in the chilly breeze.
Chelsea diehards climbed up trees and scaled walls to get a good view.
There was little that the police and hundreds of bussed-in security guards could do to prevent a crush at the front of the crowd which left several people needing medical attention from paramedics.
Chelsea fans celebrate as the team bring the European Cup to London AFP
Blue is the colour: Fans take to the streets with flags to welcome home their heroes AFP
This was a day like no other, and no one wanted to miss out.
At some of the busiest points, the parade route was 20-deep with fans in Chelsea kits.
Perched on the front rail of the double-decker blue bus was the object everyone wanted to clamp eyes on - the silver Champions League trophy.
As a cheer went up along the Fulham Road, the players - some looking the worse for wear from the previous night’s revelry - burst into broad grins.
Blowing his own trumpet: A young Chelsea fan showing his support AFP Blue boys: The Chelsea squad set off from Stamford Bridge on their victory parade AFP
Terry, who missed the final after being red-carded in the semi-finals, punched the air in triumph.
Team-mate Ashley Cole raised his arms aloft and started jumping up and down on the spot.
The crazy antics lasted the whole half-mile route, which took 40 minutes, with Spanish star David Luiz showing the most energy, his arms flailing as he bounced from side to side.
And penalty hero Didier Drogba lapped up the attention of his adoring followers.
Flying high: Chelsea fans gather to welcome home the Chelsea players AFP Four times a winner: Didier Drogba poses with the FA Cup Getty
Drogba, who at 34 looks set to leave Chelsea this summer, laughed as fans chanted: “Please don’t go”.
By scoring the equalising goal in the dying minutes of normal time and netting the spot kick to win the shootout 4-3 he will go down in club folklore whatever happens next.
His amazing efforts on Saturday night followed his match-winning goal which saw the west Londoners overcome Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley earlier this month.
Chelsea football club fans wait for the victory parade bus Reuters
Fans gather outside Stamford Bridge before the Chelsea parade PA
When the bus paused, it was team captain Frank Lampard who best summed up the previous night’s achievements.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” he shouted above the roar from the chanting crowd below.
“It was the most important night of our careers. It’s amazing to come back here and celebrate with all our fans.”
Handed the microphone and asked to say a few words, Terry led chants of “Champione, champione, ole, ole, ole”.
Scarf ace: A Chelsea fan shows his colours AFP
European Cup balloons: Chelsea now have their hands on the real thing AFP
All of the players wore team scarves, with Drogba wrapping one around his head.
And Roberto Di Matteo, the caretaker manager who has guided his side to a Cup double, said: “It’s a historical day for us today. We’ve waited a long time for this. It’s a fantastic day for Chelsea Football Club - champions of Europe.”
For many fans it was a sight they never believed would be possible.
Mingling with smiling children who have never known anything but success were many older supporters who remember leaner seasons.
Chelsea fans wait for the Chelsea victory parade Getty
Chelsea football club fans stand on a ledge as they wait for players to ride past AFP
Cleaner Keith Kalcher, 53, said: “I’ve been watching this team for 33 years. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would see this.
“Lots of people say we’ve bought success with Roman Abramovich but for me this team deserves everything they get. They’ve shown amazing spirit.”
Lining the route near Stamford Bridge stadium, Tony Farmer, 50, from Kingston, a gas installer who used to work with the Chelsea Women’s Team, said: “I was watching it at home and I was seriously crying my eyes out. I was literally hiding behind a pillow.
“I certainly picked the wrong day to give up smoking. I’ve been a fan for 43 years and I have followed them from when they were in the Second Division and to see them now - they are in a different class.
“It’s just brilliant. I never thought I’d see this. Apart from getting married and having my children this is the best day of my life.”
Diplomatic response: PM David Cameron celebrates Chelsea's win White House Frank Lampard holds the Champions League trophy aloft Adam Sorenson
Grandmother Lorraine Wells, 49, was in the crowd with daughter Carla Wells, 32, and grandson Ellis Wells, 20 months.
“For us all to be here today is so special,” she said. “Little Ellis doesn’t know what this means yet, but when he’s old enough I hope he’ll understand how amazing it was to be here for Chelsea’s biggest day.”
Souvenir stalls along the route mocked London rivals Tottenham Hotspur who lost out on a Champions League place because of Chelsea’s win.
T-shirts bore the slogan “Tottanic” alongside a picture of Harry Redknapp looking miserable.
But as the crowds filed home yesterday evening, most people were happy to relish their team’s triumph without having to gloat.
The bus drove back inside Stamford Bridge and the gates closed behind it to usher in another night of partying.
It could be a few days before Chelsea’s England international stars are ready to start training for this summer’s Euro 2012 Championships.
You can check out our other great content including Simon Mullock's match report, Andy Dunn's big match verdict and Dan Silver's gag-filled live blog.
John Terry and Ashley Cole pose with the Champions League trophy Getty Didier Drogba holds the Champions League trophy AFP Caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo (L) and Didier Drogba pose with the Champions League trophy Getty Always on time: The Chelsea bus leaves Stamford Bridge AFP
Chelsea fan and Daily Mirror columnist Fiona Phillips celebrating with the fans Adam Sorenson The Chelsea bus makes its way along the parade route Kent Gavin The victorious players wave to the crowds AFP Keeper of the Cup: Petr Cech (L) and Frank Lampard pose with the Champions League trophy Getty John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba pose with the Champions League trophy