By Clark Whitney | German Football Editor
Ever since last summer, Bayern Munich dreamt of their chance to play the Champions League final on home soil. It was a rocky season for the German giants to say the least, but in Europe's elite club tournament they always did just enough, despite some stumbles along the way.
But in Saturday's final against Chelsea, the Bavarians did everything they could to avoid winning: after months of effort, it was as though they didn't want the trophy. A lack of sharpness in every way characterised their game, from putting just seven of their 35 attempts on target to conceding possession again and again in midfield. All the hallmarks of their game: the precision in finishing, the crisp, assured distribution in midfield, were abandoned.
|THE KEY MOMENTS
THAT COST BAYERN
|FROM OUR LIVE COMMENTARY|
|43'||GOMEZ FIRES MILES OVER!!! The German international turns Cahill brilliantly inside the Chelsea box only to then send his left foot shot high over Cech's crossbar. You could have put two goals on top of the Chelsea goal there and I don't think that would have found the back of the net. Awful finish from the Bayern striker!|
|95'||CECH SAVES IT!!!!!!! BRILLIANT STOP!! Robben fires the penalty low and hard but the Chelsea keeper gets down well to parry the ball and then fall onto it as Robben rushes towards the rebound. It remains 1-1 here!|
|108'||MASSIVE CHANCE FOR BAYERN!!! Olic volleys a deep cross to the back post across goal towards his fellow substitute Daniel Van Buyten, but the big centre-back is not on the same wavelength and fails to make any kind of attempt to divert the ball into the back of the net. Let off for Chelsea!|
Mario Gomez also had his chances, but after squandering two clear opportunities in the opening 43 minutes, his confidence subsided and he went silent. Franck Ribery, the greatest goal creator his team has seen in over a decade, delivered a performance to be forgotten. Out of all the players on the pitch, Philipp Lahm was the only to make a consistent impression.
Bayern caught a lifeline as Thomas Muller finally broke the deadlock with less than 10 minutes remaining, one that was well-earned and a long time coming, but somehow felt improbable. Jupp Heynckes promptly rewarded his hero by withdrawing him. Minutes later, Didier Drogba equalised from a set play, forcing extra time. It was all entirely avoidable, but Bayern did all they could not to win.
In extra time, and especially after Robben's penalty miss, Bayern were flatter still: weary and visibly shaken by their missed chances. Unmarked at the back post, substitute Ivica Olic had an open volley, but guided it wide. Another nail in the coffin.
To Chelsea's credit, they helped themselves. The Germans opened them up time and time again, but only for an instant - just as a player in red would take his shot, a man in blue would throw his body in front of the ball to make a block. But for his poor marking on Muller's goal, Ashley Cole had an outstanding game, saving three goal-bound attempts.
The penalty shoot-out that viewers could see coming a mile away eventually began, and once again Bayern threw away their advantage. Manuel Neuer saved Juan Mata's spot-kick and the Germans took an early lead. But Olic failed to convert, and Bastian Schweinsteiger stuttered his shot on to the post. It was enough of an invitation for Didier Drogba to settle the match, and that he did.
Bayern have no one to blame but themselves as they end their second season without a trophy. The German giants will never have a better chance to end their run of 11 years without the Champions League crown. Saturday night could have been the most glorious in Bayern's history, but they blew their chance to create history.
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