Bayern Munich have beaten Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the first-ever all-German Champions League final. Arjen Robben scored the decisive goal in the closing minutes, assisted by his partner-in-crime Franck Ribery.
Bayern Munich sealed their first Champions League crown in 12 years at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday, courtesy of a last-gasp winner from Arjen Robben.
“It was such a tight game, it was really on eye level,” Robben said after the game. “Then that last minute, I reacted to Franck, he put the ball into my path and I was able to slot it home. This means so very much to me that I can’t really get a grasp on it. So many emotions.”
Both keepers played well with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer rescuing treble-chasing Bayern Munich’s repeatedly to keep the score goalless at halftime, blocking efforts from Robert Lewandowski, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Sven Bender and Marco Reus.
Dortmund’s Roman Weidenfeller was also called into action in the first half – the first effort hailing from Mario Mandzukic, followed by a pair of one-on-ones with Arjen Robben that the Dortmund goalie stopped.
Mario Mandzukic broke the deadlock for Bayern Munich after the break. Again, Arjen Robben and Ribery combined down the left, with Robben just managing to square the ball across the face of goal for Mandzukic to tap home from point-blank.
Eight minutes later, Ilkay Gündogan buried a spot kick after a Dante foul on Marco Reus. This immediately tied the score up for Dortmund, but the goal served as inspiration for Bayern to dominate the remainder of the game.
Bayern’s extended pressure paid off on 88 minutes. Franck Ribery did brilliantly to control a long ball on the edge of the box and feed Robben to side-foot the ball past Weidenfeller.
A tale of two coaches
Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp had kind words for his opposite number on the touchline after the game, referring to outgoing Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes as “a brilliant coach.”
“I don’t begrudge him this,” Klopp said on Sky television, using a German word “gönnen” with a more positive connotation than most English translations. He added: “I say he deserves this, with all my heart.”
After losing in Munich to London club Chelsea last season, Heynckes sealed his second Champions League crown, having lifted the title in 1998 with Real Madrid. A day after that 1998 win, he was ousted for the more fashionable Dutch coach Guus Hiddink – an experience that might have helped him deal with Bayern’s acquisition of Josep Guardiola for next season.
In his three Champions League campaigns since the competition bore its current name, Heynckes has therefore made three finals and won two titles.
“In the first half, especially, we struggled to find our feet,” Heynckes said after the game. “I made some corrections in the half-time break. The burden of being favorites was clear to see in the opening 20 minutes, but little by little we freed ourselves up and played markedly better after the break.”
Bayern’s core stakes its claim
Captain Philipp Lahm was elated after the game, conceding that “the pressure was enormous” after the disappointing final defeats in 2010 and 2012. As a Bayern veteran and star, he said that he and his colleagues were aware that they could only talk about a “golden generation” at Bayern if they started claiming major silverware.
“Bastian [Schweinsteiger] and I have played together for 16 years, right from the youth setup,” Lahm said of his deputy in midfield after the game. “Now we want to win the treble.”
Bayern will seek a famous “treble” next weekend, when they take on Stuttgart in the German Cup final – a side they beat 6-1 and 2-0 in their Bundesliga encounters this season.
For Dortmund, who won the club’s first domestic double last season, the defeat concluded a season devoid of silverware after two Bundesliga-winning campaigns. Bayern, league champions by a massive 25 points this time around, claimed European glory as well as the Bundesliga.
Including its previous guise as the European Cup, Bayern have now won the competition five times. This moves them to equal third position in the all-time winner’s list, tied with Liverpool and behind seven-time winners AC Milan and nine-time champions Real Madrid.