Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bayern Munich wins all-German Champions League final at Wembley


 Arjen Robben's late winner exorcised the demons that have haunted him and Bayern Munich in the Champions League as they won a pulsating all-Bundesliga encounter against Borussia Dortmund.
The tournament's recent history has offered little other than unrelenting misery for Robben and Bayern - but the agony is over after a colourful, enthralling final that confirmed Germany as the new power base of European domestic football.
Bayern had lost two finals in three years, including defeat on penalties to Chelsea in their own Allianz Arena 12 months ago, but on this occasion they cast off the tag of losers to claim the crown for the fifth time.
Only Real Madrid (nine) and AC Milan (seven) have won this tournament more times and the taste of victory was even sweeter for 29-year-old Robben and veteran Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who steps aside to hand over to Pep Guardiola at the end of this season.


Heynckes will have the chance to bow out with a Treble; Bayern have already won their league and face VfB Stuttgart in the German Cup final next Saturday.
Robben was reduced to tears at the final whistle after playing in Bayern's losing finals against Inter Milan and Chelsea, when he missed an extra-time penalty, and also losing semi-finals to Liverpool in 2005 and 2007 during his Stamford Bridge career.
And for 68-year-old elder statesman Heynckes, this was the perfect parting gift and proof of his enduring powers. He has provided a hard act for Guardiola to follow, even with his outstanding track record of success at Barcelona, which included two Champions League triumphs.
Robben, however, was the central figure as he set up Mario Mandzukic's first for Bayern on the hour but Dortmund, under the guidance of charismatic coach Jurgen Klopp, quickly equalised through Ilkay Gundogan's penalty after Dante fouled Marco Reus.
And Robben finally had his revenge on a competition that has been so cruel to him in the past, showing great composure to taken Frank Ribery's flick in his stride in the 89th minute and beat Dortmund's outstanding keeper Roman Weidenfeller.
Robben's goal was the decisive moment of a Champions League final that saw the Bundesliga come to London and deliver a powerful statement of intent about its current status.

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