May 20th, 2012
12:03 PM ET

Fading Chelsea bury Bayern's dream

Bayern Munich fans were left disappointed after their team dominated the match. (Getty Images)
Bayern Munich fans were left disappointed after their team dominated the match. (Getty Images)

I've never seen so many people make so little noise. For an hour, after Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in a penalty shootout to win UEFA's Champions League, a silent throng of 40,000 red-shirted fans stumbled past me, faces fixed with an expression of stunned misery.

They weren't leaving the Allianz Arena, where the final was played, but Munich's Olympic stadium. Bayern's former home had sold out, even though the only football action on display there was on a giant screen.

From outside it sounded like a real match was going on inside and, for long periods, there were thunderous roars of approval as the local team dominated their English opponents. And that explains the shock; the empty stares as the Bayern faithful walked home wondering how on earth their team had lost.

Not all left meekly. Hearing the English accents, many threatened the CNN crew with violence but their fury wasn't really directed at us. We were easy targets. Bayern's fans were actually angry with the footballing gods, and with Chelsea.

 Jubilant Chelsea players parade trophy

All day Munich had been tapping its metaphorical foot to a carnival beat. The city was rocking; the blue of Chelsea overwhelmed by the red of Bayern as supporters sung, danced and drank under a gloriously sunny sky.

Yet that joyous abandon was extinguished by another odds-defying display from a Chelsea side who have reveled in their underdogs tag.

Penalty shootout drama in Munich

How could a team that had finished down in sixth place in England's Premier League, that had been in disarray when Roberto Di Matteo replaced Andre Villas-Boas as manager in February, that rode its luck to beat Barcelona in the semi-finals, overcome the combined talents of Mario Gomez, Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller?

As the 2011 champions from Spain had discovered in the previous round, football isn't won on paper. It's not enough to dominate the statistics. Bayern had 21 goal attempts to Chelsea's six. The German club earned 20 corners, Chelsea just one.

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soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Tito

    from one corner they got the goal in last minute.does it still not prove they are good.defend well go for goal if needed and get it and defend.

    May 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  2. Mpunga Patrice

    Chelsea deserved that title, all players were commuted to won. The interim coach deserves a full contract.
    Bravo Chelsea and all worldwide fans.

    May 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  3. Mark Biram

    incredible result!! large chunks of the game were a poor spectacle, compared to last year it was appalling, in fact. chelsea defended very well though, and took their chance when it came. pleased for young bertrand too, in this first CL game.

    bayern had their chances. first they had a lead with just moments to go and failed to defend a corner, basic. second, how robben will rue that penalty miss! and finally they even had the advantage in the shootout. from a munich point of view, to have all that happen in their own backyard must be even more sickening than 1999.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  4. Kabuting Kidlat

    Football is football and that is it. There can only be one winner even though penalty kicks do suck. Neither Chelsea nor Bayern played their best game. Both played better in the semi-final matches because they were more prepared. Chelsea won ok but with a lot of luck. 6th place in the premier league with 65 goals. Uncomparable to Real Madrid nor Barcelona who had played the Liga and the Champions league to the last drop. Well if Chelsea really want to be the true champions well i think they would have to just rightly defend this title and this time they would need more work for that and not luck. Chelsea is the champ but not the best. I am sorry to say that. Football is football!!!

    May 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  5. dave55ides

    As Gary Neville said from the start "it was just meant to be." Bayern absolutely should have won the game, but they threw away too many chances. And then they take their goal scorer off immediately after he's put them ahead. The manner of Chelsea's wins against both Barcelona and Bayern is classic Italian defensive style. Keep the shape, defend in depth and hit them on the break. It's not pretty but it's compelling theater. And you have to hand it to Chelsea that, when they did attack, they were very dangerous.

    May 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  6. alehandro

    Big props to Chelsea who were one of the teams at the forefront of the "crisis" in English football according to your esteemed colleague, Pedro Pinto, who's been an epic fail with most of his predictions this season. The fact is Chelsea were simply smarter and braver than Barcelona and Bayern Munich. As underdogs they set out not to lose in the hope of sneaking a win and it worked. It wasn't pretty but better to be an ugly winner than an attractive loser.

    May 20, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Reply
  7. nat bimpong

    simply admit the fact that didier drogba is a legend,punkt.

    May 21, 2012 at 8:28 am | Reply
  8. HAHA

    It was a great game. I pity those who can't appreciate a good defensive game. Anyone who has ever competed knows the satisfaction that comes with a good defensive game. It is appreciated in every sport besides soccer....there it defending seems to be some kind of sin.

    If anything, this European season has proved you need to defend first, attack second....ask Pep if you don't believe me.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  9. HoM

    its just because of superstars that change the result in a second ,,,,, Bavarian duds didnt have player like drugba,,,,,

    May 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  10. Anjte Hages

    Chelsea well deserved! Bayern were played off the field one week before. Dortmund won by 5-2 over Bayern. One could imagine what would be left of Chelsea had they been made to pay Dortmund.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  11. claudio

    Congratulations to Chelsea. I am happy that it was an Italian coach who guided them to victory. Personally I also prefer open attacking football but with the current rules it's the defensive counter attacking teams that win. If, for example, in case of a draw.... the team that shot at goal more often would be designated the winner then, in my opinion, both teams would attack more. I would also like to see the baskeball time limit rule applied in soccer so that the teams cannot keep endlessly passing the ball around the field without taking a shot at goal. The use of the "sin bin" instead of the yellow card would also make the game more interesting...

    May 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  12. obsthetimes

    the english love to stick it to the germans. They like it even more when the germans are miserable.
    The BBC ran hour long shots of forlorn bayern fans. Call is sadism or schadenfreude..
    Chelsea should justifiably be proud of themselves. Drogba is indeed a god.
    But as a Bayern supporter, I know that Munich was the better side and the english will get thrashed in Euro 2012 and Brazil 2014. Consider it a done deal.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  13. KHAN

    Chelsea believed in Quality ( Getting one corner and converted to goal ) while others attacking teams keep attacking but failing to convert ( 20 corners to Bayen... Simply quantity ). If you don´t agree then ask Barcelona and Munich.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  14. CY

    Attack and defence are components of football. You only decide which component to amplify. The duty of attack is to unlock the defence while the duty of the defence is to thwart an attack.Chelsea executed its strategy successfully while Bayern failed to utilise its chances. Congratulations Chesea! you rock.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  15. USA/CIV

    I simply don't understand why people talk about the negative tactics. They were missing three of their star defensive players (considering Ramires both a defensive and an offensive threat; a very complete and exciting young player) What would you have asked DiMatteo to do? The goal of the Champions League is to win. He didn't cheat. He simply analyzed his team's strengths and weaknesses and put a plan together to win. If Chelsea had Ivanovic, Ramires, Terry and Ramires, the tactics would most certainly been different.

    If anyone watched film of the Barcleona, Chelsea semifinal in 2009 you would have seen that in the second leg, Chelsea did in fact open up and attack. A smaller, physically weaker Barcelona squad was forced to foul Chelsea to prevent goals and it worked. Chelsea got no calls in their favor, including two (maybe 3) clear penalty kicks, while Barcelona scored a late goal to advance. As a coach, playing Barcelona, based on that history, I would have assumed that again we were going to get no calls in our favor and would have played a tactically conservative game as well.

    Kudos to Drogba, Lampard, Cech. Kudos to Chelsea. Great, great win.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  16. mike

    what a cheap way to win any title... penalty kicks. it's the championship for crying-out-loud. keep playing until another goal is scored. play until the wheels fall off and then keep going until someone scores

    May 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  17. halit özcan

    Das deutsche Team Bayern hatte kein Glück.
    Bayern gewinnen wir wären besser.
    Bdedir çayı 43
    Where is Aizanoi

    May 21, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Reply
  18. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Drogba and his colleagues have been together for long. It is not easy to write them off. Home and away they play to a plan especially in the big matches. Such a team can be written off only by their rivals on a given match day. Napoli, Barça, Liverpool and Bayern never wrote them off. Why should others ?

    Congratulations to Roberto Di Matteo, Lampard, Cech, Drogba, Obi, Kalou, Mata, Bertrand, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Boswinga, Malouda, Fernando Torres, Ramires, JT, Ivanovic and Meirelles.

    May 22, 2012 at 7:01 am | Reply
  19. Jor

    Chelsea were not lucky, they scored more than Bayern dave55ides. That's how they won. There is no luck in football. Get that to your head all who talk of luck. You miss your chances your opponent gets theirs. period. Well done Chelsea though the game had a lot of dull spots for a final.

    May 22, 2012 at 8:24 am | Reply
  20. tito

    WHO's AYING SOMETHING ...CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE MOST ELLITE COMPETITION FIRST CLUB IN LONDON TO WIN ...OLD PLAYERS WHAT???BAYERN BLUNDERED ROBBEN SUFFERED From the world cup hangover lolol lol.Drogba is a beeeeeaaasttt!!!!IT IS ABOUT QUALITY NOT QUANTITY .bayern lesson learned ich hoffe auch das nechste saisn besser sein werde ,aber jetzt nach hause gehen und sehr sehr gut schlafen lal order lol ha haha!!!

    May 22, 2012 at 9:37 am | Reply
  21. Paul H

    I think you have to put Chelsea's achievement in some perspective. The match was played on Munich's home ground, in front of a stadium packed with their supporters. Chelsea had four key players (including their Captain) suspended. Moreover the two central defenders who played had to be rushed back from injuries and were nowhere near 100% fit. Bayern had more possession (55%) and more chances, but most of these were weak long range efforts. Petr Cech hardly had to make a save the whole game (until the penalties). Chelsea on the other hand always looked dangerous on the break. All in all this was an epic victory.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  22. Chisco

    am very happy for chelsea especially drogba he have prove his african so sorry for those that says chelsea didnt derseve the title.chelsea beat barcelona the consider as the world best because the play primary school ball.i understand what some people think about wining a football game.the should go and ask BARCELONA

    May 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  23. Benedict

    I saw a match which pitted an English team that had to fight to the very end without playing the most attractive football against a German side that had an entire nation behind them.At the end, the Blues of London walked away with the trophy. Football is such a crazy sports that's way it's loved by it's fans and hated by others. UP THE BLUES!!!!!

    May 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  24. Nermin Vazda

    Chelsea deserved this more than any other side. Everyone wrote them off (even their own manager AVB stated it will be impossible to beat Napoli in England). Luck or talent? They scored four goals and out of all the trouble they faced Barcelona, talk about luck. They managed to defeat them over 180 minutes. You can't call it luck, most teams defend against Barca, but Chelsea defended and attacked too.
    Hate them or love them, they are the champions of europe.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  25. Moja Moja

    The Africans won the cup. Period.

    May 22, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  26. franxyzko


    May 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  27. Paul Borgaily

    A large part in winning a football game is composure. This is how Chelsea was able to overcome the passing games of Barcelona and Bayern. Defend and wait for just the right opportunity. It's so clear they did this to perfection. Chelsea's strength is in the experience of it's team and the composure they have to always stay focused no matter what. The better team won, and they won by calmly outwitting the other side. UEFA also earned itself a new team in its roster of champions. Chelseas' first time well earned and deserved. Congratulations.

    May 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  28. savey


    May 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  29. Eddie

    Simply a stunning performance.

    Bayern were not as effective as they could have been.

    Chelsea were stunning and worth winners

    May 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  30. frank

    I don't ever think I would be so happy again in my life than the day the GLORIOUS TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE CHELSEA won the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CUP.It isn't because I am a Chelsea Fun but it was a day I Really had a fulfilled DREAM. NEVER in my life have I become so fulfilled and achieved in my entire LIFE. Not even on my marriage day or my employment day or on the day I had my first born. I actually sat on tentahooks all one hundred and twenty hours of the match. In the nutshell, I have also learned ONE GREAT LIFE'S EXPERIENCE and that is EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE WITH DETERMINATION. My little advice is that Chelsea should revamp the team with NEW YOUNG PLAYERS and they SHALL LIVE FOREVER.

    May 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  31. nandwa aukah collins

    chelsea really did great though they were not favourites to many fans expected either real madrid or barcelona to win but who gave a second look at the rampant chelsea?

    June 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
  32. castrol

    are seriousy 40,000 people without making any noise -- Didia drogba is a small god 4 sure

    June 4, 2012 at 10:28 am | Reply

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