It was the Allianz Arena – Bayern playing against a declining and considerably weakened Chelsea squad at home in the Champions League final. The stage was set in all its grandeur for Europe’s most trophy-laden club to add to their collection of silverware. The only thing that remained for their fearsome line-up was to score a couple of goals. But, when it looked like Goliath would crush David then came a fairytale ending for a side that has finished outside the top three in their league for the first time in 10 years.
Even Roberto Di Matteo would fail to explain the logic behind Chelsea’s win after they were outplayed by a untiring Bayern team.
One very clear observation from the Champion’s League final was that Bayern’s core crumbled not by Chelsea’s play but by the pressure they put on themselves. There is no other reason that can explain their loss. From the start Chelsea showed an attitude as though there would be a second leg. Even in the semi-finals, they showed some grit and resolve in their defending. But, yesterday’s match was something which looked like schoolboy defending. Bertrand looked out of place, Petr Cech got lucky once and Cahill could not impose himself on any Bayern attacker. The only person who showed command and played some football in that team was Ashley Cole. Though he was partially at fault for the goal from the set-piece, he must be praised for the way he juggled around from his left-back position and put in tackles against the likes of Muller and Schweinsteiger.
Another noticeable observation was Robben’s failure at the big stage, again. This not the first time this season. Even in the Bundesliga match against Dortmund, Robben missed the decisive penalty just like yesterday night. Had he scored both these penalties, Bayern would have ended the season with two trophies. The best part of both the penalty misses was that they were taken identically, both were the same weak left footed shots aimed at the bottom corner, easily stopped.
Last but not the least, Bayern cannot help it but, they were truly unlucky last night. There can be no justification that a team with the likes of Gomez, who has scored 41 times this season, could not produce a single moment of magical madness to get the trophy. Love it or hate it, Di Matteo’s park-the-bus tactic has done it again for Chelsea and this time it has brought home what Roman Abrahmovic regards as the Holy Grail. It’s a fact that the best team did not win but one the other hand, it’s also a testament to the sheer determination with which this Chelsea squad, all composed of walking legends, has shown after a miserable showing in their domestic league.
So, come what may, no one can take away that glory from Chelsea and they owe it all to one man, Robert Di Matteo. His tactics might be questionable but his legendary status at the club will no more be questioned.
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