By Alan Duffy
Real Madrid 2-1 Bayern Munich (Agg 3-3) (Bayern win 3-1 on pens) – Champions League – 25th April ’12
That high-pitched screaming you can hear in the distance is UEFA bigwig Michel Platini howling at the Gods for not giving him the El Clasico final he and his fellow UEFA suits so desperately wanted. Instead, on a dramatic, penalty-strewn night in Madrid, Bayern Munich battled hard to push the game into extra-time and then penalties, where Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Sergio Ramos (with a right howler) fluffed their lines from the penalty spot. Midfield dynamo Bastian Schweinsteiger duly netted the winning pen for the Germans, who could even afford tame misses by Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm on their way to silencing the Bernebeu.
The three goals in normal time all came in the first half, with Ronaldo scoring a penalty before making it 2-0 with a fine side-footed finish. However, Arjen Robben netted his own spot-kick to set up an enthralling, if goalless second-half.
After another tense half-hour of extra-time, the game went to penalties and the rest is history. So, poor old Jose Mourinho won’t get his Chelsea final while, in a nice twist of fate, Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes, who won the Champions League with Los Merengues before swiftly getting the sack after that success, will see his side face Chelsea in Munich.
So Dutch star Robben, dribbler of dribbles, scorer of, er, scores and diver of dives will thus face his old team in the final and with home advantage, and against a Chelsea side hamstrung by suspension, surely Bayern will go into the game as favourites?