Bayern Munich win Champions League

Arjen Robben scores late goal to give Bayern Munich victory over Dortmund and make amends for past disappointments.

Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich
Robben holds Champions League trophy after leading team to 2-1 victory and towards the treble [EPA]

Over 100,000 Germans were in London on Saturday as Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1 to become 2013 Champions League champions at Wembley. 

And the fans’ efforts to get to England were rewarded with a scintillating final.The all-German affair creating a Dutch hero – with Arjen Robben the difference on the night.

In a closely-fought contest, Robben created Mario Mandzukic’s opener and then scored a late winner after Ilkay Gundogan had equalised from the penalty spot.

Bayern can now achieve the treble under departing manager Jupp Heynckes if they defeat Stuttgart in the German Cup final next Saturday. 

“This means a lot. I still have not grasped it,” Robben said.

Then the last minute, I was quicker to the ball. I missed two chances before that but I stayed calm

– Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben

“There are so many emotions.

“Then the last minute, I was quicker to the ball. I missed two chances before that but I stayed calm.”

After a battle was played out by medieval knights in the opening ceremony, Germany’s modern day warriors took to the stage.

Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp looked nervous despite claiming his team were outsiders and that Bayern were the best team in the world.

However, it was Dortmund who started more brightly and that was not just down to the glow of their yellow jerseys.

The first-half was the battle of the keepers. Manuel Neuer being kept busy in the first 20 minutes, Roman Weidenfeller in the last 20.

The first real opportunity fell to Robert Lewandowski who unleashed a superb strike but was felled by Neuer who expertly tipped the ball over. Neuer then pulled off impressive saves from Jakub Blaszczykowski and Marco Reus.

Frank Ribery was the first Bayern player to show his frustration. The Frenchman lucky to avoid a red card after elbowing Lewandowski in the face.

While Neuer was a rock in the Bayern goal – opposite number Weidenfeller was a man mountain.

First he kept Thomas Mueller’s header out, then moments later his lightning quick thinking kept the game level. The Dortmund keeper rushing off his line to close down the approaching Robben.

Robben was looking the most aggressive of Bayern’s players but did lack some composure in front of goal. And despite Dortmund’s lively start it was Bayern who finished the half stronger.

Leaving it late

Dortmund were once again quick out the blocks. However, the danger of Bayern’s speedy attack was brutally realised on the hour mark.

Unsurprisingly Robben played a major part in the goal. Bayern taking the lead when Robben ran wide again but on this occasion managed to pass it across goal for Mario Mandzukic to tap in. It was Bayern’s 147th goal of a remarkable season.

In the crowd, the young Mario Goetze – who is on his way from Dortmund to Bayern – was expressionless.

But the game was not over.

Dortmund immediately surged forward and their efforts paid off when they were awarded a penalty when Dante kicked Reus in the area.

Ilkay Gundogan didn’t let the stature of Neuer bamboozle him, cooly smashing it low into the right corner in front of his expectant fans. Goetze’s celebrations in the crowd proving his heart was still with Dortmund afterall. 

But despite Dortmund pulling themselves back into the game, it was Bayern who looked more dangerous on the break.

Soon after the equaliser, brilliant and desperate defending from Neven Subotic saved Dortmund from falling behind again. The Dortmund defender stretching superhumanly to clear a Robben shot off the line after great work from Thomas Mueller.

Bayern pushed hard as the game neared the final whistle. David Alaba aiming a cracking drive at Weidenfeller and Mueller calling for a penalty after racing through Dortmund defenders.

The pressure was on Dortmund. But Weidenfeller was again up to the challenge with a great save from Bastian Schweinsteiger. 

However, just when it looked almost certain the match would go to extra time, one man had other ideas.

In the 89th minute, a possessed Robben made another fantastic run connecting with a Ribery flick to power himself into the danger zone and the ball into the net.

At that moment Robben made himself a hero – and Bayern forgot the pain of losing out to Chelsea in last year’s final.

It was the battle of Germany played out in England, but a Dutchman still managed to steal the show.   

Source: Al Jazeera