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Super Bayern crowned champions of Europe

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Super Bayern crowned champions of Europe

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat May 25, 2013 9:50 pm

After twice coming up agonisingly short in the last four years, Bayern finally claimed the Champions League trophy on Saturday night with a 2-1 victory over domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 final at Wembley. Arjen Robben's last-gasp strike secured FCB's fifth triumph in Europe's elite club competition, setting the seal on an exceptional campaign from the Reds, who can complete a historic treble if they win the DFB Cup against Stuttgart next weekend.

The 86,000 full house at the footballing shrine in north London saw a subdued opening from Jupp Heynckes' men with Manuel Neuer forced into a string of important saves, but FCB warmed to the task midway through the half and created the better of the chances, Mario Mandzukic and Arjen Robben both going close.

Both teams went for it after the break but it was the Bundesliga champions who opened the scoring, Mandzukic turning in Robben's cut-back on the hour. Ilkay Gündogan levelled from the spot eight minutes later as the action grew increasingly frenzied, but it was Robben, so often the unlucky man in recent finals, who coolly finished Ribery's lay-off with just a minute left to play.

Once the joyous celebrations are over, the focus turns to the DFB Cup final in Berlin next weekend, where FCB start as overwhelming favourites against south German rivals VfB Stuttgart.

Most observers felt Heynckes had tried out his line-up for Wembley in last week's final Bundesliga fixture away to Mönchengladbach, and the 68-year-old did indeed name an unchanged team for the biggest match of the season, with the likes of Daniel van Buyten, Luiz Gustavo, Xherdan Shaqiri and Mario Gomez taking seats on the subs' bench.

FCB's starting line-up comprised Neuer in goal, a back four of captain Philipp Lahm, Dante, Jerome Boateng and David Alaba, the central midfield pairing of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez, and a fearsome attacking unit of Robben and Franck Ribery out wide, and Thomas Müller in the hole behind lone striker Mandzukic.

Dortmund boss Jürgen Klopp fielded his best available side, lacking injured Bayern-bound wunderkind Mario Götze, but featuring former FCB youth Mats Hummels at centre-back, sinuous schemer Gündogan pulling the midfield strings, and potent Polish hitman Robert Lewandowski at the sharp end of an attacking diamond.

Once Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli whistled play underway, the sides wasted no time looking for the initiative with Dortmund shading the opening quarter of an hour, Kuba Blaszczykowski lofting a half-chance into the crowd, and Neuer twice making very good saves, first from Lewandowski's long-range curler, and then sharply at his near post from Kuba's shot on the turn.

BVB keeper Roman Weidenfeller claimed Martinez' centre, but Neuer was in action again on 19 minutes to beat away a Marco Reus drive, before the keeper got down well to Sven Bender's low dribbler. A rebound off the referee set Bayern up to counter attack but Hummels made a timely interception, before Weidenfeller reacted superbly to tip Mandzukic' 26th-minute header onto the bar and out for a corner.

Munich were finally up to operating temperature now and Müller stretched to release Robben, only for Weidenfeller to save the Dutchman's prod at goal. At the other end, Lewandowski wriggled free but Neuer stood up well to deny the Pole, before Robben was crowded out at the by-line by Neven Subotic. A Reus drive flew wide, and Weidenfeller blocked Robben's next close-range effort with his face as the half ended goalless.

The second half opened at a breakneck pace, Alaba and Hummels both making important saving tackles, before Mandzukic failed to get power behind a header from a corner. The Croat went one better on the hour when Ribery brilliantly released Robben for a thrust to the by-line, the Dutchman unselfishly laying off for Mandzukic to side-foot into the unguarded net.

BVB were awarded a penalty on 67 minutes when Dante clumsily challenged his former Gladbach team-mate Reus in the box, Gelsenkirchen-born Gündogan sending Neuer the wrong way to level from the spot. It was all-action stuff now as Hummels fired over the bar, Subotic incredibly cleared Müller's cross off the goal line with Robben just inches behind him, the Germany forward having skipped past the BVB keeper in brilliant fashion, and Weidenfeller beat out Alaba's thunderous drive.

Müller screamed for a foul or even a penalty after a tussle with Subotic which ended with Mandzukic shooting into the side-netting, and Weidenfeller fisted Schweinsteiger's swerver away to safety with only three minutes left, but Robben brought the red half of the stadium to its feet with the calmest of finishes from Ribery's neat through pass in the 89th minute. Neuer saved sub Julian Schieber's shot in the first of three stoppage time minutes, before Mr Rizzoli blew for full time and Bayern's joy was complete.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley
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