FanDuel - WFBC

May 19, 2012

Chelsea Wins Champions League: Chelsea has won the Champions League for the first time in the club's 107-year history. Minutes from elimination after a Thomas Mueller goal for Bayern Munich in the 83rd minute in front of a home crowd, Chelsea scored on a Didier Drogba header in the 88th minute to tie the match 1-1. No more goals were scored, so the match was decided on penalties, 4-3. Drogba scored the decider past keeper Manuel Neuer.

posted by rcade to soccer at 06:21 PM - 27 comments

I don't think that Chelsea Bayern final could have had anymore drama. Amazing.

posted by insomnyuk at 06:22 PM on May 19

Another epic. How can you not bring back Di Matteo and Drogba after this?

I thought early in penalties that Bayern had it. Manuel Neuer was so big in goal he looked like Patrick Roy back there.

posted by rcade at 06:26 PM on May 19

Sucks to be Tottenham. I think I heard this win costs them $36 million.

posted by rcade at 06:43 PM on May 19

Not only did Drogba score the equalizer and the final PK, he kicked Ribery's heel hard enough to put him out of the game, to be replaced by Olic, the first Bayern player to miss in the shootout. Of course the foul on Ribery was dicey, but with a dependable goalie like that, well, in retrospect it was as wise as a rash, idiotic challenge in the box can get.

Cech did a hell of a job today -- the overtime PK save was crucial, as of course were the ones in the shootout -- and Ashley Cole was a wall.

I had hoped Bayern would win because I rather like Spurs, but once the match was underway, and without John Terry on the pitch, I found it easy to root for Chelsea to beat the Germans at home. For a game decided by penalties, it was a lot of fun.

posted by Hugh Janus at 07:39 PM on May 19

Urgh. I see that George Osborne was celebrating with Roman Abramovich. 2012 in English football: oligarchs and sheikhs and Tories, oh my.

posted by etagloh at 08:21 PM on May 19

Another epic. How can you not bring back Di Matteo and Drogba after this? I actually see it the other way. I think this might be the perfect time for Roman to clean house - DiMatteo, Drogba, Terry, maybe Lampard too. The stars are aging, and I truly don't see how they can repeat this sort of march through the Champions League again. There were just too many improbable wins and they were clearly the lesser side today. Let's not forget they finished 6th in the EPL (though maybe they could have nicked 4th if they'd cared more about the league the last few weeks). DiMatteo was a great motivator the last couple months, but I'm not sure he's the guy you want to shape that rebuilding project.

posted by sbacharach at 08:57 PM on May 19

G8 summiteers watch the penalty kicks:

posted by rcade at 11:55 PM on May 19

Last week, The Guardian ran an article saying that because of the international nature of the team lineups, the match wasn't really a case of England v Germany.

Clearly, since the English team won on penalties.

posted by owlhouse at 07:14 AM on May 20

Clearly, since the English team won on penalties.

And most of England was supporting the German team.

posted by etagloh at 10:40 AM on May 20

Chelsea only had one corner kick the entire match and scored on it.

posted by rcade at 11:29 AM on May 20

Let's not forget Bayern's amazing run: they actually made me root for Chelsea. As football fans go, I'm pretty ignorant, so I want to ask the group, am I wrong to detest Arjen Robben? To my untrained eye, he seems like an incredibly talented person who squanders his talent flopping around and crying.

posted by yerfatma at 11:58 AM on May 20

Chelsea only had one corner kick the entire match and scored on it.

posted by yerfatma at 12:22 PM on May 20

an incredibly talented person who squanders his talent flopping around and crying

Robben may do his share of flopping around and crying (as do too many footballers), but not at the expense of squandering his talent. He is a gifted winger with an incredible left foot. The Chelsea defense did a better job than many teams of closing him down quickly whenever he cut in from the right side to try for a strike from outside the box.

posted by sbacharach at 08:45 PM on May 20

an incredibly talented person who squanders his talent flopping around and crying

Another way to look at it is that his willingness to go to ground is sometimes what buys him a little bit of extra space in which to display his talent. If a defender knows you'll go down easily, and that maybe half the time (or more) the referee will find in your favour when you do, that defender will either back off altogether, or at least hesitate for just long enough for you to make him look silly.

It also buys him space every now and then when a defender flies in at him, misses the ball and the man, then turns to the referee to protest his innocence, assuming that Robben will go down. Thing is, he doesn't always fall down, so while the defender is protesting a foul that hasn't even been given, Robben is away and charging up the line.

Some might call it cynical play from the Ducthman; I'd call it a small guy making the most of what he's got. I really rate him. He's got that rare thing that only a few are blessed with - everyone knows what he's going to do, but they still struggle to stop him doing it.

posted by JJ at 08:06 AM on May 21

One of the key moments was Schweinsteiger getting a yellow card early in the game for a needless, pointless, deliberate hand-ball. He backed out of several challenges later in the game, presumably not wanting to risk picking up another yellow. When I've watched Bayern this year, he's been key in breaking up the opposition play with some crunching tackles. He drifted in and out of the game a bit after he got booked.

Another key time was when the penalty had been awarded in extra time and Ribery mucked about on the ground for three minutes. I don't doubt that he was properly hurt, but some presence of mind on someone's part might have got him shifted off the pitch as quickly as possible so that they could get on with taking the penalty. What was vital was that Mikel Jon Obi didn't leave Robben's side for those three minutes. He paced around next to him, talking at him. That was smart (if not exactly dripping with sportsmanship). I also thought it was odd that Bayern let Robben take it, given that as a Chelsea player, he had presumably taken lots of penalties in training against Petr Cech, which would give a bit of an advantage to the keeper I'd have thought.

About the only Chelsea players that underperformed for me were Mata and David Luiz - or Spanish Wayne Rooney and Sideshow Bob, as I prefer to think of them. Oh, and Kalou, who should be sold at once; possibly to a circus.

posted by JJ at 08:19 AM on May 21

Great stuff, thanks guys.

posted by yerfatma at 09:24 AM on May 21

Robben tries to do too much on his own IMHO. If I was his teammate I would be incredibly frustrated. And after he missed that penalty, I would have put Tiger Balm in his jock.

I wanted Bayern to win, not because of my dislike of Sp*rs, but because of my dislike of John Terry and Cashly Hole. Glad the former wasn't on the pitch.

posted by scully at 09:37 AM on May 21

"I also thought it was odd that Bayern let Robben take it, given that as a Chelsea player, he had presumably taken lots of penalties in training against Petr Cech, which would give a bit of an advantage to the keeper I'd have thought."

Apparently Cech had a three hour DVD of every penalty every Bayern player had taken since 2007, including reserve goalie Jorg Butt. Of the penalties he faced, the only one he hadn't see before was Neuer.

Cech said of Robben that despite his time at Chelsea he couldn't guess which way he was going to go, as Robben is about 50/50 in going left or right and, importantly, doesn't alter his run up at all based on where he's going to put the ball.

Cech added that at this stage of the game everyone is tired and when you're tired you go for power, not finesse. Cech is left footed, like Robben and said if he was going to belt a spot kick he'd go for the right, so he dived that way.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:40 AM on May 21

Jupp Heynckes ought to be fired--he lost the match by substituting Mueller and changing up the team's style of play five minutes from the end. If he'd brought on a more defensive minded midfielder that would be one thing but a central defender coming on put a central defender in midfield and left too much room for Chelsea, especially after extra time began.

With so little time left and finally getting the winning goal, coaches should only substitute for fresh legs or injuries. As with American football the prevent defense is only good for preventing your team from playing defense.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:55 AM on May 21

Also, Luiz should have gotten a second yellow in the second half for a nasty tackle, possibly even a straight red, and that the ref was so lenient was disappointing.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:56 AM on May 21

That's some interesting insight, Bismarck. Quality.

posted by JJ at 12:03 PM on May 21

Luiz should have gotten a second yellow in the second half for a nasty tackle, possibly even a straight red...

If he'd been booked for that, I might have stopped watching football forever. I'd argue (without statistics or really any common sense to back me up, of course) that there were fewer injuries, and less career-threatening injuries, in days gone by when everyone flew in all over the place. In those days, you didn't stand your ground and try to "draw a foul" before swan diving like they do now. As a consequence, the tackles were harder, but people knew how to get out of the way of them, or ride them.

It's a contact sport, people are going to get hurt, even without malice on either side, tackles get badly timed and studs end up where they shouldn't. If a lot of these prima dona morons knew how to get out of the way instead of standing about trying to get taken out, we'd have to watch a lot less footage of them collapsing like empty sacks. Messi rides a tackle better than anyone in the game; I think it's no coincidence that he's also considered the best in the world by many.

posted by JJ at 12:09 PM on May 21

Jupp Heynckes ought to be fired--he lost the match by substituting Mueller and changing up the team's style of play five minutes from the end.

With a lead. In the Champion's League final. Correspondingly, should we enshrine managers in the Hall of Fame for brilliant moves in the pre-season?

posted by yerfatma at 01:02 PM on May 21

"If he'd brought on a more defensive minded midfielder that would be one thing but a central defender coming on put a central defender in midfield and left too much room for Chelsea, especially after extra time began."

Tymoshchuk was a midfielder playing in defence for 85 minutes, not a defender playing in midfield for five. The bulk of his 100+ international caps have come in midfield and he's listed by Bayern as a midfielder.

Meanwhile, a great throwaway line from James Richardson in his paper review : "Chelsea's best night with a German outfit since Harry wore fancy dress to bed."

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:31 PM on May 21

Richardson teased the post-match Football Weekly as so good "even Gomez couldn't miss it." I was also pleased to see I wasn't the only one puerile enough to have been fascinated with certain crowd shots. And how they lingered.

posted by yerfatma at 02:57 PM on May 21

Tymoshchuk was a midfielder playing in defence for 85 minutes

Seriously? Didn't look that way to me, he seemed very awkward after switching positions.

Jupp Heynckes ought to be fired--he lost the match by substituting Mueller and changing up the team's style of play five minutes from the end.

With a lead. In the Champion's League final.

How highly should we regard a manager if he makes such a bonehead move? Instead of settling his team, the change seemed to wake up the Chelsea attack. I agree Chelsea would've been doing their utmost to level but BM had shut them down for 85 minutes and so why the change in formation?

Note that he/his team also lost the DFB Pokal final 5-2 and were rarely challenging Dortmund for the league title.

Still, I was more exaggerating for effect than seriously suggesting.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:18 PM on May 21

How highly should we regard a manager if he makes such a bonehead move? Instead of settling his team, the change seemed to wake up the Chelsea attack.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and Chelsea were always going to throw everything at Bayern. What Heynckes did was completely orthodox, and will help shut down a match almost every time. This just wasn't one of them.

I have been in the crowd for some pretty remarkable late comebacks, and something comes over a team when that happens. Gary Neville may be a grating commentator, but when Martin Tyler asked him about Chelsea's tactics in the last few minutes, I was pleased when he bluntly said there's no thinking going on, just guts and instinct.

posted by etagloh at 12:35 AM on May 25

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