Beyond the News
At the spot where Bayern Munich lifted up their trophy as Champions League winner 2013 there was a sign beneath the players saying: “The Kings of Europe 2013”; and for me the Kings of Europe are not only Bayern Munich, but also Borussia Dortmund!
On my way to the game (no, I was not in London, but met up with a group of football lovers and former players), I was worry! I wondered whether this was about to be a boring final, where Bayern would easily dominate and keep Borussia Dortmund playing defensively, or it was going to be a great match. I was afraid that the 2011 final when Barcelona destroyed Manchester United in the same Wembley Stadium by 3 x 1, making the second half just a count-down of the season, was going to happen again. Would the 20 minutes turn into a bureaucratic, boring game?
However, the first half of the final was just amazing! No one scored, but what both goalkeepers did was overwhelming! Borussia dominated he first 20 minutes, Bayern dominated the other 20 minutes and the last 5 became a “ping-pong” where the goal could come at any time, at any side. The match was that good that the referee whistled the end of the first half at exactly 45th minute.
The second half continued on the same pace and finally we saw the ball hitting the nets in Wembley. The goals really translated the spirit of a Champions League Final: talent, guts, determination. Both teams seemed to be unstoppable! All players made very clear that they would run over the night, if necessary, to lift the trophy. The opening goal was the reflection of this environment in the stadium. Robben ran like never to reach a ball and center it across the box to Mandzukic complete to the goal; and what was about to come will be forever in history. While we could see a great relief on the face of each Bayern’s player with the goal, Borussia team showed strong personality to keep fighting.
The fight that Bayern’s defender Dante took beyond any football measure. I do not know what he was thinking when “flew” over Borussia’s striker Reus and kicked the opponent like a kick-boxer! “Can somebody tell him that he is in a football pitch, not in a ring”? This performance could even qualify Dante as a Van Dame stunt. Anyway, the penalty was beautifully converted by Gundogan, showing Robben how it has to be done (Robben missed a penalty in the last year’s final against Chelsea in the extra-time when he left aside classy to use power).
But it was not only Robben who felt the pain. The relief was gone from Bayen’s players faces and it was clear that the 2012 final came up to their minds. However, because this time Borussia stood there like a real football team and not cowardly defended themselves like Chelsea last year, we could witness a real football match; and Robben finally proved to whole world why he is there. He scored a goal that again was a mix of talent, guts and determination. Borussia did not have time to come back.
Just one negative comment here: Mario Götze. It is frustating for football fans (not only Borussia fans) to see Götze out of this final. I cannot believe that a player who fought all over the season to lead his team that far would not recover from an injury in 3 weeks. It can be a lifetime chance to play a Champions League final, or to win a Champions League title (Michael Ballack knows it very well), and he simply come up with this story that he cannot play. Come on, it is the end of the season, one last game, he could at least be on the bench to play the last 15 minutes if needed, as it was needed. Lionel Messi did it for Barcelona to reach the semifinal, even knowing that he could potentially not be able to play the next games of a season that was still on the way. Next time he should at least force a red card in the semi-final, so it would look better!
His absence is quite frustrating and makes me wonder whether or not the money, egoism and greed led Mario Götze to the bench last night. I would love to be wrong as much as I was wrong about my expectations for this game. But I do not think that this is case now!