- Champions League
- 19 May 2012, 7:45pm
- Allianz Arena
Just when you thought this utterly outrageous season had nothing left to give, Chelsea wrung the last - and most treasured - drops of glory and drama left on offer.
On a barely describable evening in the Allianz Arena, Didier Drogba rescued Chelsea from defeat once with an 88th-minute equaliser, almost gave it all away by conceding an extra-time penalty, then plunged the final knife into poor Bayern by rolling in the winning penalty in the shootout.
Roman Abramovich gets the prize he most desired, Chelsea become the first London club to be crowned champions of Europe and Roberto Di Matteo becomes the most successful interim manager of all time.
Few believed that Chelsea's luck could last throughout this barmy Champions League run - the dreadful performance at Napoli, the rock-bottom team spirit under Andre Villas-Boas, the pummeling in both legs against Barcelona, and another depserate defensive rearguard tonight against Bayern. But you cannot help but admire their unflappable spirit, togetherness, never-say-die mindset, organisation, guts and bravery. It has carried them through the whole tournament and has won them the biggest prize of all.
But wait. With two minutes left, substitute Torres did win a corner. In it came and Drogba peeled off his man to power a header past Manuel Neuer and into the top corner.
Extra time followed but the pattern didn't really change. Drogba spoilt his magic moment by clumsily tripping Ribery in the box. Penalty. Robben stepped up, hit it low to Cech's left but the keeper saved it. So we proceeded to a penalty shootout. Chelsea, with ghosts of Moscow lingering and a recent penalty shootout record of seven defeats in their last nine, and playing a German team, had everything to fear. Indeed, their first spot kick, by Juan Mata, was saved.
But Cech then saved from Ivica Olic and Sebastian Schweinsteiger, and it gave who else but Didier Drogba - the man who just loves big finals - the chance to win the cup for Chelsea. Inevitably, he rolled his spot kick into the corner to send the Blues into heaven.
4-3: CHELSEA ARE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS! Drogba - of all people - having rescued Chelsea from oblivion with his 88th minute equaliser, has rolled in the decisive penalty. What a night. What a season. Football... bloody hell.
But just as it seemed Bayern's dominance would go unrewarded, Muller stole in at the far post on 83 minutes to head into the turf, the ball bounced up past Cech, hit the bar and nestled in the net. The Bayern fans exploded in relief and ecstasy. They'd done it. Muller was substituted and raised his fist to the fans in triumph. Chelsea hadn't even had a corner at that point, let alone a decent chance.
Chelsea sat so deep throughout the 90 minutes that they were virtually in the front row behind Petr Cech's goal. Mario Gomez missed three glorious chances, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery continually cut in from the wings but either scuffed their shots or saw them blocked and Thomas Muller bottled another superb chance late on.
3-3: SCHWEINSTEIGER HITS THE POST!! A staggered run up, he side-foots it right and strikes the inside of the upright! My goodness me.. Drogba now.. for the European Cup...
3-3: Cole SCORES! Lashes it into the corner. It is all square!!
3-2: CECH SAVES from Olic! It's his last kick as a Bayern player. Cech saves it to his left.
3-2: Lampard.. wellies it into the roof of the net! A beauty.
3-1: It's the keeper Neuer to take Bayern's next one! He slots it past Cech's dive, bottom left. Cracking pen.
2-1: Luiz... takes a very long run up, and blasts it top right corner!
2-0: Gomez.. SCORES! Struck very confidently into the bottom right corner.
1-0: Mata.. SAVED! Atrocious penalty. Not enough into the corner. Neuer saves.
1-0: Lahm... SCORES! Just! Cech went the right way, got a touch, but couldn't keep it out!
ET FULL TIME: WE HAVE PENALTIES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!! Chelsea have seen out extra time and now have the chance to exorcise the ghosts of Moscow. It's in the lap of them Gods now.
ET 29 mins: Torres tries to barge past Contento and into the Bayern box but concedes a foul. It's a decision he ain't happy with and tells the referee so. Loudly. He's booked.
ET 28 mins: Time is ticking down and the lactic acid begins to fill the veins. The pace has finally slackened. Two minutes until penalties...
ET 25 mins: Malouda fouls Schweinsteiger, giving Bayern a free kick in a useful position. Robben floats it in, but it's rubbish, straight into Cech's grateful mitts.
ET 23 mins: How many times have either Robben or Ribery cut in from the wings and whacked shots hopelessly off target tonight? Robben does it yet again here, slicing hideously over and wide.
ET 22 mins: Another heart-in-mouth moment for Chelsea! Lahm dashes to the byline, losing Malouda, and hooks the ball dangerously across goal. Gomez gets half a head on it, it bounces up into Luiz's arm and he boots it into the stand to clear.
ET 20 mins: Chelsea have gone back into their shell. It's all Bayern again.
ET 18 mins: Oooh, WHAT a chance for Olic! Lahm is allowed to run past Torres and dinks a cross up to the far post, Olic is all alone - where on earth is Bosingwa? - and side foots it across goal, but wide! He indicates that he wanted Gomez to follow it in, but really he ought to have buried that. A gigantic gasp goes around the stadium.
ET 16 mins: Off we go again then. Fasten your seatbelts.
ET HALF TIME: And on it goes. Bayern's fluency has ebbed away somewhat. What on earth will this final 15 minutes bring us? Will there be one final Gary Neville orgasm? It is beyond tense out there. It is the most compulsive viewing and you cannot but admire the fortitude and togetherness of Chelsea.
ET 15+1 mins: Silly from Lampard to rush over and give away a free kick when Olic was stuck by the corner flag. Luckily Drogba clears the resulting delivery into the box.
ET 14 mins: Nice skill by Torres to the right of the area and his cross almost falls for Drogba until Lahm's crucial flick. "All those Germans on the pitch and the daft dutchman takes the Pen!" says Darryl in Rugby. Quite.
ET 12 mins: Torres steals into the area and Drogba peels away into the centre. It could have been a great chance if Torres' touch hadn't been heavy and carried the ball over the byline. Drogba knows it, and looks to the heavens.
ET 10 mins: It does truly seem as if the stars are aligned in Chelsea's favour tonight. On the back foot for the entire game, conceding, then bagging a ludicrously unmerited equaliser, then a missed penalty. And all that on the back of the Barcelona semi, and the comeback against Napoli.
ET 8 mins: Ivica Olic comes on for Ribery, who was injured in that penalty incident.
ET 5 mins: CECH HAS SAVED IT! After a long, long wait, Robben smacks it low to Cech's left, the keeper guesses the right way and blocks it. The ball is loose for a horrible half second but he gathers it at the second attempt. Is it destiny that Chelsea are to lift 'old big ears' tonight?
ET 3 mins: PENALTY TO BAYERN!! Classic 'hero to zero' moment from Drogba! Ribery is about to have a dart at Bosingwa until Drogba blunders in from behind, sticks his foot in and trips the Frenchman up. He needs no invitation to hit the deck and promptly does so. It's a penalty. Drogba can have few arguments with the decision...
ET 2 mins: The ball falls for Mata 20 yards out but his fierce drive is blocked by Boateng. The Bayern centre backs suddenly have to put away their deckchairs and slippers!
ET 0 mins: Well then. Extra time is upon us. The big, big question is, how will Bayern respond? The pattern of incessant Bayern pressure and brave Chelsea resistance surely cannot continue now Torres and Drogba are both on the field.
FULL TIME: We have extra time folks, and will that remarkable 88th minute Drogba equaliser bring a momentum shift in the game? Bayern took off Muller for the more defensive van Buyten just after taking the lead and may be regretting that now. Muller will certainly be regretting his victory salute to the crowd as he went off the field! How much of a psychological blow will that be to Bayern. Just like 1999, it's been snatched from their grasp. At least this time, they have the opportunity to hit back. Stay tuned fr the extra half hour, then (gulp) you-know-whats!
90+4 mins: Nope. After a theatric build-up to the free kick involving looking up into the sky for inspiration, Drogba wellies into high into the stand.
90+3 mins: Now then. Now then! Foul by Ribery on Mata around 25 yards out. deep into injury time. It's a free kick in Drogba territory. Surely not?...
90 mins: Bayern get a corner of their own, but it's defend stoutly, just as Chelsea have been doing all night. What an incredible European campaign this has been for Chelsea. There's going to be another half an hour of it go by the looks of things.
88 mins: UTTERLY UNBELIEVABLE!! CHELSEA LEVEL! Gary Neville's having another orgasm! Staggering. Completely and utterly STAGGERING! Torres' industry wins Chelsea their first corner of the game. It's whipped in to the near post and Drogba rises to flick home a power header past Neuer and into the near top corner. A more undeserved goal you could never wish to see, but who cares? What a moment.
86 mins: Daniel van Buyton comes on for the goalscorer Muller. He raises two fists to the Bayern fans. He thinks it's in the bag already. Unless Chelsea emerge from their bunker, it is.
86 mins: Luiz is booked for taking repeated digs at Robben's heels.
85 mins: Here comes Fernando Torres, replacing Kalou.
83 mins: BAYERN MAKE THE BREAKTHROUGH!! Finally. There was only so long Bayern could keep missing. As the floated cross comes in from the left, Cole is concerned with marking Gomez and leaves Muller to power in behind him at the far post. He heads the ball down into the turf, it bounces up hits the underside of the bar and goes in. Pandemonium.
82 mins: Bayern finally get one on target, but Muller's header is a difficult one, and Cole's presence is enough to take the sting out of it. Cech makes a comfy save.
81 mins: Cole is booked for a clip on Muller's heels as the German international dashed up the right wing.
79 mins: Bayern toss away ANOTHER glorious chance. A fortunate ricochet sees the ball spin out to Muller. He's central, just 12 yards out and could pick either corner to shoot for. So naturally he falls backwards, and fluffs his shot off balance 10 yards wide. Total lack of composure once again.
78 mins: "Is this set up 4 Torres 2 come off the bench, score the winner, justify his Â£50M fee & become a legend??" asks Christian in Southampton. Yes, is the answer. I can see no other possible outcome.
75 mins: Malouda's first act is to give the ball away in his own left-back area. It leads to Robben getting to the byline, his cross deflects off a defender and loops up in the air. Cech has to backpedal and help turn it over his own bar.
74 mins: Neuer goes walkabout and is fortunate that Drogba scuffs his shot from a tight angle. The keeper is able to smother it quite comfortably.
73 mins: Chelsea break through again! Drogba scampers clear down the left and his low ball in is thumped away by Contento with a couple of blue shirts lurking. Di Matteo makes a change, the clearly knackered Bertrand is replaced by Florent Malouda.
72 mins: A Chelsea attack! Wow! Mata slips Boswinga in down the right and his delicious cross is well headed away by Boateng as Kalou threw himself at the ball by the near post.
70 mins: It simply doesn't stop. It's Kroos with the chance this time - once again from 20-odd yards - but his goal-bound drive is blocked. If Chelsea were sitting any deeper they'd be in the front row of the stand behind Cech's goal.
68 mins: A Bayern corner is flicked on dangerously at the near post but Bertrand does well to get in front of his man and head it up and over the bar. Bayern have had 13 corners to Chelsea's none. Tells its own story.
66 mins: Chelsea dither with it 40 yards from their own goal, Lahm races forward but runs into the considerable presence of Drogba. Lahm tries to turn the contact into a foul just inside the area, but the referee, thankfully, doesn't fall for his antics and says 'play on, chaps'.
64 mins: Here they come again, trying to pierce the blue wall. Ribery cuts inside from the left but miscues his shot. It dribbles wide of the target. Tick, tick, tick goes the clock.
63 mins: Gomez escapes down the right but deposits his cross straight into Cech's grasp. "Surprise surprise a premiership team shutting up shop in Europe. Best league in the world I don't think." says Lee. Interesting point.
61 mins: The longer this goes on in this manner, the more it resembles the Barcelona semi, and the more you almost *expect* Chelsea to nick a goal completely out of context with the game.
60 mins: FABULOUS defending by Cole! Gomez slips a little pass to Robben just inside the box. He's set to pull the trigger, you're expecting the net to bulge, but along comes Cole from nowhere to produce an outstanding block.
58 mins: Chelsea have brief scent of a chance as a left-wing cross is flicked on to Drogba beyond the far post, but Cahill is penalised for an apparently harmless aerial duel.
56 mins: Luiz has his hands all over Gomez. It's a foul, but not the booking Bayern are moaning for. Bayern work the free kick left, Kroos shoots, but it's pretty grim and whistles well wide. We have deadlock at the Allianz Arena.
54 mins: Ribery goal disallowed! Robben is set up for a shot from the edge of the box. Bosingwa half blocks it but only succeeds in setting up Ribery for a tap-in with Cech lying on the floor. The gla is up, but replays prove the decision was a tight one. Correct, but tight.
52 mins: Gomez half-heartedly appeals for a penalty after a tackle by Cole. Not in a million years.
50 mins: Drogba recives a throw-in on his chest, turns quickly and rasps a volley from around 50 yards, trying to take Neuer by surprise. It bounces about eight yards wide.
48 min: Luiz commits himself on the right touchline and allows Robben to escape his clutches and race away. He takes too long weighing up his cross and Cole dives in to block him. The ball does find its way into the middle shortly afterwards though and Kroos' crack from 20 yards hits Luiz on the bonce and loops over the bar. The pattern of the first half has resumed.
46 mins: Kalou loses the ball on halfway and allows Ribery to hare down the left. He whips the ball dangerously across the face of goal but Luiz is there to slide it clear. TV shots show that Cahill may have pulled that dodgy hamstring in attempting to block the Gomez chance at the end of the first half. He's reappeared though.
46 mins: A quick half-time glance at Twitter reveals virtually everyone is expecting Chelsea to nick a flukey winner. And many are agreed that the first-half highlight was that Whoopi Goldberg lookalike woman in the crowd picking a huge bogey out of her nose! Bayern get the second half underway.
HALF TIME: So far, so good for Chelsea. As expected, they've been happy to concede possession and territory to Bayern, but the German side have not been able to exploit it, mostly thanks to the uncharacteristic wastefulness of Mario Gomez. Robben's shot was deflected up on to the bar by Cech, but other than that, the Blues have defended the fort manfully. Stick around for the second half.
45 mins: We'll have one added minute.
42 mins: Another chance blown by Gomez! Would you believe this? He's been so prolific this season, but now such profligacy on the biggest stage! Chelsea have men committed forward (unusually) as Bayern counter. The ball is fed in from the right to Gomez, who opens up his body and flummoxes his marker Cahill. That movement gives him a free shot at goal from 14 yards, but he blazes it over! His manager can't believe it.
39 mins: Real chance for Bayern. Two of them in fact! Chelsea leave Ribery in space left of centre and he's picked out with a square pass. The Frenchman's shot whistles across the face of goal to Gomez. Of all people for it to fall to, just eight yards out and all alone, but mystifyingly he tries to take a touch to control, instead of whacking it home first time. His touch is clumsy and plops straight to Cech. Deary me.
37 mins: Chelsea's first shot on target! Mata finds Kalou on the overlap to his right but forces him a little wider than he might have liked. Kalou does well just to keep his shot on target. It would have snuck inside the near post but Neuer is down smartly to smother.
36 mins: Oooh! Ribery cuts back on to his favoured right to dig out a cross. It's floated to Muller on the volley only eight yards out... he connects beautifully with his left peg but it flies wide! Good chance.
35 mins: Ribery cuts inside from the left but doesn't connect cleanly with his shot which bobbles past the near post.
34 mins: Now this could be a chance. A Chelsea free kick right of centre and not far from the edge of the box. Drogba runs over it... but Mata's strike is hideous. Curled ten yards over the bar. The Blues don't look like they'll be creating many chance tonight, so to make such a hash of that was very poor.
32 mins: Bosingwa has a good old hack at Ribery's ankles. The Frenchman isn't keen on it and needs a bit of treatment. Robben has a snapshot from the edge of the box but it's a comfortable low save for Cech.
31 mins: A rare foray from Chelsea and Mata feeds Bertrand in space on the left. He tries to skips past Lahm but there's no way through and the full-back closes him down efficiently.
29 mins: Robben takes it and barely lifts it off the ground. It's into the wall.
27 mins: Bayern keep the ball very patiently, probing for a hint of a crack in the blue wall. Eventually Luiz barges into Ribery and the Germans get a free kick, right of centre, 25 yards out (it's *always* 25 yards, isn't it? Never 23 or 28. Ahem, anyway...)
24 mins: The pattern of the game is so similar to the semi with Barcelona. Chelsea have so few players staying up front that when they clear it, the ball just comes right back at them. The plan relies on rigid organisation, discipline and concentration. And if they get a chance, they *must* take it.
21 mins: First real chance of the game! Robben somehow wriggles through two challenges and is in on goal. He cracks a shot through Cahill's legs, Cech sticks out a leg instinctively and blocks it. Lampard has to be alert to clear the loose ball.
21 mins: First real chance of the game! Robben somehow wriggles through two challenges and is in on goal. He cracks a shot through Cahill's legs, Cech sticks out a leg instinctively and half blocks it. The ball pings up and against the angle of post and bar! Lampard has to be alert to clear the loose ball.
19 mins: Sharp chance for Gomez but instead of hitting it first time, as he should've, he tries to get round the last defender with a Cruyff turn and makes a mess of it. Lampard mops up with a very dodgy pass to Bosingwa, which he wasn't expecting. His touch, just five yards from his own goal, is clumsy but he gets way with it.
18 mins: As Bayern prepare to take a corner, the camera pans up to the executive section where an identified woman picks her nose not once, twice but three times! International fame awaits. It'll be on YouTube in a matter of minutes.
16 mins: Nice quick passing from Chelsea for the first time in the game, but an unlucky break of the ball allows Ribery to counter-attack. Chelsea recover in numbers well to defend it stoutly. Definite shades of the Barcelona second leg here - Bayern just keeping on coming at them.
13 mins: Ribery's caressed cross is towards Gomez, but Luiz just does enough physically to force the striker to misdirect his header. Chelsea are sitting very deep, with the midfield sitting just in front of the back four. Space at a premium for Bayern going forward.
11 mins: Chelsea have collectively calmed down a bit and, as @footballcliches on Twitter might say, 'got a foothold'. "Good luck to Ryan Bertrand. He was excellent when at loan at Forest and won't let anyone down." says Phil in the West Mids. He's looked fine so far.
8 mins: Mata has three players to aim for beyond the far post but his cross is too low and headed away. Bayern counter and offer Robben too much room to cut inside from the right. They're lucky he bends his shot hopelessly over.
7 mins: That's a bit better from Chelsea. Kalou keeps the ball well in midfield despite being surrounded. He sets Drogba free down the right, but the big striker's cross is just too far ahead of Bertrand in the box.
6 mins: From the corner, Bayern work it short and set up Gomez for a drive. He doesn't quite catch it cleanly, it hits Schweinsteiger and deflects wide of Cech's post. Chelsea haven't got going at all yet. They need to string a few passes together.
5 mins: Early glimpse at goal for Schweinsteiger as Muller shepherds him the ball 25 yards out. Cahill dives bravely at the midfielder's feet and the ball hits him and balloons over for a corner.
4 mins: Ribery tries to jink his way past Bosingwa down the left and - rather hilariously - shanks his attempted cross out for a goal kick with his standing foot.
2 mins: Schweinsteiger is booked for a quite blatant deliberate handball in centre field.
1 mins: A pretty ugly challenge by Cole on Kroos. A couple of Bayern players rush in to confront the full-back, but he walks away. A little over-exuberance from dear Ashley early on there.
0 mins: I'll say it again, Chelsea look remarkably relaxed. Frank Lampard even has a bit of banter with referee Pedro Proenca as the two captains exchange pendants and handshakes. Will Chelsea become the third club to play in two European Cup finals and fail to win? We'll soon see. We're under way!
1941:Here come the teams...
1937: John Terry's just been pitchside watching his team-mates doing their final warm-ups. Lunacy of that knee up Alexi Sanchez's bum finally dawning on you now, John? Just EIGHT MINUTES to go now. Meanwhile, we've got some pre-match pedantry! "Why don't you stick to German (Bayern Munchen) or English (Bavaria Munich) instead of mixing the two words?" demands Tony in Bristol. Tony, when have you *ever* seen them referred to as 'Bavaria Munich'?
1928: Geoff Shreeves interviews Roberto Di Matteo, who admits that picking David Luiz and Gary Cahill is a bit of a risk. It's also the first TV interview poor old Roberto has done for about two months in which he has not been asked about his future in the job. Plaudits to Shreeves for that.
1915: Only half an hour to go now folks. We've seen John Terry chatting with none other than Fabio Capello and exchanging a warm hug with old pal Arjen Robben, and Sky have just shown a very relaxed and, erm, frank interview with Frank Lampard in which he opened up about his dis-satisfaction during AVB's reign. Chelsea look a very relaxed bunch.
Team news: The rumours that Florent Malouda is not fit enough are true and Ryan Bertrand makes his Champions League debut! What a baptism for the lad. Gary Cahill and David Luiz start at centre back after recovering from their respective hamstring injuries. As you'll already know, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles are all suspended.
Bayern are without the suspended Luiz Gustavo, Holger Badstuber and David Alaba - who today emerged as a target for Manchester United. There's been lots of muttering about their so-called 'weak' defence, mainly due to the fact Anatoliy Tymoschuk - usually a midfielder - is lining up at centre back. Scroll down for both line-ups.
If the Blues want to become the first ever London side to win the European Cup, they'll have to do it in Bayern Munich's own back yard. A quick glance at the hosts' record in the Bundesliga at the Allianz Arena this season is ominous. They conceded only six goals, scored 47 and won 14 out of 17.
As always with such big games, there are sub-plots. Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes had a little public dig at Didier Drogba, calling him 'an actor', to which the Ivorian, admirably, refused to react. Arjen Robben has history of a bit of 'acting' himself, and will be looking to overcome his former side tonight. Plenty has been written about the importance of this game in relation to the future of Roberto Di Matteo. Even victory may not be enough to earn him the job permanently, but it will certainly be a hell of a line on his CV!
- Champions League
- 19 May 2012, 7:45pm
- Allianz Arena
Chelsea beat Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties at the Allianz Arena to win the Champions League following a 1-1 draw after extra-time.
Didier Drogba was the Chelsea hero as Roman Abramovich finally completed his Champions League odyssey in Munich.
Trailing to Thomas Muller's late header, Drogba first saved the Blues by heading them level in the 88th minute.
Then, after Arjen Robben has missed from the spot in extra-time, Drogba kept his nerve after Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger had failed in the shoot-out to ensure Chelsea erased the memory of their misery in 2008 by conquering Europe for the first time.
Surely the triumph will be enough to secure Roberto di Matteo the full-time job as Chelsea boss.
After all, following so many failures, Di Matteo has delivered the trophy Abramovich spent the thick end of £2billion to win.
From his place in the stands, the Russian was clearly overjoyed, as was the suspended John Terry, who watched the tense shoot-out unfold from the touchline, on roughly the same spot he had prowled three hours earlier.
It was the most visual example of the damage Chelsea did to themselves by getting four men suspended in that backs-to-the-wall semi-final epic with Barcelona.
And once the game started, it was just the kind of blood and guts encounter Terry excels in.
Assisted by the obvious advantage of playing at home, Bayern got themselves on the front foot immediately and were rarely pushed back.
The nearest they came was when former Chelsea man Arjen Robben glided past two defenders, then drilled a low shot towards goal, which Petr Cech managed to deflect high onto a post, with Robben barely able to believe he had failed.
Robben had another couple of chances, although neither were as good as the one that Muller volleyed wide.
Robben and Muller combined to create an opening for Mario Gomez that he looked certain to capitalise on after a deft body movement had left Gary Cahill stranded, only for the Bayern sharp-shooter to lash over.
Handed a surprise start, Ryan Bertrand coped well. It was on the other side where Franck Ribery was proving to be a complete menace.
What they did at the Nou Camp though has given Chelsea immense belief in their own durability.
Indeed, they might have had something to celebrate themselves had Juan Mata kept his curling free-kick down or Salomon Kalou been able to direct a shot away from Manuel Neuer after Frank Lampard and Drogba combined to set him up from an admittedly acute angle.
The pattern continued after half-time and Ribery thought he had grabbed a deserved opener when he snaffled the loose ball after Cole had blocked Robben's goalbound shot.
The offside flag cut German celebrations short.
Cole's involvement was part of an outstanding contribution from the full-back, who seemed to be in the way of nearly all the threats to Chelsea's goal.
He denied both Robben and Toni Kroos as Chelsea, enhancing his status one of the few truly world class players Roy Hodgson will have at his disposal at Euro 2012.
In response, Drogba, possibly making his last appearance for the club, unleashed a speculative long-range volley that dipped narrowly wide.
The sense of Chelsea disappointment at Bayern finally breaching their defences must have been made more acute by the knowledge that when Kroos curled a cross beyond the far post, there appeared very little danger.
Muller intelligently headed the ball hard and down, which meant it bounced up towards the crossbar, possibly catching Cech by surprise as he seemed in the perfect position to prevent it ending up in the net.
But Abramovich's team are made of stern stuff. And with barely a minute remaining, and Muller replaced by an extra defender in Daniel van Buyten, Drogba rose at the near post to power Mata's corner home.
This time there was nothing the goalkeeper could do, the ball speeding past Neuer at such pace, from so close, there was no time for reaction.
The drama continued into extra-time as Drogba bundled Ribery over in the box.
Whilst the contact might not have looked much, it was enough to end the Frenchman's evening.
Robben seemed unaffected by the delay as his penalty headed for the bottom corner.
Cech was equal to it though, making a superb save to his left and then smothering the rebound.
It was the kind of moment that made you think fate had decreed a Chelsea win, a belief only strengthened by Bayern passing up two clear openings in the second period of those additional 30 minutes.
As Di Matteo pointed out yesterday, you make your own luck.
More than anyone, he deserves praise for hauling round a season that appeared to be heading for disaster in February.
And the only ones not acclaiming that achievement were Tottenham, who in a cruel twist are now denied a place in next season's Champions League.