Robben delivers late to make Bayern champions of Europe

It proved to be a red evening in London as Bayern went one better than last year. Graphic: Matt HardyBayern Munich avenged last year's traumatic final defeat by beating a brave Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in Wembley thanks to a late Arjen Robben winner. Ilkay Gündogan's second-half penalty looked to have taken the game to extra time after cancelling out Mario Mandzukic's opener but the Dutch international had other plans.

It's been a long time coming for Arjen Robben. A poor World Cup final performance was followed by last year's nightmare Champions League final performance with that incredible penalty miss. This time around it looked to be going the same way when chance after chance went amiss. Then in stoppage time, he clipped a winner past Weidenfeller to realise his, the club's, Schweinsteiger's and Lahm's dream.

The nation has been bursting with excitement at the prospect of this game as the Bundesliga, both on and off the pitch, finally gets the recognition it deserves. Munich was trembling with anticipation all week. It wasn't a home final but it was their third in four years and this time, there was almost an expectation for it to be theirs. 'Almost' because of the last nine meetings between the two, Bayern have won only two.

Bayern's joy in Barcelona seemed a long way away in the opening 10 minutes as Dortmund's typically high pressure unsettled Heynckes' men. Every time Bastian Schweinsteiger or Franck Ribery got the ball, Dortmund rushed at least two to man mark. Bayern were shut down effectively.

Lahm echoed that anxiety with a poor opening, one that lead to a long-range curler from Robert Lewandowski. Manuel Neuer saved but even that looked strained. Blaszczykowski tested Neuer at the near post moments later, but this time Germany's Number One saved fantastically.

Neuer was once again called into action to first a fizzing Marco Reus effort wide. Defending high up the pitch, pressing hard and peppering shots on goal has been Dortmund's forte in Europe this season and they were showing it.

Sven Bender hit a low, curling effort but that was saved and Dortmund's inability to take a chance started to gently weigh on the mind. Bayern were frustrated and when Ribery's tangle with Lewandowski ended with a faint elbow (one he was surprisingly not carded for), everyone was keen to see a response. Via the smallest of touches from Weidenfeller, Mandzukic's header was tipped onto the bar.

Arjen Robben burst through to suddenly be one-on-one with Weidenfeller and the stadium, this city, Germany held its breath. As he did in the semi-final though, Weidenfeller stood firm and matched his opposing number with an equally brilliant close range save to deny the Dutchman.

Neuer's second great save, this time from an on-rushing Lewandowski, proved it was a game of goalkeepers in the first half. The other watchword of the first half was indecision and Robben was the student of it. Space on the right-hand side of the box was not used by the Dutchman and his dallying cost Bayern. Two minutes before the break, he was suddenly presented with an excellent chance when Hummels misjudged a long ball. Weidenfeller's well positioned face denied him as an intriguing first-half came to a goalless conclusion.

Having marvelled at the performance of the respective goalkeepers, the second half started in the same frantic tempo with Schweinsteiger, Lahm and Ribery struggling to impact the game the way they normally do.

Klopp's antics on the sideline were because his side were shackling Bayern. Sometimes not even that is enough though. Robben was found by a clever pass from Ribery and this time Bayern's number ten took Weidenfeller out of the game with a square pass that Mandzukic gratefully tapped in to rock the red end of Wembley and Germany's southern city.

Dortmund had to respond. In the past, they have done so but without Mario Götze, the man who has often taken on the responsibility against Bayern, Dortmund struggled to find the structure and pressure of the first half.

But Dortmund in Europe this season have been anything but normal. Dante's high tackle on Reus saw Klopp's men given a lifeline and Ilkay Gündogan stepped up to convert his first ever penalty in Dortmund colours as if pressure didn't even exist. Remarkably, Dante avoided a second yellow card.

There was visible anger from the Munich side and when Thomas Müller rounded Weidenfeller, Robben's moment arrived. Neven Subotic never gave up on it though and swiped it off his feet to sensationally deny him even the chance of taking it.

Time was running out. Weidenfeller saved miraculously from both David Alaba and three minutes before the end of time, the somewhat anonymous Schweinsteiger. With time nearly out though, Munich hearts were sent soaring and almost as if scripted, Arjen Robben weaved his wave through and dinked past Weidenfeller to send joyous vibes throughout Bavaria and the red end of Wembley.

Dortmund have won their admirers but Bayern finally avenged their doubters, the anxiety and last year's final. Everything they have done domestically and in Europe this season points towards them being the deserved champions of European football. Amongst others, credit must be given to the difference that Javier Martinez, Dante and Matthias Sammer have made to this side. Above all, this one is for the departing Jupp Heynckes. "You can't begrudge him the win," summed up Juergen Klopp perfectly after the final whistle.

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Gündogan, S. Bender (90' Sahin) - Grosskreutz, Reus, Blaszczykowski (90' Schieber) - Lewandowski

FC Bayern Munich: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Javi Martinez, Schweinsteiger - Ribery (90+1 Luiz Gustavo), Müller, Robben - Mandzukic (90+4 Gomez)

Goals: 0-1 Mandzukic (60'), 1-1 Gündogan (68' pen.), 1-2 Robben (89')

Yellow cards: Grosskreutz - Dante, Ribery

Attendance: 90,000
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli


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