The Champions League Final 2012 saw Chelsea as rather surprising winner as it went to penalties which is no particular strength of English clubs. However, they managed to beat Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in a game many predicted the Germans would not only dominate but also easily win. They dominated certainly but a rare show of nerves cost them the game and the trophy.
Mourinho’s mould triumph
Chelsea’s triumph is as much a triumph for Jose Mourinho as the squad was largely assembled by him. Except for John Terry and Frank Lampard, who are possibly the last from Chelsea’s own academy, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Florent Malouda, Petr Cech, Ashley Cole were all signed when ‘the Special One’ was in charge at Stamford Bridge. It would have been interesting to see what he would have done, had Real reached the final and not Bayern.
Chelsea certainly deserved the title as they simply did not give up and looked as though to have the bigger belief and the bigger desire to win the match than Bayern. In doing so they certainly did not lay their most beautiful football as many observers have stated, yet beautiful football not always wins trophies as Arsenal have had to experience in the last six or seven years and increasingly German club teams and the national team.
Bayern are 2012’s ‘Vizekusen’
In the early 2000’s Leverkusen suffered a similar feat like Bayern this season. In 2000 Bayern and Leverkusen finished the league on 73 points, Bayern having a better goal difference, thus winning the league. Leverkusen conceded the title only on the last day of the season, when they lost their away game at Unterhaching 2-0, while Bayern won their last game 3-1 and secured the title.
Only two years later it got worse when Bayer Leverkusen had three finals to look forward to and in two of them were considered to be favourites: The German FA Cup Final and the league. Their football and their squad was the best in Germany for a few years already and the trophies would have been certainly deserved. They blew it. They lost the league with a home defeat to Werder Bremen and the penultimate match of the season 1-0 away at Nuremberg, which gave Dortmund the top spot. Leverkusen finished on 69 points, Dortmund on 70. The following two finals, the Cup Final against Schalke 04 and the Champions League Final against Real Madrid were lost 2-1.
At the World Cup in Japan and South Korea, many of the Leverkusen team were core players for national coach Rudi V