Champions League - the Home Final - FC Bayern against Chelsea
How long has it been? Oh yes, almost six months my telephone display tells me. Ouch and it still really hurts...19.05.2012. The whole morning I was underway in the Munich city center, filmed and photographed a lot. I thought it was going to be the best day of my life! After all Chelsea is not FC Barcelona and if they have gotten so far, and in their own stadium, then they would manage it. I was so sure!! Around midday I met my dad for a leisurely lunch. During the meal he commented suddenly "so they play this evening against Chelsea? They have up until now always had problems with Italian teams!" He pronounced the name exactly as it was written coupled with a lamentable attempt to imitate an Italian accent. "Papa its called Chelsea and it is an English team!" I had to first explain to him. I must have inherited the football genes from my grandfather, as it became clear to me in that moment. Kitted out in a red and white T-shirt with the inscription "Home Final", for which I had to queue 40 minutes at the FC Bayern Fan shop, it was back into the city center to celebrate with the other fans at Marienplatz. The atmosphere was great, the weather was great, nothing could go wrong! Just a perfect day......
But where are the Chelsea fans? It´s best we make our way direction Hofbräuhaus, there the guys should be screaming about. No sooner said than done, two blocks away there they all stood, surrounded by Bayern fans who with their boisterous chanting kept them in check. If there is someone who can sing loudly then it is the Bavarian, after all we have practiced for years in the beer tents of the Oktoberfest! The bullying method seems to be successful if one went by the pallid expressions of the island folk. Or is that due to the lack of English sunlight? The poor things I thought, they travelled all the way from England just to watch their own vastly superior team lose! But each to his own, at least we have something to laugh about!
In the alleyway to the Hofbräuhaus lays a young Chelsea fan. With his head leaning against the cold wall at midday, he is already so drunk that he is guaranteed not to be able to take in the game that evening. That´s what you call a successful Bavarian war strategy! The more opposing fans that are neutralized, the less support their team has. Three cheers to the potent Bavarian beer!
The closer evening draws, the more nervous I become. First a little fidgety, then shaky and then finally till I could hardly think clearly anymore. As all the bars are overcrowded and I obviously want a good view, I will watch the match together with my father, at the home of my mother´s partner, not far from Leopold street where guaranteed the victory celebrations will take place. Sooner said than done we arrived there. Being as sweet and lovely as she is, the old lady prepared a cold buffet for us. Actually I was so nervous that I wasn´t even hungry, but it´s so tasty and a good basis for the long night of partying. Then the shock! Her big wonderful HD TV doesn´t have a clear picture. It´s all snowy, it has to be the antenna! We try everything but to no avail! With 5 minutes to kick-off I plead with my father to let us quickly go to Leopold street, somewhere we will be able to find a place. With a bad conscience we excuse ourselves and dash off. My father gasps and wheezes behind me, I urge him on "Quick Quick Quick I have to see the kick-off!" In Leopold street we throw ourselves in the dirt of the pavement to take a place in front of the shop windows. In that moment the stomped upon gum and cigarette butts don´t disturb us. Kick-off, the game is on!! Bayern stands head and shoulders above Chelsea by playing a one-way game! Opportunities and ball possession abound....but slowly its time to score a goal! There is an old football rule: If you don´t score a goal then the opposing team will. Then in the 83rd minute, the salvation via Thoooooomasssss Müüüüüüllller!! 1:0 for Bayern! Soon we will make it, soon we will be Champions League winners! Soon all hell will break loose!
Then the first and only corner for Chelsea. I don´t have a good feeling, I´m thinking "No no please not this corner! If they survive this corner then they will win the game!" Header goal Drogbar 1:1 the equalizer. I cannot believe it, it´s like a bad dream! How can this be? Bayern had 20 corner balls and 35 shots at the opposing goal and they needed one chance for the equalizer? Something is not right! Maybe an English Harry Potter is sitting in the stadium and bewitched the game. Or did Drogbar give a contract to a Voodoo magician in Africa? But all is not lost. We have extra time! It carries on exactly like before, Bayern stands head and shoulders above..... then a penalty kick for Bayern! This must be it now! But please don´t let Robben shoot. In another game not long ago he missed an important penalty. Robben steps up. I inwardly scream at the trainer "No NOT Robben!!!!!" But he doesn´t hear me as he is sitting in the Alliance Arena and I am here in Leopold street. Then I scream at Robben "Not right, not right!!!" But he doesn´t hear me either! He kicks into the right corner and the goalkeeper holds the ball! Well I would call that female intuition! My mood is lowered to zero. The subsequent penalty shootout also doesn´t bring any luck to Bayern. Chelsea wins the game and is the 2012 Champions League winner and that in our stadium!! Bayern München was for over 120 minutes in every phase of the game better than the best European team. Bewilderment and general shock begins to spread. In the Munich inner-city it is as still as a graveyard. I just want to go home! Close the door, put the lights off, that´s it.....
The next morning an invisible mourning crepe hovered over Munich, everyone seemed somehow hungover. No one spoke of what occurred, the wound was still too fresh. In the Underground train station Chelsea fans where boisterously singing "There is only one Arien Robben!" We Bavarians are silent this time, we have lost our voice. A good week later were we able to talk about the event. I exchanged notes with a colleague. He told a small anecdote that perfectly described his emotional state " It is like when you wake up early one morning and your wife, out of the blue without any good reason, tells you she is leaving you!!" I think he is sooo right! That is exactly how it feels, like being lovesick! It just hurts so damn much and there is nothing you can do about it! We nod in mutual agreement to each other and go about our daily routine.
By the draw for the group phase of the following Champions League season, Lionel Messi offers a small consolation. To the question whether the best team always wins in the final, he replied "No".
Video: Munich May 19th 2012