Robben picks Dortmund pockets late on as Bayern Munich claim thrilling win
Dutch midfielder scores in dying minutes at Wembley as Bavarians take Champions League crown
Borussia Dortmund 1 Bayern Munich 2: A dramatic late winner by Arjen Robben sealed a fifth European title for Bayern Munich with the Bavarians eventually getting the better of their Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in what was a thrilling Champions League final at Wembley.
It was a heartbreaking end to the night for Jürgen Klopp and his men who had dominated early on and then come from behind in a match that swung thrillingly one way and then the other.
Ultimately, though, there was no way back for them when Robben, who had passed up a hat-trick of clear-cut chances in the first half, intervened brilliantly with 90 seconds or so of normal time remaining to seize control of the ball from the middle of a cluster of Dortmund defenders who were surrounding his team-mate Franck Ribery, step beyond a desperate challenge by Mats Hummels and then quickly slip the low ball past the oncoming Roman Weidenfeller.
Robben was rewarded for his efforts with the man of the match award, Bayern with the second leg of what looks increasingly likely to be a historic treble. Dortmund, meanwhile, were left to wonder when a chance like this might come their way again as they ponder a close season in which at least one and maybe more of their leading lights will depart.
Still they can have few enough complaints for Bayern were, just about, the better side over the course of the 90 minutes. Mario Mandzukic had given them the lead 60 minutes in before Ilkay Gundogan levelled things up from the penalty spot but the bulk of the night’s better chances fell to the Bavarians.
That the contest was still scoreless at the interval seemed remarkable although both goalkeepers certainly played their part with both making outstanding saves when those directly in front of them had been caught napping.
The pressure exerted by Dortmund over the first 20 minutes gave Manuel Neuer the earlier chance to shine and the 27 year-old produced a couple of cracking reaction stops, the first a firm touch at full stretch to divert a long-range Robert Lewandowski shot over, the second a brilliant reaction save with an outstretched foot after the impressive Marco Reus had crossed low from the right for Jacub Blaszczykowski.
At that stage Bayern were struggling to exert any sort of pressure themselves but they provided a clear warning that their opponents would not have it all their own way just short of the half hour when Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller contributed pinpoint passes to a move that ended with Ribery crossing for Mandzukic whose header had to be helped onto the bar by Weidenfeller.
Bayern pushed on and the goalkeeper became a central character in the proceedings. While his first stop from Robben after the midfielder was sent racing clear of the defence a few minutes later was terrific, the former Chelsea and Real Madrid star had nobody but himself to blame for the missed opportunities that followed with one close-range effort blasted straight into the face of the goalkeeper and another lost under his own feet as Neven Subotic sought to close him down.
The Serb and his central defensive partner, Hummels, were an important source of possession through much of what followed with interceptions in or on the edge of their areas providing the starting point for quick counter attacks.
While much of Dortmund’s play was energetically improvised, though, Munich’s looked a little more precise with only their finishing, it seemed, needing to come together in order for a tangible advantage to be established.
It came with almost precisely an hour played with Robben picked up possession, fed Ribery who turned the ball back inside to his team-mate. The Dutch international then rounded Weidenfeller and, perhaps, got a little lucky as his low cross clipped the heel of the goalkeeper, wrong-footed the retreating Marcel Schmelzer and skipped nicely into the path of Mandzukic who sidefooted into an empty net from a couple of yards.
The fightback was swift. Dortmund renewed their attack and in the minutes that followed felt they were hard done by when the referee denied them a free on the edge of the area.
Shortly afterwards , however, they had the most clear cut of penalties as Dante wildly misjudged his attempt to intervene as the ball bounced in front of Reus and the defender effectively kick him the stomach. Already on a yellow, the Brazilian was fortunate to stay on the pitch and those in the Dortmund camp will inevitably wonder what might have been had he been obliged to walk.
After Gundogen had sent Neuer the wrong way with a penalty driven low to the right, things just seemed to crank up another notch. Bayern were almost caught entirely defenceless within moments of the restart but Reus’s pass forward for Blaszczykowski didn’t have quite enough power behind it. Subotic then cleared a low angled Müller shot off the line quite magnificently at the far post as Robben closed in.
It all seemed set for extra time, something few neutrals would have complained about given the exciting quality of it all. Robben, though, had other ideas.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer, Bender (Sahin 90), Gundogan, Blaszczykowski (Schieber 90), Reus, Grosskreutz, Lewandowski. Subs not used: Langerak, Kehl, Leitner, Kirch, Felipe Santana. Booked: Grosskreutz.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba, Javi Martinez, Schweinsteiger, Robben, Muller, Ribery (Gustavo 90), Mandzukic (Gomez 90). Subs not used: Starke, Van Buyten, Shaqiri, Pizarro,Tymoschuk. Booked: Dante, Ribery.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)