UEFA Champions League Final
25 May 2013 - 7:45 PM
Arjen Robben’s 89th-minute winner clinched the Champions League for Bayern Munich – and left Borussia Dortmund shattered at Wembley Stadium.
Holland winger Robben coolly slotted past Roman Weidenfeller to hand the German Champions their fifth European Cup.
Bayern had taken the lead on the hour after Mario Mandzukic tapped in Robben’s cross from close-range following good work from Franck Ribery.
But Dortmund got a deserved leveller seven minutes later when Ilkay Gundogan fired the ball home from the spot after Dante had brought down Marco Reus inside the box.
Yet with the game looking like it was going to extra-time, Robben got on the end of Ribery’s deft through ball to break Dortmund’s hearts.
The match started at a frenetic pace, with Bayern and Dortmund tearing into each other from the outset.
And it was a huge surprise that the teams went in all-square at half-time following a thrilling first 45 minutes.
The reasons were mainly found in the inspired performances of respective goalkeepers Manuel Neuer and Weidenfeller, plus the wastefulness of Robben.
In the opening 25 minutes, as the yellow Dortmund shirts buzzed around furiously, Neuer was Bayern's hero.
Germany's No1 'keeper tipped over a long-range Robert Lewandowski effort, turned away Jakub Blaszczykowski's low shot with his feet and also denied Sven Bender.
It was phenomenal stuff from Neuer as Bayern's stretched defence struggled to cope with the raw pace and enthusiasm of their Bundesliga rivals.
But slowly, the contest began to turn.
Croatian forward Mandzukic reacted with fury when Robben went for goal rather than square a pass into his path that would have left a vacant net to roll into, only for Weidenfeller to make the first of his series of splendid saves.
From the corner, Weidenfeller tipped Mandzukic's header onto the crossbar before the excellent Javi Martinez skimmed a shot just over.
An enthralling contest was encapsulated in the space of seconds just before the break when Lewandowski found room inside the Bayern area to squeeze out a shot which Neuer saved and then immediately launched a counter-attack from.
Through a fortunate bounce and Mats Hummels losing his bearings, Robben ended up face-to-face with Weidenfeller, with the Dortmund 'keeper again winning their duel.
It was hard to see such a stunning encounter continue to remain goalless and 15 minutes after the interval came the breakthrough.
After leading the attacking raid, Robben drifted quietly into space as Ribery assessed his options.
One burst of pace later and Ribery had flicked the ball to his fellow wide-man, drawing Weidenfeller from his line in desperation.
Mandzukic was in a similar place and he slotted home after Robben crossed for him to tap in from close range.
Soon after Dante paid the price for an ill-advised attempt at a clearance as he succeeded only in kicking Reus in the stomach and Gundogan did the rest from the penalty spot.
There was no debating the decision but, as Dante had previously been booked, there was a strong argument the Brazilian deserved a red card.
Not that there was any time to debate the issue as Neven Subotic miraculously got back to hook Thomas Muller's shot off the line before Weidenfeller flung himself in the way of David Alaba's effort.
Muller was convinced he should have had a penalty when he went down under Subotic's challenge but his appeals were waved away by referee Nicola Rizzoli.
Bastian Schweinsteiger was next to find Weidenfeller getting in the way of one of his shots.
But Bayern need not have worried. With extra-time looking certain, Ribery managed to force a backheel through a crowd of defenders inside the Dortmund box.
Robben charged onto it, kept his cool to nip round a couple of despairing tackles and rolled the ball past Weidenfeller to send Munich’s supporters into ecstasy.
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