FC Bayern München have achieved their dream of reaching the 2012 UEFA Champions League final on home soil, against Chelsea FC, after ousting Real Madrid CF on penalties following 210 minutes of an enthralling semi-final.
Bastian Schweinsteiger converted the decisive spot kick, though Manuel Neuer's superb saves to deny Cristiano Ronaldo and Kakà were just as crucial. David Alaba and Mario Gomez converted for Bayern before Iker Casillas denied Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm to drag Madrid back level. Yet when Sergio Ramos fired his penalty high over the bar, Schweinsteiger had the chance to seal it – he did not disappoint, giving his side an unassailable 3-1 lead.
Bayern's celebrations were understandably spirited; how different their emotions had been after 14 minutes, by which time their 2-1 first-leg advantage had become a 3-2 deficit. Ronaldo did the damage as the hosts burst out of the blocks, scoring twice, the first a penalty. The Bundesliga visitors regrouped and Arjen Robben's own spot kick before the half-hour ultimately set up the dramatic conclusion.
It had been all Madrid in those opening skirmishes, with Xabi Alonso and Ángel Di María linking up well down the right. The breakthrough came with a cross from the other flank by Marcelo, however, which was met by Di María's volley and struck the hand of Alaba. A booking followed, ruling the Bayern defender out of a possible final – Luiz Gustavo and Holger Badstuber would suffer a similar fate.
Ronaldo sent Neuer the wrong way with his 25th consecutive successful spot kick for the club – what he would have given for No26? Bayern should have equalised when former Madrid man Robben skied a shot over from point-blank range after connecting with Alaba's excellent centre. Casillas was forced into action soon after, spilling Gomez's low drive and looking on in relief as Álvaro Arbeloa cleared off Franck Ribéry's toe.
The pace continued unabated and the nine-time European champions soon made it 2-0 on the night. Looking to clear under pressure from Khedira, Kroos inadvertently skewed the ball into Mesut Özil's path, and the playmaker teed up Ronaldo to rifle in his tenth UEFA Champions League goal in as many games this season.
A 90th-minute effort from Gomez earned Jupp Heynckes's side victory last week and the striker was again in the thick of it as Bayern replied here, being pushed over by Pepe to win the penalty. Casillas reached Robben's effort from the spot but could only tip it onto the post and in, and momentum gradually shifted in the visiting team's favour.
After the break and the hosts were thankful that Casillas was quickest to the ball after Robben burst clean through on goal. As extra time beckoned Gomez fluffed a chance to settle the tie when – with the goal at his mercy – he miscontrolled, allowing Ramos to make a saving challenge. Gomez made no mistake when it really mattered, however; nor did Bayern, and Chelsea now await on 19 May.
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