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Resilient Chelsea toast of European press

Published: Sunday 20 May 2012, 11.30CET
From incredulous praise for Chelsea FC to sympathy for FC Bayern München, UEFA.com reviews the press reaction in England, Germany and Europe to the UEFA Champions League final.
Resilient Chelsea toast of European press
Chelsea celebrate after Didier Drogba's decisive penalty ©AFP/Getty Images
 
 
 
Published: Sunday 20 May 2012, 11.30CET

Resilient Chelsea toast of European press

From incredulous praise for Chelsea FC to sympathy for FC Bayern München, UEFA.com reviews the press reaction in England, Germany and Europe to the UEFA Champions League final.

English broadsheet the Guardian labels Chelsea's remarkable triumph as a "great escape".  Behind late on in normal time, the Blues then survived a spot kick in extra time before riding their luck yet again in a shoot-out which "had seemed, inexorably and excruciatingly, to be going their opponents' way". Didier Drogba applied the decisive penalty and, the Guardian concludes, "suddenly Chelsea were in blue heaven".

"Kings of Europe" is the headline in the Sunday Times, which continues: "No wonder [Roberto] Di Matteo claims miracles are in this team's DNA". The newspaper adds that the Blues' dramatic victory was all the more impressive as it came at the home of their opponents, FC Bayern München: "When Chelsea start erecting monuments to this, the single greatest triumph in the club's history, they will point out that their maiden Champions League title involved the storming of a place set up as a citadel".

The BBC was left equally incredulous at the manner of Chelsea's maiden European Cup. "Rather like most of Chelsea's Champions League campaign, there was something fanciful about what unfolded on a balmy Munich night," it reads. "And with it came evidence that, despite the questions some were quick to pose, they were truly worthy winners of this competition."

In Germany, meanwhile, there was shock that Bayern had failed to win despite dominating possession for much of the game. "How much bad luck fits into one match?" is the headline in Süddeutsche Zeitung, which calls Chelsea "a champions in the discipline of stealing the win".

Berliner Kurier adds: "A whole city is paralysed from horror. When Didier Drogba converted the decisive penalty, there was a great silence over the whole city." The burly Chelsea striker also steals the headlines in Kicker, which leads with the assertion that "Drogba becomes Bayern's nightmare".

La Vanguardia, in Spain, confirmed Drogba as the night's main protagonist, "for the good and for the bad". Leading with the headline "Drogba closes the circle," the newspaper explained: "Seven years after signing from Olympique de Marseille, the striker completed a route both he and the club desperately desired during a final in which he demonstrated his true physical prowess."

Di Matteo is the understandable centre of attention in Italy, with Gazzetta dello Sport saying: "Two and a half months at the helm were sufficient to initiate a series of miracles that have brought two trophies to Stamford Bridge, in a season that seemed to have been born under an unlucky star."

"A small miracle" is how French newspaper L'Équipe describes Chelsea's win in Munich. "Who could have predicted this triumph for Les Blues? Three months ago, it was impossible to say and even on 87 minutes in this totally crazy game, the outcome was not easy to believe. Back from everything, against all the odds, Chelsea earned their first Champions League."

Newspapers in the Czech Republic celebrate the role of Petr Čech, who became the fourth player from the country to win the UEFA Champions League. "Bravo Čech! He decided the shoot-out," wrote Blesk. Croatia striker Ivica Olić fell victim to Čech in the shoot-out and there is understandable sympathy for him in his homeland. "Unfortunately, Ivica Olić was among the Bayern players who were so unlucky," reads Večernji list. "Čech saved his penalty and Chelsea were back from the dead."

Last updated: 20/05/12 14.26CET

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