From the moment it was announced that the 2012 UEFA Champions League final would be held in Munich, FC Bayern München began to regard it as their destiny to take part. That dream eventually came true after a penalty shoot-out win against Real Madrid CF in the last four, and now the German giants are looking to lift their fifth European Cup and become the first side to do so on their own ground since FC Internazionale Milano triumphed at San Siro in 1965.
Story of the season
Having overcome FC Zürich 3-0 on aggregate in the play-off round, Bayern proved their potential by easing through a formidable-looking Group A with a match to spare. They finished ahead of SSC Napoli, Manchester City FC and Villarreal CF and lost just once, in their final match at City when they were assured of winning the group. Die Bayern then brushed aside FC Basel 1893 and Olympique de Marseille in the knockout rounds and got the better of Madrid on penalties in the last four to reach their dream final. While they finished eight points behind Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga title race and lost 5-2 against Jürgen Klopp's men in the German Cup final, all will be forgiven should they prevail on 19 May.
P8 W4 L4
Last: 2009/10 v FC Internazionale Milano (0-2)
Record against final opponent
The two sides have only met once in the UEFA Champions League, when, having succumbed 4-2 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg, Bayern left it too late to manage a full comeback on home soil and bowed out of the competition 6-5 on aggregate.
There was nothing to separate Bayern and Madrid on aggregate after 120 minutes of their semi-final decider until Manuel Neuer came to the fore during their the penalty shoot-out. The German No1 got down low to his right to deny the prolific Cristiano Ronaldo before repeating the feat moments later to keep out Kaká. Neuer's heroics eventually set up the chance for Bastian Schweinsteiger to send his side into the final and the midfielder duly obliged.
Quote: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Bayern midfielder
"We're all dead, but overjoyed. Ever since it was announced that the final would be in Munich, we all had only one target – to get there. The only thing going through my head [in the penalty shoot-out] was putting the ball in the net."
Mario Gomez's 12 goals by this stage would normally leave him well placed to be the UEFA Champions League's top scorer, but instead he has to make do with second spot behind the inimitable Lionel Messi (14). "I am not crazy enough to compare myself to Messi," said the Bayern striker. "He is just the best, maybe ever. I'm scoring so often because the team make it easy for me. We're playing attacking football and I'm the one waiting at the end of the line."
In the absence of the injured Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos stepped into the breach with excellent results, particularly in the knockout rounds. His powerful shot has earned him two European goals, while his vision has opened up countless gaps for his team-mates.
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