Oliver Kahn, hero of the hour the last time FC Bayern München won the UEFA Champions League, speaks to UEFA.com ahead of Saturday's final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.
Bayern had missed out on their fourth European Champion Clubs' Cup in agonising circumstances two years earlier, surrendering a 1-0 lead in added time against Manchester United FC. Their opponents at San Siro in 2001, Valencia CF, had been beaten finalists the following season – one team was facing redemption, the other was on the brink of further heartache.
"We were under a lot of pressure as a team," said Kahn. "I think it was the peak of that team. If we hadn't won it against Valencia in Milan in 2001, I think it would have become difficult, because top players like Stefan Effenberg, Giovane Elber and Bixente Lizarazu had already reached top form.
"It was actually the last chance for that generation," continued the former Germany goalkeeper. "However, we had to face Valencia and they had lost the Champions League final the year before, so for them it was also their last chance."
Something had to give. It finished 1-1 after 90 minutes and remained deadlocked throughout extra time, meaning penalties were required. At 4-4 in the shoot-out, with both sides having missed twice, Thomas Linke scored for Bayern before Mauricio Pellegrino's effort was saved by Kahn.
"I remember when we won the penalty shoot-out and [Santiago] Cañizares, the Valencia goalkeeper, laid down on the goal line and started to cry," the 43-year-old recalled. "I could feel for him as I experienced something similar in 1999.
"What stays is that feeling, the feeling of having won the title, that feeling right after that missed or saved penalty – those are moments you never forget. Celebrating is nice but it's not what stays with you."
Having fallen at the last hurdle in two of the past three campaigns, Bayern will hope that – as with the class of 2001 – their time has also come.
To hear more from Kahn, watch the full video above.
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