The heavens opened up over Munich on Sunday afternoon but nothing could dampen the spirits of FC Bayern München's supporters as their heroes returned home clutching the UEFA Champions League trophy.
It was a day for celebrations as Bayern returned to Germany at around 17.30CET following their 2-1 victory against domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund at Wembley on Saturday. Gone were the painful memories of the club's 2010 and 2012 showpiece losses as Jupp Heynckes and his players touched down on home soil as European champions.
Heynckes was first out of the aircraft amid heavy showers and ice-cold temperatures, before showing off the trophy with his captain Philipp Lahm. Around 30 different television crews and 80 Munich Airport staff members welcomed Bayern onto the runway, although the tired players did not have much to say after a long night of partying. "I went back to my room at six in the morning," said forward Franck Ribéry, who set up Arjen Robben for the winner. "I took the trophy with me. I slept with it next to me and my wife."
Hordes of fans waited in the rain after travelling to the airport to give Bayern a rousing welcome, but they were deprived even a glimpse of the new kings of Europe. Instead, the players got straight onto their team bus from the runway and took the trophy home. The celebrations will begin in earnest in a week's time should Bayern realise their dream of completing a famous treble. With the Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League titles now sewn up, they are determined to see off VfB Stuttgart in the German Cup final in Berlin on Saturday.
Granted Monday off, the players will waste little time before commencing their preparations for that game. "We want to win the treble, so we have to stay healthy," said Thomas Müller, before quickly disappearing onto the team bus. That sentiment was echoed by Lahm, who added: "We will be fully concentrated on our preparations." Heynckes had already explained that the team's triumphant return from London will not be celebrated yet, and he more than anyone is focused on their final task. Set to step down at the end of the season, the 68-year-old now wants to go out with a real bang.
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