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The first all-German final lined up all-conquering Bayern against Dortmund at Wembley; could Jupp Heynckes’ side end a run of two UEFA Champions League deciders without a win?
A winner with Real Madrid in 1998, Jupp Heynckes was attempting to become only the fourth man to coach two sides to European Cup success, but the 68-year-old needed to break a run of bad luck – Bayern lost the 2010 final to Inter Milan and were then beaten on penalties by Chelsea in the 2012 decider in Munich. Dortmund had ended the 2012/13 season 25 points adrift of Bayern in the Bundesliga, but Jürgen Klopp’s team were not despairing: "People have climbed Mount Everest aware they might have to turn back ten metres from the top," the 45-year-old said. "They try anyway and so will we."
Franck Ribéry: A league-best 15 assists in Bayern’s superlative Bundesliga season gave some measure of the Frenchman’s value. He completed a third domestic double with Bayern in 2012/13 – could he make it a treble?
Arjen Robben: The Dutch winger missed a penalty in extra time in the 2012 final against Chelsea, with his side going on to lose on spot kicks. More than anyone, he had a point to prove in London.
Robert Lewandowski: The Polish striker would end his third Dortmund campaign with 36 goals in all competitions, including a UEFA Champions League semi-final record four in one game against Real Madrid.
Bayern started with four players – Robben, captain Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller – who had endured the final defeats of 2010 and 2012, but it took a player in his first term in Munich, Mario Mandžukić, to supply the 60th-minute breakthrough after both sides had missed a series of chances.
İlkay Gündoğan's penalty swiftly levelled matters – the first goal Bayern had conceded in the competition in 432 minutes – and yet it was Bayern who looked more likely to snatch a late winner. So it proved in the 89th minute. Ribéry controlled a high ball into the box and flicked it into Robben's path; the No10 evaded two defenders and pushed a shot past Roman Weidenfeller.
Arjen Robben, Bayern forward: "For a footballer, this is the peak – the greatest you can achieve. The whistle from the referee and you know you're the Champions League winner – for a lot of us at Bayern, that's the only thing missing from our lives. After the disappointment of last year, and to a [lesser extent] 2010, and the World Cup for me – that's three finals and you don't want the stamp of a loser."
Franck Ribéry, Bayern winger: "I went back to my room at six in the morning. I took the trophy with me. I slept with it next to me and my wife."
Jürgen Klopp, Dortmund coach: "I need a moment to feel proud again but I'm sure it's slumbering within me – I am proud of my team, but at the moment it's the disappointment that prevails. That's normal. When you strive for something and don't get it, it hurts. The team gave all they had; they were so passionate about it – they really deserved to equalise."
Bayern's fans had unfurled a pre-match banner bearing the legend 'Und heute ist wieder ein guter tag' (And yet again it's a good day) – and given they picked up the trophy for a fifth time, it finally was. They have not appeared in a UEFA Champions League final since, though, even after luring Dortmund’s star man Lewandowski to Bavaria in 2014.
When his Liverpool side lost to Real Madrid in the 2018 UEFA Champions League showpiece, Klopp may have understood how Bayern felt back in 2012. However, his second runners-up medal remains his last (to date); like Bayern in 2013, he made it third time lucky, lifting the trophy with Liverpool in 2019.