Earlier this week we talked about Bayern Munich’s propensity for losing in the big game. The Bavarian club’s star winger, Arjen Robben, took it to the next level, fluffing numerous chances to score against Spain in the 2010 World Cup final while playing for the Netherlands. He also missed a penalty kick in last year’s Champions League final vs. Chelsea, which would have put Bayern ahead in extra time. Until Saturday afternoon (and even during it), Robben’s performances in the big game were a walking punchline on Twitter.
The hardly-beloved Robben found his own personal narrative redemption in the 2013 Champions League final Saturday vs. Borussia Dortmund, scoring the winner in 89th minute to lift Bayern Munich to a 2-1 victory and its first European title since 2001.
It was, in a way, a fitting goal for Robben who’s missed so many easy chances over the years — due to his over reliance on his left foot — to finish off a game with a delicate bit of dribbling and soft touch to let the ball slowly roll into the net past Roman Weidenfeller — who’d been excellent for Dortmund throughout the match. Naturally Robben scored it with, yep, his left foot prompting him to break out his trademark “jazz hands” celebration.
Credit Franck Ribery’s deft back heel flick, which hit Robben in stride for the game-winner. It was such a strange goal, FOX’s Gus Johnson really didn’t know how to react, well, other than scream loudly.
The the final proved to be the Robben Show, as he also set up the first goal for Bayern, crossing from deep to set up Mario Mandžukić, which put them ahead 1-0 until Dortmund equalized from the penalty spot.
Robben had a chance to score earlier in the second half, only to be denied on a goal line clearance by Nevan Subotic.
Overall this was one of the better played games you’re going to see in a cup final. Both teams came out with an open, attacking game plan leading to numerous chances. It wasn’t the dull, defensive-first display these games often produce, even if the first half was a clinic by each team’s keeper, which kept the game scoreless.
Bayern, which will bring on Pep Guardiola as manager, will see if it can continue its recent success and position itself as one of the best club team’s of this century. Dortmund and manger Jürgen Klopp will be left to pick up the pieces, knowing it’ll likely never come this close again any time soon.
[All GIFs via 101 Great Goals]