Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties to win maiden European Cup.
Bayern Munich 1-1 Chelsea (Chelsea win 4-3 on penalties)
UEFA Champions League
7.45pm BST, Saturday 19 March 2012
Allianz Arena, Munich
If Didier Drogba leaves Chelsea this summer, he will do so as a European Champion as the Blues lifted the European Cup for the first time in their history.
Drogba, whose Chelsea contract expires next month, scored a dramatic late equaliser to take the game into stoppage time, and then scored the decisive penalty in a dramatic shootout to secure the trophy for Roberto Di Matteo's team.
It was incredible stuff from a side that underperformed so much in the Premier League and finished sixth. But Chelsea's win means Tottenham, who finished fourth, are eliminated from next season's Champions League and will now have to settle for the Europa League.
On a night of high drama in Munich, Di Matteo chose to take the same approach that served Chelsea so well in the second leg of their semi-final against Barcelona. Then, it was a magnificent rearguard action that allowed Chelsea, who won The FA Cup earlier this month, to defy the odds and claim a 3-2 aggregate win, withholding intense pressure.
In Munich, it was the same story, as the Blues defended for their lives in the opening 85 minutes in the Allianz Arena.
They were on the backfoot as their hosts swarmed forward, but even without the suspended John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic, the Blues defence held firm.
Chances came and went begging as Bayern wasted repeated opportunities to score. Mario Gomes wanted too much time when he had a shooting chance 20 minutes in. Petr Cech had already diverted a shot from Arjen Robben against his post, and then another from the former Chelsea man flew over the bar.
Drogba was on his own up front, but Saloman Kalou forced Manuel Neuer into a sharp save at his near post from a rare Chelsea attack.
But it was mostly one-way traffic, with Cech and his defenders under siege, and David Luiz headed a fierce shot from Toni Kroos over his own bar.
Bayern finally broke through in the 85th minute when Kroos crossed from the left, Thomas Mueller stole in at the far post and directed a textbook header into the ground and over the flailing arms of Cech.
But just as in previous rounds, Chelsea would not give up, and equalised with only two minutes remaining. Di Matteo sent on Fernando Torres, they won a corner on the right and from Juan Mata's kick, Drogba rose to power in a header at the near post.
The German side looked crushed as the game went into extra time, but were thrown a lifeline when Drogba tripped Franck Ribery in the penalty area five minutes into the extended period. Referee Pedro Proenca pointed to the spot, but Robben's penalty was too close to Cech and the 'keeper made a terrific save to keep Chelsea alive.
With both sides looking increasingly tired, clear chances became fewer and the game drifted towards the inevitable penalty shoot-out.
Philip Lahm scored and when Mata had his spot kick saved, it was advantage to the Germans. But Cech got his hands to Olic's penalty to level the scores, and then Bastien Schweinsteiger hit the post.
That left Drogba – who else? – to smash home the final penalty and it was all over.
Chelsea are the European Champions.
Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Tymoschuk, Contento, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Robben, Mueller (Van Buyten 86), Ribery (Olic 97), Gomez.
Substitutes not used Butt, Petersen, Rafinha, Usami, Pranjic.
Cech, Bosingwa, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Kalou (Torres 85), Mikel, Lampard, Bertrand (Malouda 75) Mata, Drogba.
Substitutes not used Turnbull, Essien, Romeu, Ferreira, Sturridge.
Referee Pedro Proenca (Portugal)