By JUSTIN FERGUSON
For the past few seasons, Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben has endured criticisms about his performances in finals.
On Saturday, the Dutch winger exorcised the big game demons for himself and his club with a last-minute winner in the UEFA Champions League Final.
Robben slipped a soft shot past Roman Weidenfeller in the 89th minute to give Bayern a 2-1 win over rivals Borussia Dortmund. He also set up Mario Mandzukic for the opener at the hour mark, but the lead was canceled out less than 10 minutes later by an Ilkay Gundogan penalty conversion.
Robben, who missed a crucial penalty in last year’s Champions League Final loss to Chelsea, appeared to be back to his old ways in a scoreless yet thrilling first half at Wembley Stadium. The winger generated several chances in front of goal for Bayern, but Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller kept each of them out.
Dortmund were also stopped by some outstanding goalkeeping in the first 45 minutes. They controlled the chances in the opening stages with some potent counter attacks, but Manuel Neuer kept the match scoreless heading into the break.
Bayern took control of the match early in the second half, and the Bundesliga champions finally found a way past Weidenfeller at the hour mark. Franck Ribery, who came close to getting sent off in the first half for throwing an elbow, sent a cutting ball inside the box to Robben. The Dutch winger pulled the ball back at the last moment for a wide-open tap-in from Mandzukic.
After an already-booked Dante was whistled for a horrific challenge on Marco Reus inside the box, Gundogan calmly converted a 68th-minute penalty to swing momentum back Dortmund’s way.
Both sides traded shots and hard fouls until just seconds before the 90th minute, when Robben slipped through the middle of the Dortmund defense and softly tapped the ball away from a charging Weidenfeller.
Robben’s last-minute winner gave Bayern their fifth Champions League title, a long-awaited trophy for a side that lost its last two finals appearances. Bayern will look to complete their first treble in club history next Saturday in the German Cup final.
What were your thoughts on the result? Surprised at Robben coming up big on Europe’s biggest stage? Thought Ribery should have been sent off for his elbow? What did you make of Dortmund’s performance?
Share your thoughts below.
They don’t get much more entertaining than that. I do feel that Dortmund got robbed by the ref not giving two clear ejections though.
On another note, how can anyone stand Ribery? I guess a lot of people will say the underage prostitutes aren’t a big deal and might try to defend the elbow as accidental and the diving as part of soccer, but at some point you’ve got to call a spade a spade.
Agreed. It’s also doesn’t help that he’s the ugliest man on the face of the planet. So, maybe people feel sorry for him about the prostitute thing.
I miss damn game!! I had leave my in-laws to airport, long crappy drive to Miami, and I had listen ESPN Deportes with some static.
Robben’s footwork on his goal would have made Fred Astaire smile.
Fred’s left foot for sure 😉
That goal would have been so much easier if he didn’t insist on never using his right foot
I would say Robben is underrated. He seems to miss so many chances because he creates more than almost anyone. Not only can he run by you but he can belt goals in from 30yards. I hope he stays healthy for a few more years.
He doesn’t always show up when you need him.
Two years in a row with utterly class finals, although both so different. Really inspired performances by the keepers, Ribery, Robben, and really both coaches for putting their teams out there to play to their strengths. Good stuff.
You would call last years final class? Chelsea basically sat in a shell all game and let Bayern dominate and were lucky to win. This was a great game but I really don’t think last years was.
Some people like home run contests, others like pitching duels.
Last year’s final was like a pitching duel. I thought it was more competitive.
This year was a great game but by the second half you had the feeling that it was just a matter of time before Bayern ground them down and scored.
Dortmund were heroic and might have won but it would have been a big upset. They were just outmanned in the end.
Last years was more like an overmatched fighter who gets pummeled for 10 rounds and then lands a lucky punch at the end. It was not even at all. I get what you are saying though about different types of games being interesting to different people
great game, worthy final for the world’s gaze today
Dortmund pushed the pressure early and most of the 1st hslf and Bayern settled 4-4 in the back and looked to counter, 2nd half Bayern brought the high pressure wood, made it pay off ultimately. no ref mumbo jumbo to discusss
what a great game
I dunno that Ref let the ball hit him a few times! He was clearly MAKING the players kick the ball right at him as he stood still!
Clear advantage to…. yeah… I don’t remember. Good ref.
Am I the only that thinks Subotic is a greater loss to the USMNT than Rossi? He is an absolute stud. That would be one position we wouldn’t have to worry about for many years
Over and over thought the exact same thing. He shut down Robben beautifully deep in the box on one play. Kept a cool head, stayed with him perfectly and had textbook positioning. Just a terrific defender.
Off topic, both keepers were outstanding. Could have been 5 goals by the half. Great game all around.
Agreed on the goalies. They both played incredibly. I hate that either had to lose. I think they should’ve been co-players of the match
That was a fantastic game. Heartbreaking loss for Dortmund, but they can be proud to have played so well against the current best team in the world. Dante should have been handed a straight red for kicking Reus in the gut, and if not a red at least his second yellow putting Bayern down to 10 men. And Ribery could have seen red for his elbow in Lewandoski’s face, and should at least have seen yellow.
But it was mostly fair a fair game, except for the diving in the second half from Bayern, mainly Ribery and Mandzukic. Those guys are disgusting.
The big loser today is none other than Pep Guardiola, who probably is either crying right now or banging his head against the wall wailing: What have I doooone? No where for Pep/Bayern to go now but down. I think there is a high probability that Pep + FC Bayern is not going to work.
I don’t about Mandzukic, but yeah… Ribery does that. I would Argue thought that Ribery kept his diving below is average though.
And Pep… he better not change too much… I think he might try to remake Barca… which would be foolish with a team like this. They can do everything Barca can but are still flexible stylewise.
Disagree. He is getting a top team and can change it so it does not go stale.
So you think he should make it Barca part 2?
The point I made is that they have flexibility. How can something that is variation by definition go stale?
I do agree that doing the same thing every year is bad though.
Great game! Both teams played outstanding. Bundesliga is clearly ahead of everybody else, and Bayern appear to be the team of the future as well as the present. Neuer and Robben were huge, and Bayern seem to really control the second half. Bayern dominated the Italian champs, and the Spanish champs en route to showing the world who the bosses of soccer really are. Get used to seeing Bayern in at least the semi-finals of the Champions League for many years to come!
I definitely though Ribery should have been sent off but was happy to not see the game altered that early. Also Dante should have gotten a second yellow on the PK. Would probably say Lewandowski should have seen red as well. With all that said was hugely entertaining and a great advertisement for soccer in America on a big stage.