The UEFA Champions League final is finally here!
This season has been a bag of surprises and the finalists are proof of that. Chelsea and Bayern Munich face each other after eliminating their respective rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The Blues eliminated the Catalans despite being dominated for the entire game. On the other side, Bayern put up a resilient fight against the Galacticos to end their hopes in a penalty shoot-out.
We walk down memory lane and relive 5 of the best Champions League finals…
Barcelona were at their peak having won 4 consecutive league titles and were now gunning for their second Champions League Cup. Although, Barca were favourites to take the title home with a star-studded line-up that included Romario and Stoichkov, destiny had other plans. AC Milan put up a dominating show and thrashed the Catalans. Daniele Massaro found the net twice followed by Dejan Savicevic genius goal and Marcel Desaily’s finisher that sent Milan home with the CL trophy.
There’s a reason why this game is there in this list. Easily, one of the most memorable finals that saw Manchester United become the first English team to win a treble ever. The Reds shocked everyone by scoring two goals in dramatic fashion during injury time. Bayern’s Mario Basler led the way with an early goal and they continued to be a step ahead of Man Utd for almost 70 minutes. Munich were on the verge of celebrating their triumph when United substitutes — Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham delivered two shockers in overtime to stun the opposition and lift the crown.
Defending champions Juventus were unarguably one of the strongest team in the ‘90s. With legendary names such as Zidane and Del Piero, Juventus were favourites despite Germany being the venue. However, Dortmund surprised Juventus with 3-1 victory. Youngster Lars Ricken’s brilliant goal that shot his career to a new high at the age of 20 was especially memorable. Not to forget, the mighty Juve experiencing one of their worst defeats.
This is second best on the list. The match which took place in Istanbul saw Liverpool and AC Milan battle it out for glory to the end. It was unarguably an astonishing comeback by Liverpool. Milan were in the driver’s seat with goals from Paolo Maldini and Hernan Crespo. Liverpool though weren’t giving up and Milan fans were left shell-shocked as the Merseyside team came back with three goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half – Steven Gerrard, Smicer and Xabi Alonso scoring for Liverpool. The game had to be decided though a penalty shoot-out and Dudek’s ‘spaghetti legs’ were enough to deny Shevchenko’s attempt and help Liverpool lift the Cup after 21 years.
It was the ultimate clash of the titans! Two of the biggest clubs in European history; Barcelona and Manchester United had their respective share of supporters and fans. Man Utd initially controlled the game, but 10 minutes into the game and Barcelona had found their rhythm and begun to torment the Red Devils. Pedro put Barca in the lead thanks to a brilliant pass from Xavi. But just 7 minutes later, striker Wayne Rooney leveled for Manchester. The second half again saw the Catalans continue to dominate proceedings. Finally, Argentine striker Lionel Messi came through to hand Barca the lead and David Villa put the icing on the cake with his goal in the 69th minute. When the whistle blew, the Reds saw themselves losing to Barcelona for the second time by two goals in three years. Barcelona had proved that they were the best!
Let’s see if the Bayern Munich-Chelsea match manages to match up to these classics and join the list next year.