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Chelsea Beat Bayern Munich: Didier Drogba Is Hero Of Penalty Shootout, Champions League Final (VIDEO)

By GRAHAM DUNBAR 05/19/12 09:23 PM ET AP

Champions League Final
Chelsea's Didier Drogba celebrates after scoring during the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

MUNICH — You can't keep Didier Drogba down.

The charismatic striker was at the heart of Chelsea's unlikely comeback victory in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich on Saturday night, scoring the tying goal in the 88th minute and the winner on the final penalty kick of the 4-3 shootout.

With two minutes to go and Chelsea down 1-0 to the German team in its home stadium, Drogba soared high from a corner to head home the equalizer and force 30 minutes of extra time, which ended 1-1.

When it was still level after four penalty kicks each, the 34-year-old from Ivory Coast who makes a habit of scoring crucial goals did so again, sliding home the winner and giving Chelsea its first Champions League title.

Chelsea's remarkable Champions League season has played out with the intensity of an opera since losing 3-1 to Napoli in a last 16, first-leg match in February.

The club's Russian owner Roman Abramovich – whose craving for a Champions League title since 2003 is routinely described as a holy grail – soon responded by firing coach Andre Villas-Boas and promoting assistant Roberto di Matteo, albeit with just an interim tag.

Di Matteo responded by masterminding a stirring comeback against Napoli, defeat of Benfica and the epic rearguard action to eliminate Barcelona in the semifinals.

"The way we turned things around against Napoli, Barcelona, I think we deserve this trophy," Drogba said. "The last kick of the season and what a way to do it now."

Abramovich now has the fascinating decision of whether to reward Di Matteo by entrusting his billion-dollar investment to the 41-year-old Italian on a permanent basis.

"Football, like life, is unpredictable and crazy," Di Matteo said. "Nobody could have predicted the last three months. To finish like this is incredible. Whatever the future holds for me, I'd be happy."

Abramovich might consider how the interim coach helped protect the club's business plan. Victory Saturday sealed Chelsea's last remaining route, as title holder, into next season's competition and retaining the elite status and finances that follow.

The owner, who clapped and sang along as one of the fans' anthems, "The Liquidator," pounded the Allianz Arena sound system close to midnight, must also decide what contract to offer Drogba after his current deal expires next month.

The final was billed as possibly Drogba's last match for the club after eight years of exceptional service in west London.

"We can't take decisions on moments like this, on emotions," he said.

As against Barcelona, on Saturday Drogba led the attack alone as Chelsea was starved of possession, drew fouls where he could and came alive at the merest hint of a chance to score.

For good measure, he conceded the extra-time penalty which his former Chelsea teammate Arjen Robben then struck too close to Petr Cech, helping the outstanding Czech goalkeeper earn best supporting honors.

"When we have this guy in goal you have to believe," Drogba said.

Cech, who was exceptional in Barcelona, saved Robben's powerful 21st-minute shot, deflecting the ball on to his right post and handled perfectly when any Bayern effort breached the wall of defensive bodies in front of him that has been a trademark of Chelsea's campaign.

"They played the way they can at the moment. They fought, they played well defensively. They deserved it," Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said.

When Bayern led 3-2 in the shootout, after Juan Mata's opening kick was saved by German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Cech dived to his left to palm away substitute Ivica Olic's attempt.

After Ashley Cole, who also had an excellent match, leveled the shootout, Bayern's star player, Bastian Schweinsteiger stepped up.

Schweinsteiger had scored the winning goal in the semifinals shootout against Real Madrid – extending the club's run of never losing on penalties in European competition – but pushed his shot on to the left post, then covered his face with his shirt.

Drogba stepped up, placed his kick in the bottom right corner as Neuer dived left, and wheeled away to hug Cech and await the adulation of their onrushing teammates.

He succeeded where his captain John Terry, who was suspended for Saturday's finale, failed in missing the fifth penalty in a shootout four years ago that allowed Manchester United to win an all-English final.

That defeat in Moscow fuelled the legend of Abramovich's craving to win, and his players' desire for redemption in probably their last shot at the trophy.

Chelsea's quest looked hopeless for much of the game, and certainly after Thomas Mueller broke dogged resistance with a header past Cech in the 83rd minute.

Mueller's goal sparked delirious celebrations among the Bayern players and fans who believed they were destined to win their home final.

They underestimated Chelsea's admirable resolve, and five minutes later Drogba soared to score with a header from Mata's corner.

Yet Drogba's taste for the dramatic flared up in the third minute of extra time, as he clipped Franck Ribery's heels in the penalty area, ending the Frenchman's night through injury.

Referee Pedro Proenca's decision to point to the spot seemed to stun the Bayern fans, and their anxiety was well founded.

Robben fired low to Cech's left, and the Czech `keeper blocked with his arm and body, then reached across to collect the loose ball.

Bayern came agonizingly close in the 108th, when substitute Olic slipped the ball across the goalmouth but teammate Daniel van Buyten failed to anticipate the simple tap-in.

But Chelsea would not be denied, as Drogba recalled the Moscow heartbreak, and four other semifinal defeats.

"Always so close and so far, and today the cup is going to Stamford Bridge, and this is the best ever," Drogba said.

___

Lineups:

Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Jerome Boateng, Diego Contento, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Arjen Robben, Thomas Mueller (Daniel van Buyten, 87), Franck Ribery (Ivica Olic, 97), Mario Gomez.

Chelsea: Petr Cech, Jose Bosingwa, David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou (Fernando Torres, 84), Juan Mata, Ryan Bertrand (Florent Malouda, 73), Didier Drogba.

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  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech (L) and Chelsea's Ivorian forward Didier Drogba celebrate with the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Ivorian forward Didier Drogba holds the trophy after the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern Munich's German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger reacts after missing his penalty during the penalty shootout of the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea beat Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties to win the Champions League.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's British midfielder Frank Lampard holds the trophy after the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea won 4-3 in the penalty phase.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's players celebrate after the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea beat Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties to win the Champions League.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech (R) dives for the penalty shot by Bayern Munich's German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer during the penalty shootout of the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea beat Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties to win the Champions League.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech (R) dives for the penalty shot by Bayern Munich's Croatian forward Ivica Olic during the penalty shootout of the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea beat Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties to win the Champions League.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern Munich's German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (R) misses to score in front of Chelsea's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech during the penalty phase of the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea won 4-3 in the penalty phase.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern Munich's German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger reacts after he misses to score in front of Chelsea's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech during the penalty phase of the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea won 4-3 in the penalty phase.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern Munich's German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (R) misses to score in front of Chelsea's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech during the penalty phase of the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea won 4-3 in the penalty phase.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Spanish forward Fernando Torres celebrates with the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern Munich's German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (L) misses to catch the ball as Chelsea's Ivorian forward Didier Drogba scores during the penalty phase of the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea won 4-3 in the penalty phase.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern Munich's German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (L) misses to catch the ball as Chelsea's Ivorian forward Didier Drogba scores during the penalty phase of the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea won 4-3 in the penalty phase.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern Munich's German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (L) walks over the pitch as Chelsea's players celebrate after the penalty shootout of the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea beat Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties to win the Champions League.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Spanish forward Fernando Torres holds the trophy after the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea won 4-3 in the penalty phase.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Ivorian forward Didier Drogba (L) and Chelsea's French midfielder Florent Malouda pose with the trophy after the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea won 4-3 in the penalty phase.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Ivorian forward Didier Drogba holds the trophy after the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea won 4-3 in the penalty phase.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech celebrates with the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Fernando Torres, left, and David Luiz kiss sit on the bar as they celebrate at the end of the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Didier Drogba holds the trophy at the end of the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's owner Roman Abramovich hugs John Terry at the end of the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Didier Drogba holds the trophy as he leaves the pitch after the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Didier Drogba, right, talks to Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, right, consoles Arjen Robben during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Didier Drogba scores the decisive shootout penalty during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern's Franck Ribery is applauded by Chelsea players after the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger is applauded by Chelsea players after the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea team celebrate at the end of the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech saves a shootout penalty kicked by Bayern's Ivica Olic during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer scores his shootout penalty kick during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's John Terry celebrates at the end of the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern's Arjen Robben looks up after the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's David Luiz, left, celebrates with teammates after Drogba scored the decisive shootout penalty during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo, right, looks at UEFA president Michel Platini as he holds the trophy at the end of the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Frank Lampard celebrates at the end of the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, right, congratulates John Terry at the end of the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Didier Drogba goes for the ball during the Champions League final soccer match against Bayern Munich in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern's Thomas Mueller, left, celebrates with his teammate Arjen Robben after scoring during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Fernando Torres, bottom right, is challenegd by Bayern's Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and Bayern's Jerome Boateng, left, during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern's Franck Ribery is comforted by Christian Nerlinger during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    A Chelsea supporter reacts as he watches their team play against Bayern Munich in their Champions League final in Munich, Germany, on a video screen in a bar near to Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern's Thomas Mueller, left, celebrates after scoring during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger holds his head after his teammate Arjen Robben missed a penalty kick during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Fernando Torres, right, is tackled by Bayern's Diego Contento during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Didier Drogba, center, celebrates with teammates Frank Lampard, left, and Juan Mata after scoring during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern's Franck Ribery touches his leg as he sits on the bench during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern's Franck Ribery, top, heads the ball past Chelsea's Jose Bosingwa during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Chelsea's Didier Drogba, top, second from right, scores during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

  • Chelsea Wins Champions League Final

    Bayern's Mario Gomez, left, kicks the ball past Chelsea's Gary Cahill during the Champions League final soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Munich, Germany Saturday May 19, 2012.

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Filed by Chris Greenberg  |