The 2011-12 World Football season looked as if it was going to end with a fizzle at the Allianz Arena on Saturday—with 80 minutes gone by, the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea FC was still scoreless despite numerous chances wasted from the Bavarians.
But Bayern, playing on home soil in Munich, looked to have broken the deadlock in the 83rd minute when Thomas Müller's header bounced off the pitch and past the defiant Petr Cech into the back of the net. However, what looked to have been the winning goal was actually far from it.
A mere five minutes later in the 88th minute, Chelsea were given their first corner of the game and it was a chance to grab an equalizer completely against the run of play. Sure enough, Chelsea superstar Didier Drogba sent a thumping header of his own into the top corner, giving the Blues a lifeline of sorts.
For the record, Bayern could do nothing with their whopping 20 corners in the match, while Chelsea made the most of their single corner kick. That pretty much says it all.
Once 90 minutes had ended, the match was sent into the unusual and uncommon scenario of Golden Goal—where the first goal scored by either side would be the winner, and if no goals were scored after two halves of 15 minutes, the outcome would be decided by a penalty shootout.
But it looked as if Golden Goal wouldn't last very long after just five minutes into extra time when Bayern Munich were handed a penalty after Franck Ribery went down in the box. Arjen Robben, whose penalty had recently been saved in Bayern's Bundesliga title decider against Dortmund, stepped up to take the spot kick and win the Champions League title for the Bavarians.
The rest, as they say, is history. Robben had his penalty saved by the ever-so-clutch Petr Cech (by the way, he placed it in the exact same spot as he did in his saved attempt against Dortmund), and once neither side could put the ball in the back of the net in extra time, the 2012 Champions League would have to be decided in a penalty shootout.
In the back of everyone's mind was the thought that this shootout was Chelsea vs Bayern, England vs Germany, and that history would repeat itself and Germany would win the shootout as they always do.
But Chelsea had a different idea. Things were looking bleak after Phillip Lahm converted his penalty and Juan Mata failed to do so, but after that Chelsea surprisingly didn't miss one spot kick. Bayern, however, missed two, with Olic's attempt saved and Schweinsteiger, yes, Schweinsteiger having his shot just hit the post.
Didier Drogba etched his name forever in the history of Chelsea football club with his winning penalty to hand the Blues their first ever Champions League title.
But now I get to why this has been the best season in football, ever.
Take a look at the winner of every major league in Europe.
Starting with the Premier League, we saw Manchester City win their first Premier League title in 44 years in what was surely the most exciting English title race of all time. Some say it marked the beginning of a new era, a new rise to power in both English and European football.
Next, we have La Liga. Although it wasn't exactly a major underdog like Valencia or Malaga who won the title, it was still Real Madrid, an underdog compared to Barcelona who were overwhelming favorites to defend their 2010-11 title win. As well as that, Real Madrid also marked the highest ever point tally in La Liga.
And then there's Serie A. After being relegated to the lower tiers of Italian football following their massive match-fixing scandal, Juventus have regained their crown of Italian glory against all odds. Beating the ever-so-strong AC Milan to the title, "The Old Lady" had a remarkable campaign which saw them finish their Serie A season undefeated, coming after two consecutive seasons of finishing seventh.
Lastly in Europe's four major leagues is the Bundesliga, where Borussia Dortmund reclaimed their title unexpectedly over Bayern Munich, who ultimately finished their campaign trophy-less.
If you haven't noticed the theme, the 2011-12 season was undoubtedly the year of the underdog—and it was summed up perfectly with Chelsea's shocking Champions League win.
In my opinion, this has been the best season in World Football, ever. What do you think?
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