Familiar foes can make for fascinating football, as we found out Friday night.
After a thrilling 2-2 draw over 120 minutes, Bayern Munich defeated Chelsea 5-4 in a penalty shootout to win the UEFA Super Cup final at Prague's Eden Arena. In victory, the German giants added to their historic trophy haul from last season and earned a measure of redemption for the 2012 Champions League final, which they lost to Chelsea in another penalty shootout.
Bayern, Champions League winners last spring, converted all five penalties in Friday's shootout via David Alaba, Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm, Franck Ribery and Xherdan Shaqiri. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer then saved Chelsea's final kick, which was taken by Romelu Lukaku. Before that, David Luiz, Oscar, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole had converted for Chelsea.
It was a bitter ending for Chelsea, who led 2-1 until the final passage of play in extra time. Eden Hazard gave 10-man Chelsea the lead with a bouncing shot that tricked Neuer in the 93rd minute. With the final seconds ticking off, Javi Martinez collected a free kick in Chelsea's box, maintained his composure and fired his shot past Petr Cech for a last-gasp equalizer.
The late drama mirrored the 2012 Champions League final, which was 1-1 before the penalty shootout and saw Chelsea equalize in the closing moments. This time, though, Cech's heroics in goal were not enough for the London club.
But it wasn't for lack of effort on Cech's part.
Bayern peppered Chelsea's goal with shots throughout extra time, but Cech repeatedly made saves. The 31-year-old Czech stopper kept out close-range headers by Mario Mandzukic and Martinez in the 108th and 109th minutes, respectively, and tipped away Ribery's goal-bound free kick in the 118th minute.
Ribery, who was voted UEFA Best Player in Europe on Thursday, scored Bayern's first equalizer in the second minute of the first half. The Frenchman dribbled at the Chelsea defense on the left before uncorking a shot from long range to beat Cech.
Chelsea opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Hazard sliced through the Bayern defense before passing to Andre Schurrle on the right. Schurrle crossed for Fernando Torres, who finished the flowing move with a powerful volley past Neuer.
Bayern dominated possession, with 64 percent compared to Chelsea's 36 percent, but struggled to break down the Blues' defense. First-year manager Pep Guardiola opted for a 4-1-4-1 formation, but with holding midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger injured, Bayern's attacks often appeared disjointed.
Some of that probably had to do with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who was familiar with Guardiola from several matchups between the two in Spain's La Liga. Mourinho's approach seemed to suffer a blow late in the second half when Ramires drew a red card for his second bookable offense, a foul on Mario Gotze. But despite playing a man down throughout extra time, the Blues took the lead following the dismissal and came within seconds of winning.
But Martinez's late equalizer and Bayern's precision from the penalty spot meant another trophy for the Bavarian giants. Last season under Jupp Heynckes, Bayern won the Bundesliga and German Cup in addition to the Champions League.
Chelsea reached the Super Cup by winning last season's Europa League under interim manager Rafa Benitez.
Key Player Grades
Petr Cech: A
Cech should have done better on Ribery's goal, but he was immense in extra time, keeping Bayern at bay on several shots.
His point-blank stops on headers by Mandzukic and Martinez were superb, and though Bayern equalized late, it would be wrong to put the fault on Cech.
Likewise, though Cech did not make a save in the penalty shootout, Chelsea probably wouldn't have made it that far without his top-notch effort in extra time.
Manuel Neuer: B
Neuer is marked lower than Cech because he made a similar error—letting in Hazard's goal—but did not make a string of top-class saves in extra time.
That said, he did make the decisive save in the shootout.
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