James Lawton: Jose Mourinho's dream punctured by nerveless Bayern Munich riposte

German club prevail in rapier duel to cut down Portuguese coach's hopes of unique treble

When Bastian Schweinsteiger smashed in the decisive penalty that carried Bayern Munich into the Champions League final on their home ground, and then beat his naked chest, Jose Mourinho got up from his knees and walked into the shadows of the Bernabeu, perhaps aware, finally, that even he is powerless before the whims and the melodramas of this greatest of club tournaments.

Mourinho was close to the unique distinction of winning three European Cups with three different clubs. He could taste the lonely splendour of it when Cristiano Ronaldo swept Real Madrid into an early 2-0 lead. But what he could not imagine – and he can hardly have been alone in this – was that for a second time in 24 hours a team would play with an unforgettable passion – and nerve.

 



After the siege of Nou Camp, it had been the rapier duel of the Bernabeu before first Ronaldo, then Kaka stumbled in the penalty shoot-out that had never seemed so cruel, so arbitrary in its detachment from all that had gone before.

The exchanges were so quick, and so often brilliant, that heroic but depleted Chelsea must have felt that their extraordinary victory over Barcelona had simply carried them from one logically impossible task to another.

Certainly had they been invited to pick their opponents for the Munich final next month, they might have elected to do it by using straws. Which was the shorter one, Real or Bayern?

It was not even a debate in the first surge of Ronaldo's brilliance. In 14 minutes he had scored twice, once from the spot, with mocking aplomb and Bayern's slender lead from the first leg had been engulfed. In the process Ronaldo had brought his mano-a-mano contest with the sidelined Lionel Messi, for a few months at least, to a most brutal conclusion. Or so it was easy to imagine.

Yet if Bayern also seemed like prime candidates for the Champions League last rites, the idea was exposed soon enough as a gross under-estimation of the team the old Bundesliga fox Jupp Heynckes has shaped around the attacking brilliance of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry and Mario Gomez.

Between them they sent a series of shock waves through the great stadium and when Robben's penalty brought the aggregate score and away goals level you might just have heard a busker performing in the Puerto del Sol.

The quality of the ensuing football inevitably reminded you of the huge chasm Chelsea had crossed 24 hours earlier when they neutralised one of the two football cultures that last night provided a match of such consistently thrilling rhythm and bite.

Those who regarded as a near certainty the final contest between Mourinho and Roberto Di Matteo, the man who has so brilliantly exploited the enduring character of the team built by the Special One, were forced into profound re-appraisal.

Included in it, there had to be new respect for the bullish pre-match demeanour of Heynckes. He spoke of his bone-deep conviction that Bayern had the means to build on the lead they achieved at the Allianz Arena. There would be no hanging and holding and so it proved as the first extraordinary impact of Ronaldo began to wane.

Robben was especially filled with self-belief and some of his inter-changes with Ribéry brought an increasingly sombre expression to Mourinho's face.

The fluency of Bayern no doubt persuaded him that he needed a little new momentum of his own and the result was the appearance of the faded but still lingeringly brilliant Kaka.

It was a desperate throw by the man who would rule the football world and, as we might have guessed at this point in the slippage of a great triumph, it didn't work. Bayern, like Chelsea, had different and superior plans.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins wins the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Sacha Baron Cohen is definitely not involved in the Freddie Mercury biopic, Brian May has confirmed
film
News
(David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
News
news
News
Boyband star Brian Harvey is on benefits and on the verge of homelessness
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor