Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes was in celebratory mood during his press conference that followed a thrilling 3-1 penalty shoot-out win over Real Madrid and sent the Bavarians into an evenly matched final against Chelsea at home on May 19.
Not many predicted that the Blues and Bayern would successfully pass through their respective semifinal ties against Barcelona and Real to reach the big final at Allianz Arena next month.
After all, one is England’s sixth-place team and the other just lost a second successive Bundesliga title. Yet, against all odds, both teams produced thrilling displays to seal their place and each of them now has a famous shot at making history.
While Chelsea eye a first ever Champions League title, Heynckes will hope that his side becomes the first to lift the prestigious trophy at their own stadium in over 50 years.
Both teams will also have to cope with key suspensions. Yesterday, Chelsea discovered that they will miss red-carded skipper John Terry as well as the suspended trio of Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires, and Raul Meireles.
Despite being warned by Bastian Schweinsteiger, three Bayern players – David Alaba, Luiz Gustavo, and Holger Badstuber – also fell into the yellow card trap and will now miss the final.
Heynckes expressed sadness for those who will be absent in Munich next month but chose to focus on the excitement brought forth by a massive final against Chelsea.
“[David] Alaba, [Luiz] Gustavo and [Holger] Badstuber did a great job today so it’s really bitter [that they will miss the final through suspension]. I talked to them in the dressing room and they were obviously very sad,” Heynckes told UEFA.com.
The manager added: “But Chelsea are without four regulars as well, so both teams will be weakened. I don’t know our team yet, but we have alternatives. The most important thing is that we reached the final. That’s outstanding, historic.”
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, who had been insisting throughout the last week that his side would overcome Bayern, was sportsmanlike in accepting the German side’s progress but argued that they had more rest than the Real squad that had to compete in the title-defining El Clasico four days ago.
Heynckes suggested that this factor did not give his side a significant advantage as they still had to fight for 120 minutes away from home before winning the decisive shoot-out at the Bernabeu.
“We played against the Spanish champions-elect and, if you take the 120 minutes into account, we deserve to be in the final,” the former Real boss concluded.