Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has insisted that his side’s penalty shoot-out defeat to Chelsea at the Allianz Arena on Saturday evening was a more bitter pill to swallow than the nightmare 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United in 1999.
Thirteen years ago in Barcelona, Bayern led 1-0 heading into stoppage time before two quick goals from the Red Devils led to a collapse of massive proportions for the Munich outfit.
Fast forward to this past Saturday, and the UEFA Champions League trophy slipped from Bayern’s grip in a somewhat similar fashion.
With Thomas Muller giving a dominant yet wasteful Bayern side a precious 1-0 lead through a bouncy header in the 83rd minute, many felt that the significantly less creative Blues would not find a way back.
However, the West Londoners’ only corner of the match led to a thumping Didier Drogba header in the 88th minute, which beat Manuel Neuer in the Bayern goal to remarkably tie the scores.
Despite the match going to extra time, the Bavarians did not have to wait too late to get another opportunity to lead. Drogba clumsily stepped on Franck Ribery’s foot to initiate a penalty for the Bundesliga runners-up.
Former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben stepped up to take the spot-kick, only to be denied magnificently by Petr Cech.
The Blues goalkeeper went on to enjoy more heroics in the penalty shoot-out as he denied both Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger to help Chelsea claim a stunning 4-3 win on penalties despite a poor miss from Juan Mata.
Rummenigge, who saw Bayern lose shockingly in the final moments of the 1999 final in Barcelona, was left with a feeling of deja vu, only with more bitterness this time around.
“I went through it all in 1999, when we lost so dramatically in Barcelona. That was unbelievably brutal, but I almost have the impression this evening is somehow even more bitter, brutal and basically also unnecessary. The pain is unbelievable,” he stated following Bayern’s defeat on home turf.
The chief added: “We had three match points (Thomas Müller’s 83rd-minute opener, Arjen Robben’s 95th-minute penalty miss, and an early lead in the shootout). But we still didn’t make it.”
It was being reported on Sunday that most of Bayern’s squad had a sleepless Saturday night, with some not even exiting the Allianz Arena dressing room until the early hours of Sunday.
The club’s last match of the season will be tomorrow evening’s exhibition against the Netherlands international team, who agreed to play in Munich as part of their early Euro 2012 preparations. Meanwhile, the match will also serve as a farewell for a number of Bayern players, including the hard-working Croatian Olic.