Redemption time for Bayern Munich
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Some saw this as the opening to an age of German soccer dominance, and maybe it will be. Maybe years from now Saturday's Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will be viewed as the start of the Bundesliga's rise to the pinnacle of European sports.
But even if it isn't, there will always be this game. This night. This classic. There was tension. There was passion. There was, in the end, redemption. Arjen Robben, the Dutch winger who had been criticized for struggling in the biggest moments, scored the decisive goal for Bayern in the 89th minute and lifting the Bavarians to a 2-1 victory in front of a crowd announced at 86,298. Robben's goal was also the perfect symbol for Bayern's collective measure of payback as it reversed the crushing defeat it suffered to Chelsea in last year's final at home.
After slipping behind the Dortmund defense, Robben took a pass from Franck Ribéry, eluded a defender and then coolly flicked the ball past Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. Last year, Robben missed a critical penalty kick in the loss to Chelsea; this year, he was off running before the ball even crossed the goal line, sprinting toward the Bayern fans with his eyes wide and shaking his hands with glee.
loser, no more
Robben, who also lost the World Cup final with the Netherlands in 2010, said he nearly saw his career flash before him as he celebrated. "You don't want the label of loser, you don't want that tag," he said afterward.
At the final whistle, many of the Dortmund players collapsed to the ground. They played Munich four previous times this season and could never do better than two draws, but on this day they played as if they believed they could pull off a huge upset.
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