I didn’t really know what had to be. Seeing friend and colleague, Abdul Rehman, the lone occupant of a television in a place full of televisions stubbornly showing grown up men kicking ball, follow Bayern Munich over the years in a country where followers of the Bundesliga are like Greek restaurants in Dubai, (there are only two) I had wanted him to be delighted. We had staked out, together, at The Palace hotel a few years back (I have aversion to celebrities and their designer arrogance tipped noses but I never the less did it), Abdul’s revery of Frank Ribery had been such. We waited for I think what was two hours but what felt like half a day, for that fateful moment when they walked out of the Argentinian restaurant, and we interrupted them and took pictures.
But then there was Kloppo. My repsect for the man had increased exponentially. Not only his tactical acumen (that dismantling of Real Madrid was supreme) was making him stand out but his general gregariousness, which ensured there was only one camp around the world – the one that loved him. A non hollywood team of seemingly unknowns and gelled in a pittance was another reason I had wanted Borussia to win.
The game was certainly a game of two halves. Borussia dominated the first half, had Neuer make those saves. But then the general sense of deja vu took over. Out of nothing Robben had those two chances which he squandered and you thought was it ever meant to be. Bayern sat deep expecting Borussia to play a pressing game, which they didn’t for the game to drift into a non expected impasse. But then Robben’s second half pass plated to Mandzukic broke the deadlock. Then Borussia equalized, and I was rather surprised Dante missed out on a second yellow, and it seemed like yellow and black would weather out the increasingly effective Bayern. But the Bavarians came out of their shell, cranked up a gear and controlled the game from there on. Subotic’s timed tackle to deny Robben one would have thought would have been those tackles you reflected upon if Dortmund had gone on to win. But with less than two minutes on the clock, Borussia’s defense like scrambling chicken to get to that one piece of tossed grain, troubled all night with long balls, made a mess and the result was a night that ended in disappointment. Robben’s penance was complete and the admonishment for lacklustre displays over the years was put to rest with one sidefoot, and a calmly composed finish.
The game was filled with moments of goalkeeping brilliance, patient build up play, but although lacking in the supremely sublime, had been played out with good intensity and a fitting tempo. Bayern was not to be denied and as the aircrafts lifted off to Germany, the ones headed to Bavaria would be the one where songs and beer would flow and spill onto the sky. Bayern are the champions. And strong to defend it again next year. Gotze might prove to be a better signing than Neymar.