As Didier Drogba, who else, tucked away the decisive penalty in a dramatic Champions League final shootout and sprinted off in jubilation, Bayern's players simultaneously slumped to the turf with a look of anguish only exacerbated by a profound sense of disbelief.

This was a most improbable final. A most implausible match. To an even greater degree than Chelsea's victory over Barcelona in the semi-finals, the contest in Bayern's own Allianz Arena was a game that defied all reason.

Bayern should have been out of sight by half-time. In a sign of events to follow, after 22 minutes Arjen Robben's shot struck the leg of Petr Cech and bounced back off the post, when in truth it could have gone anywhere.

What followed was a series of missed chances that will likely have kept Mario Gomez, in particular, awake long into Sunday morning. First, Franck Ribery's sliced effort fell perfectly at the feet of the imposing front man, but his touch totally deserted him and the ball embarrassingly bounced out of harm's way.

The agony did not end there for Gomez. Just minutes later, as halftime approached, he turned Gary Cahill to put himself in prime position, but could only blast a wild shot high into the stands.

For a man with 40 goals to his name this season, the rabbit in the headlights look that came upon him with each sight of goal was hard to fathom.

But Gomez was far from the only culprit. Chelsea's defense has been much praised, but they committed the cardinal sin on more than one occasion of allowing Robben and Ribery to perform their trademark moves of cutting inside to fire shots on goal. On each occasion, though, the usually lethal pair failed to make plush contact with their finishes, as Chelsea exhaled in relief.

Thomas Muller, joint top scorer at the 2010 World Cup, was also unusually profligate. He narrowly missed the target with a volley in the first half and in the second dragged a shot wide of the goal when in prime position 12 yards out, just minutes before finally giving Bayern the lead.

As the attacking midfielder finally put the ball into the back of the net with a textbook header into the ground, seven minutes from time, it seemed certain that fate would finally obey reason. But the wackiness had only just begun.

With just over two minutes of the 90 remaining, Drogba came to the fore once more to power home a near-post header from Juan Mata's perfectly delivered corner.

The agonizing nature of the equalizer, for Bayern, coupled with substitutions that reversed the approach of both teams, looked like it would give Chelsea the upper hand for the first time on the night.

Instead Bayern were given their best opportunity of all to put Chelsea to bed as extra-time ensued. Arjen Robben failing to convert his second pivotal penalty of the season to let Drogba off the hook for his clumsy foul on Ribery.

That left just enough time for Bayern to add another spurned chance to what had now become an epic collection. Clearly feeling left out on the sidelines, Ivica Olic and Daniel van Buyten somehow conspired in failing to score when the Croatian found his teammate back on his heels as he volleyed across goal rather than shooting himself.

The lack of logic extended to penalties too. Bastian Schweinsteiger, the vice-captain of Germany, the country in which penalties are relished like no other, suddenly developed a sense of dread that betrayed him long before he stuttered his run-up and tamely side-footed the ball onto the post.

All that was left to complete this most twistedly predictable of nights. and indeed Champions League season, was for Drogba, with quite possibly his last kick in a Chelsea shirt, to step forward and give Roman Abramovich the trophy he has spent nine years and nearly £1 billion chasing.

As much as Bayern was masters of their own downfall, It would be churlish not to give Chelsea credit for their never-say-die-attitude and composure in critical situations. But to herald anything more would be to ignore the fact that in both semi-finals and final, in at least nine occasions out of 10, Chelsea would come out on the losing end--and by some margin.


Bayern Munich vs Chelsea 1-1 (Pens. 4-3) All goals by kofiswag


Bayern Munich vs Chelsea 1-1 penalty series of... by kofiswag