May 25, 2013, 5:52 PM EDT
I would love to have strapped an EKG monitor to fans of either side during the 2013 Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
It was exhausting from a neutral perspective; imagine what being a fan of that marathon would have been like?
And yet, that’s what we all hope and pray for – for the match to live up to the hype.
A game featuring two bitter German rivals, it had every storyline, every angle anyone could dream of. It was a media member’s salivary gland. It featured defection (Gotze), underdog (Dortmund), retirement (Heynckes), redemption (Bayern’s two previous losses), hometown loyalty (Lahm/Reus), past failures (Robben), validation (follow-up to the semifinals), and plenty more.
Almost always, a game with so much pre-match hype never lives up to the ridiculous expectations set by the public dissection of what will happen on and off the pitch.
Except this time, it didn’t. It did the impossible. Despite all the hype, it still made me turn off the TV and just go “…..whoa.”
The first half of the Champions League final was maybe the most bonkers 0-0 half of soccer you’ll ever watch. Neuer and Weidenfeller both made world-class saves. It had blasted shots, it had slicing passes, it had crunching tackles, it had face saves, it had Franck Ribery blood vessels.
The second half, though, was where it all came together. Or fell apart. Or made you want to take a nap. Depends on your point of view.
The second half featured shots, more shots (29 altogether in the match), penalties, goals that counted, goals that didn’t count, a goal-line clearance, an ankle stomp, a beautiful backheel assist, more angry Riberys, and a crying Arjen Robben.
That’s not even including the 89th minute goal that won the Champions League, erasing 3 years of personal and team heartbreak.
What saved the match from being a completely draining watch was the relatively good refereeing. The fact Dante wasn’t sent off after his kick to the groin of Marco Reus was a bit of a head-scratcher, but then again his first yellow card was quite soft, so it evened out. Otherwise, there can be hardly a complaint, which is wonderful to see in a game where refereeing is often at the forefront. Hats off to you, Nikola Rizzoli.
Robben said after the match, “It’s so many emotions.” We feel you, Arjen, we feel you.
Whatever your emotion, whatever your angle towards this match, one thing is for certain: you’re going to need some sleep.
Sep 14, 2014, 11:58 PM EDT
Phillip Lahm sees Real Madrid as the Champions League favorites.
Sep 14, 2014, 11:44 PM EDT
Manchester United blanked QPR, 4-0, in the only match that Premier League match that occurred on Sunday.
Sep 14, 2014, 10:42 PM EDT
Recap of each MLS competition this weekend.
Sep 14, 2014, 8:20 PM EDT
Philippe Coutinho said that he would entertain an extension at Liverpool
Sep 14, 2014, 7:28 PM EDT
Jeremy Menez tallied a brace and a spectacular goal as AC Milan edged Parma in a high-scoring affair.
Sep 14, 2014, 7:01 PM EDT
A very tough goal scored by FC Dallas striker Blas Perez from an MLS match last night.
Sep 14, 2014, 5:34 PM EDT
President Obama sent the Belgian embassy a pack of beer after he lost a World Cup bet on Twitter.
Sep 14, 2014, 5:03 PM EDT
Ronaldo may eye a even bigger contract at the end of this season, but not at Real Madrid.
Sep 14, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
NBC’s Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle and Kyle Martino discuss the performances of Manchester United’s new players in a 4-0 drubbing of QPR.
Sep 14, 2014, 3:29 PM EDT
Goalkeeper Iker Casillas wasn’t opposed to fans whistling at him during Real Madrid’s match vs. Atletico Madrid.
Sep 14, 2014, 2:47 PM EDT
After a comprehensive 90 minutes for their first win of the year, van Gaal is bullish on the Red Devils’ chances going forward.
Sep 14, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT
With Newcastle’s managerial situation deteriorating rapidly, there is one week to turn things around.
Sep 14, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT
After 450 matches for Manchester United, Rio Ferdinand returned to Old Trafford on the opposing end for the first time.
Sep 14, 2014, 12:52 PM EDT
Angel Di Maria is good. Really, really good.
Sep 14, 2014, 12:12 PM EDT
The Bayern Munich loanee makes his professional league debut.
Sep 14, 2014, 11:38 AM EDT
It’s the first goal of his Premier League career for the $99 million man.
Sep 14, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT
Falcao is not in the starting lineup in his first Manchester United game available for selection.
Sep 14, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT
Early estimates have Debuchy missing crucial Premier League matches against Chelsea as well as the North London derby.
Sep 14, 2014, 9:13 AM EDT
Time could be up on Alan Pardew’s up and down tenure at Newcastle United.
Sep 14, 2014, 8:34 AM EDT
A thigh tear will mean the man who missed two years with an ACL tear will yet again see the sidelines for an extended period of time.
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