May 25, 2013, 5:52 PM EST
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.
Dec 7, 2013, 1:19 PM EST
After Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Liverpool, Sam Allardyce appeared frustrated. So, too, are many of West Ham’s fans.
Dec 7, 2013, 12:51 PM EST
After yet another poor defensive display, Mourinho is worried about the defensive solidity of his Chelsea side:
Dec 7, 2013, 12:23 PM EST
Cardiff are the ones left fearing the relegation zone, after a revived Crystal Palace made victory look easy.
Dec 7, 2013, 12:23 PM EST
Can Altidore get his second goal in as many games when Tottenham come to town? Watch live, here:
Dec 7, 2013, 12:16 PM EST
Inconsistent Norwich will be thrilled to have put a bit of distance between themselves and the drop zone.
Dec 7, 2013, 12:10 PM EST
Stoke City pulled off a huge shock at the Britannia, as they beat high-flying Chelsea 3-2 on Saturday thank to Oussama Assaidi‘s late winner. The winger, on-loan from Liverpool, smashed home a beauty in stoppage time to seal a magnificent win for the Potters and send them comfortably into mid-table. In a topsy-turvy affair, Chelsea…
Dec 7, 2013, 12:03 PM EST
Saints pin back City after terrific display from the home side at St. Mary’s:
Dec 7, 2013, 11:58 AM EST
Liverpool pushed West Ham even closer to the danger zone, although the visitors’ own goals gave the Reds a hand.
Dec 7, 2013, 11:00 AM EST
Saints striker bags absolute stunner with mazy run and magical finish:
Dec 7, 2013, 9:56 AM EST
Watch on as the PL pays a fitting tribute to Mandela:
Dec 7, 2013, 9:52 AM EST
Newcastle grabbed an historic win at Old Trafford on Saturday, with David Moyes’ United looking utterly devoid of ideas.
Dec 7, 2013, 9:44 AM EST
Chelsea look to keep the heat up on Arsenal, will the Potters stop Mourinho’s men? Watch live, here:
Dec 7, 2013, 9:34 AM EST
Both West Brom and Norwich could really do with all three points — will either succeed in grabbing them?
Dec 7, 2013, 9:26 AM EST
Can the Saints stop the rot after three straight defeats? Will City make it four wins on the spin? Watch live, here:
Dec 7, 2013, 9:22 AM EST
Short on goals and short on wins, both sides will be looking for more than a drab draw out of this one.
Dec 7, 2013, 9:17 AM EST
Liverpool wants another dramatic victory at Anfield, but the struggling West Ham certainly won’t be eager to give it to them.
Dec 7, 2013, 8:20 AM EST
How to watch all the PL games live online or via the app:
Dec 7, 2013, 7:35 AM EST
Manchester United manager David Moyes waits too long to announce his match day squad, says veteran Rio Ferdinand.
Dec 7, 2013, 7:04 AM EST
Manchester United look to bounce back from last week’s defeat, and are hoping that the return of Robin van Persie will help make up for Wayne Rooney’s absence.
Dec 6, 2013, 11:24 PM EST
It appears that Arsene Wenger will remain a Gunner for at least three more years, with a contract extension reportedly near completion.
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