On Thursday, I dreamt that Chelsea had won the Champions League. On Saturday, my dreams came true.
With several of my friends and my girlfriend in tow, I went to the soccer-friendly Black Sheep Lodge in South Austin to catch the Champions League Final. I was just happy to get out of the house. I was pacing in my living room an hour before the match. I was so nervous I couldn’t even look at the squad announcements via Twitter. I kept telling people to just wake me up in two hours, and tell me what happened. Of course, it took Chelsea over two hours to seal the tie. Chelsea don’t like doing things the easy way.
I quickly ordered two Lone Stars and threw them down. I hoped 32 oz. of cold, Texan brew would calm the nerves. To be honest, it did the job. An overwhelming sense of calm washed over me after 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes. No matter how hard Munich tried, we were ready for the occasion, and Bayern were not. Every missed chance they had, I reassured myself that if that were Drogba, Mata, Torres, Lampard, etc. it would have been put away. Luckily, Bayern have Robben and Ribery. All we needed was a couple of chances. All we needed was that moment.
Bayern scored with about 7 minutes left in the match, and I was absolutely floored. Not only was the goal late, it seemed like out of a blooper reel. Header into the ground right at Cech but over his head.
1-0. 83’. Müller.
Standing there in a crowd with my Chelsea gear on, screaming at the screen, completely at the mercy of the action on the field for over 83 minutes, I was so incredibly sad. I’m not going to lie and say I believed we could have saved the match.
In fact, I had just leaned over to Nicole and whispered, “We’re going to win this game.”
Bayern scored within about a minute of that. I had jinxed them.
1-0 and Chelsea had a corner with 2 minutes left.
This is what experience gets you. It was almost like clockwork. Down and out, Chelsea clawed back into the match.
1-1 from a Drogba header straight at Manuel Neuer but too strong of a shot to stop. I freaked out. I yelled. I threw my voice out. I hugged my roommate and jumped up and down. I yelled, “You fucking legend! I love you!” Drogba is immortal.
Into extra time, my spirits were high. Chelsea had the momentum. They were standing tall and absorbing everything. They were beating back the Germans. They were ready for everything. Bayern lost their cutting edge when they brought off Müller. Bayern’s changes were defensive. Chelsea brought on Torres and Malouda. I believed we were going to score in extra time or at least had to in order to avoid penalties with a German team.
‘94 Drogba scraped the back of Ribery’s leg in the penalty box. Penalty. Floored again.
Internally, I kept telling myself no matter what, we were lucky to get here. Anything after Barcelona was icing on the cake. I told myself this so I wouldn’t just lose it in public.
Robben, former Chelsea player and one that I miss almost every match, stepped up to take the penalty.
I yelled. I screamed. I lost it again. What a legend.
Chelsea kept beating back more and more Bayern Munich attacks.
End of Extra Time. Penalties.
To give you an idea of what it’s like to try to beat a German team in penalties, it’s like trying to get a woman’s attention with Ryan Gosling standing, like, right there holding a puppy and reminiscing over his favorite Nicholas Sparks books. It’s just not going to happen.
And, after Juan Mata had his spot kick blocked my Manuel Neuer on Chelsea’s first penalty try, it looked like we weren’t. Cech was on form and kept getting increasingly close to Bayern spot kicks as the chances came. Eventually, he saved one and then another from Schweinsteiger.
Tied 3-3 in penalties and with one kick left, it was up to King Didier Drogba. The head of the spine of the Chelsea starting XI for nearly a decade. David Luiz, Lampard, Cole, had done their jobs. It was time for Didier to do his.
Drogba stepped up. Sent Neuer the wrong way and tucked it into the left bottom corner.
Champions of Europe.
I hugged everything. I sang all the songs. I pet all the dogs. Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.