Despite their best – and illegal – efforts to keep the Bees out, Wolverhampton went down 2-0 in the Premier League.
The Champions League final is one of the most anticipated games in the footballing calendar. This season’s match will see two sides from the same country go head-to-head for only the eighth time in the competition’s 65-year history.
Manchester City and Chelsea are the two clubs in question. Many neutrals would prefer to see other teams in the final than two members of the failed Super League project, but one of them will lift the famous trophy on May 29th.
The match promises to be entertaining, as they often are when two teams from the same nation meet. Maybe it’s down to added spice between the players and fans who are already familiar with each other, or maybe they just know each other’s weak spots.
Here’s what happened on the previous seven occasions.
The Final of Firsts – Real Madrid 3 Valencia 0 (1999-2000)
The first final of the new millennium, and the first-ever between clubs from the same country, this match pitted Real Madrid against their compatriots Valencia, who were appearing in their first European Cup final.
Fernando Morientes cut a frustrated figure for Madrid at times, and was even shunted out to Monaco towards the end of his time there. In this final, though, he opened the scoring with a fine headed goal after good work from Salgado to his right.
The moment of the night, though, came deep into the second half. As the ball dropped out of the Parisian sky onto the edge of Valencia’s box, Steve McManaman showed great initiative to hook a powerful volley home to double the score. He was about to become the first Englishman to win a trophy with a foreign team.
Club legend Raúl rounded off things off later to land Madrid their eighth European title – but, with Madrid coach Vincent del Bosque also registering his first-ever title, it will always be remembered as a final of firsts.
The Controversial Final – Milan vs Juventus (2002-2003)
This all-Italian final isn’t remembered for its end-to-end football: the match finished 0-0 after 120 minutes and was criticised for its negative football in the media.
What it lacked in goals, though, it made up for in controversy. First Andriy Shevchenko’s goal for Milan was ruled out after the linesman deemed his teammate Rui Costa to have blocked the ‘keeper’s vision – although TV replays showed this not to be so.
Then, as the game edged towards penalties, both teams lost players to injury, to the point that Juventus finished the game with only ten men on the field.
In the end, even the shootout itself was marred by criticism of Milan ‘keeper Dida’s antics on the goal-line, as he repeatedly jumped off it to save penalties. Teammate Clarence Seedorf didn’t care: he’d just landed another first, becoming the first man to win the trophy with three different clubs.
It was the sixth title for Milan, the most of any Italian side, and a record that they improved on with a further win four years later.
The Slap ‘n’ Slip Final – Manchester Utd vs Chelsea (2007-2008)
The first-ever English final took a long while to happen, but it’ll live long in the memory of United fans…and John Terry. The Chelsea captain’s slip as he stepped up to take his penalty is one of the competition’s most infamous moments.
The game itself was eventful, too. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring with a smart header to win the tournament’s golden boot, but Frank Lampard equalised for Chelsea just before halftime. Then came a slap from Didier Drogba on Nemanja Vidic to earn himself an early bath and put United in the driving seat.
Chelsea held on for penalties, though, only to see Captain Terry lose his footing and slam the ball off the post. Nicolas Anelka missed the final penalty to hand the trophy to Sir Alex Ferguson’s United for the second, and final time, in his tenure.
It was dramatic stuff, but not quite on the same scale as the Scotsman’s first win against Bayern Munich nine years earlier.
Der Klassiker – Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund (2012-2013)
Der Klassiker – a play on Spain’s el clasico – is the name given to the rivalry between these two clubs, and it went up a notch when they met in the 2013 final.
It was Bayern’s tenth time compared to Dortmund’s second appearance, but you wouldn’t have guessed it after the first half-hour as BVB came roaring out the blocks. They forced several good saves out of Manuel Neuer which made Bayern thankful to hear the halftime whistle.
The second half was a different story, though, Mario Mandžukić opened the scoring for the men from Bavaria with a sharp finish. Although Dortmund equalised with a penalty soon after, they couldn’t stop Arjen Robben from netting a last-minute winner to hand Bayern a famous win – and help them reassert their dominance at the peak of the Bundesliga.
The Double Final – Real Madrid vs Atlético Madrid (2013-2014 +2015-2016)
Spanish sides dominated European football from 2009 to 2019 so much that it provided seven out of 10 Champions League winners – not to mention their national team’s World Cup and Euros successes around the same time.
The all-Madrid final was so good they played it twice. The first one was remarkable in that it saw three goals in extra-time – all from Real Madrid. After a close 90 minutes with a goal from Atleti’s Diego Godin, the game exploded into life with Sergio Ramos’s last-gasp equaliser.
His team carried the momentum into the extra half-hour to take the cup back to the Bernabeu.
The 2016 affair was less dramatic, but saw the same victors as Real Madrid took the tie on penalties to put an end to Atleti’s stubborn resistance.
This final was notable for its first use of Hawk-Eye technology, although it wasn’t enough to rule out Sergio Ramos’s offside goal that opened the scoring – and ultimately helped Real to victory.
The VAR Final – Liverpool vs Spurs (2018-2019)
The introduction of VAR into European football has been met with a lot of criticism, but the Liverpool vs Spurs final in 2019 passed by without controversy.
Mo Salah gave Liverpool the lead from the spot early on – the second-fastest goal ever in a final – before a blonde streaker interrupted play wearing a tight vest promoting prankster Vitaly Zdorovetskiy.
The rest of the game was fairly standard until Divock Origi popped up with a second Liverpool goal to seal the Reds’ sixth European title.
Liverpool went on to win the World Club Cup later that year, which is something that both Manchester City and Chelsea will be dreaming about when they line-up on May 29th.