PETR'S PERFECT PRESENT
As birthdays go, Petr Cech cannot have had too many better than his 30th, which came the day after his heroics at the Allianz Arena.
Having stopped Arjen Robben's penalty in extra time, the Czech then saved two more in the shootout to help us to our first ever Champions League success. The goalkeeper admitted later he remembered little of the celebrations that immediately followed Didier Drogba's winning strike.
'For a goalkeeper when you win a penalty shootout it is a big pleasure, and when you save a penalty in the Champions League Final in extra time you double the pleasure,' he said. 'When you have been chasing a Champions League medal for eight years then I don't know how much pleasure you can get. The first 20 seconds after Didier scored I didn't know what to do, I was so happy. I never felt that in my life.
'I said prior to the game that if we win the Cup I don't need a cake. It's the best present I got, it's fantastic. It's been a dream come true.
'Four years ago we were in the final and we lost on penalties. We hoped we would have another chance, it came in a moment nobody expected it and we grabbed that chance. In the last nine years we have been in six semi-finals and two finals, it had to come one day.'
Cech also explained that he prepared thoroughly for the chance of spot kicks, using videos with the help of goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon and the Chelsea video analysis team.
'I did my homework. You could see today they were six penalties against me and I went the right way every time and saved three, so the homework was well prepared,' he said.
'For Arjen Robben's, I went the right way and I saved it. The first penalty in the shootout was kind of déjà vu for me, I went close and touched the ball, second penalty I went the right way, third I was really close, so I was thinking I had to get one, and twice I saved it so I got the reward.
'This is amazing, we have done everything, it's the last cup we were missing and it's incredible we delivered. Once you win it you want this feeling again, so this win puts us through to the qualification for next year, and it's great we have the opportunity to defend the trophy.'
It wasn't the first time an English side has beaten a German one on penalties, that accolade actually goes to Everton, who beat Borussia Monchengladbach in November 1970, in the European Cup second round. In the Germans' side that day was one Jupp Heynckes - now Bayern manager - who scored one on the night. Such is his dedication to preparation, Cech probably knew which way he struck it, and what he would have intended to do with one on Saturday evening.