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Memory Lane: The 2012 Champions League Final

Saturday, 19 May, 2012: A date that will forever be etched in the minds of Chelsea fans around the globe.

The day we defied the odds and became the only London team to ever lift the Champions League trophy.

The day might also linger in the minds of our next Champions League opponents, Bayern Munich, as they found themselves on the losing end of the match.

Incidentally, Bayern Munich’s home stadium, Allianz Arena, played host for the historic final. This would be the first time since 1984 that a finalist would have a home-field advantage.

But that home-field advantage would prove to be fruitless.

Our squad, led by Roberto Di Matteo, had an arduous road to the final. After topping our group, we lost the first match of our Round of 16 tie against Napoli 3-1. We fought back in the home leg, when a 105th-minute goal from Branislav Ivanovic sealed a 5-4 aggregate victory and moved us on to the quarterfinals.

After gliding past Portuguese side Benfica in the quarter-finals, a juggernaut awaited us in the semi-finals. A heavily favoured Barcelona side, led by Lionel Messi, took a 2-1 lead on aggregate in the second leg before iconic goals from Ramires and Fernando Torres put us through to the final against all odds.

In the final, we were again the underdog. With Ivanovic, Raul Meireles, Ramires and John Terry all set to miss the match, we were expected to fall to Jupp Heynckes Bayern’s side.

Bayern dominated possession throughout the match, taking the lead in the 83rd minute. That’s when the Champions League trophy handlers began to prep for a victory for the home team.

But then, in classic fashion, Didier Drogba fought his way to the end of a Juan Mata corner five minutes later. His header fizzed past keeper Manuel Neuer into the net, Drobga sprinted to the corner in celebration, and we were right back in it.

Extratime was upon us, and once again, things looked bleak. Bayern’s Frank Ribery was fouled in the box and awarded a penalty, but a miraculous save from Petr Cech kept the score knotted at 1-1.

Eventually, penalties ensued. With the number of penalties tied at 3-3, Didier Drogba found himself in another position to make history. Our striker coolly slotted home the winning penalty, and pandemonium ensued.

We had won our first ever Champions League, despite being doubted all along the way. The suspended John Terry rushed to the pitch and lifted the trophy in celebration.

He - along with the rest of the world - knew who we were: Champions of Europe.