The Champions League Final 2013 was to be held at English Football’s home – Wembley, London – to mark the 150th anniversary of the English FA. The much anticipated finale was to be contested by Germany’s top two Bundesliga sides – Bayern Munich – last year’s runners-up and 4 times winner of the European Cup and Borussia Dortmund – winner of the 1997 Champions League.
After both sides comprehensively dumped Barcelona and Real Madrid out of the competition in the semi finals a few weeks ago, the power of football shifted from the domination of Spain’s La Liga in recent years – in particular, from Barcelona, who arguably fielded the best club team in the world when they won the Champions League in 2011 – to Germany.
Having lost two Champions League finals in three recent years, Bayern Munich were desperate to put to rest their losers tag against their fiercest rivals Borussia Dortmund. After Jurgen Klopp took charge in 2008, Borussia Dortmund have transformed from a club on the brink of bankruptcy, to a successful club that many will try to emulate over the coming years. Borussia’s thrifty transfer dealings, including the signing of new young superstars Lewandowski, Reus, Hummels and Götze, proved you don’t need to spend hundreds of millions on well known talent to succeed. They have also proved through their average squad age of 23 that true success can be achieved through focusing on the youth system.
The German fans turned up in London in their thousands with reportedly 20,000 of them arriving without tickets. London was covered in a sea of yellow and black of Borussia Dortmund throughout the day, dwarfing the small pockets of Bayern fans dotted around. Following the semi final victory over Real Madrid, Europe witnessed the overwhelming passion of Dortmund fans. The importance of the club to the Dortmund region is astronomical. Everybody from Dortmund grows up breathing and living Borussia. It’s a club that drives people on – something much more than just a hobby, but something engrained in the blood. And yet again, this passion could be seen on the streets of London.
However, with all the excitement that Borussia Dortmund brought with them, it wasn’t to be their night against Bayern. After dominating territory in the first 25 minutes, the power, experience and class of Bayern proved to be too much for Klopp’s young side. Performances by both Neuer and Weidenfeller in Bayern and Borussia’s respective goals were outstanding, but either side of a Gundogan penalty for Dortmund, it was a Mandzukic goal and a dramatic late winner by Arjen Robben with just over a minute to go that sealed victory at Wembley and finally put to bed their losers tag. Bayern were once again Champions League winners.
Borussia Dortmund Site
FC Bayern Munich Site
UEFA Champions League Site
More Photography :
“The Photography Collection” by Antematters