Real Madrid became just the third team after AC Milan (1993-95) and Juventus (1996-98) to make three straight UEFA Champions League finals.
But it was certainly a struggle.
It needed a controversial penalty kick to beat Juventus in the quarterfinals after blowing a 3-0 aggregate lead.
In the semifinals, Real Madrid got two goals from Karim Benzema
tie Bayern Munich, 2-2, at home after winning, 2-1, in Munich. But Bayern was certainly the better team and threatened until the dying seconds of stoppage time to get a third goal that would have sent
it through to the finals.
“It was a mad game, but a lovely one,” Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane
said. “You have to suffer in soccer. You can’t reach a
final without suffering and it’s even better like this. Well, maybe not for the heart. But it is.”
Real Madrid benefited from a mistake by Bayern keeper Sven Ulreich
take a 2-1 lead 20 seconds into the second half. Ulreich went down to collect a backpass, then realized his sin and inexplicably let the ball slip past him for Benzema to put into the empty net.
There were also a couple of non-calls when Bayern could have been awarded
One of the decisions involved Brazilian Marcelo
, who admitted he committed a handball. Injured Chilean star Arturo Vidal
said Turkish referee Cuneyt
's decision to not award a penalty "criminal s***."
“We are very disappointed because we played an outstanding game,” said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes
told the boys just now that I have not seen Bayern play like tonight in the past few years. But at this high level you cannot make the mistakes we made in the first game and tonight after the break."