Arjen Robben scored the winning goal in the 89th minute as Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League final in London.
LONDON — Some saw this as the opening to an age of German soccer dominance, and maybe it will be. Maybe years from now Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will be viewed as the start of the Bundesliga’s rise to the pinnacle of European sports.
But even if it isn’t, even if it turns out that two English teams or two Spanish teams play for the championship next year and the Bundesliga continues to lag behind the English Premier League in popularity, there will always be this match. This night. This classic.
The British call a final like this a showpiece and, on a perfect night at Wembley, it was. There was tension. There was passion. There was wizardry and precision and players who seemed ready to run forever. There was, in the end, redemption.
Arjen Robben, a Dutch wing who had been criticized for struggling in the biggest moments, starred in the most critical sequence of all, scoring the decisive goal for Bayern in the 89th minute and lifting the Bavarians to a 2-1 victory before a crowd of 86,298. Robben’s goal was also the perfect symbol for Bayern’s collective measure of payback as it reversed the crushing defeat it suffered to Chelsea of London in last year’s final at home.
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After slipping behind the Dortmund defense, Robben took a pass from Franck Ribery, eluded a defender and flicked the ball past Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.
Last year, Robben missed a critical penalty kick in the loss to Chelsea; this year, he was off running before the ball crossed the goal line, sprinting toward Bayern fans and shaking his hands with glee.
Robben, who also lost the World Cup final with the Netherlands in 2010, said he nearly saw his career flash before him as he celebrated.
“You don’t want the label of loser, you don’t want that tag,” he said afterward, cradling his award as man of the match. “This is a dream.”
At the final whistle of the first all-German final in the Champions League, many Dortmund players collapsed to the ground.
Bayern, which lost two of the previous three Champions League finals, earned its fifth European title, and is sending off manager Jupp Heynckes in an ideal manner.
Heynckes, 68, will be replaced by former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola next season, but anyone would have trouble topping Heynckes’ final season: Bayern won the Bundesliga in record fashion, claimed the Champions League and could add the German Cup with a victory over Stuttgart in the final next weekend.
Mario Mandzukic of Bayern opened scoring in the 60th minute.
Ilkay Guendogan of Borussia Dortmund converted a penalty kick in the 68th minute to tie the score.