The anguish is finally over for Bayern Munich in Champions League finals after beating Borussia Dortmund, 2-1, in a pulsating all-German contest in London on Saturday.
For former Chelsea winger, Arjen Robben, his demons were also exorcised by scoring the winner in the 89th minute and setting up Mario Mandzukic’s opener in the 60th at Wembley.
Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty in the 68th minute had pulled Dortmund level prior to Robben’s superb clincher.
Robben drew the wrath of Bayern fans last year, when he missed a penalty and other opportunities in the final against Chelsea.
Bayern players had every reason to be euphoric since they had lost three of their four previous finals, two in excruciating fashion.
Sports bars around the Cayman Islands were packed watching the match, with a bulk rooting for Dortmund, the marginal underdogs.
Michael Klein is German and watched in the Triple Crown pub with English wife Rachel. Michael wore a Bayern jersey but actually supports Cologne who play in the Bundesliga Second Division. He was pleased with the Bayern victory and feels they fully deserved it, although Dortmund dominated the first half.
“Dortmund started very well, they pressed really high up the field and put Bayern in all sorts of trouble,” Klein said. “They kept Ribery and Robben quiet and neither Lahm or Alaba were even in a position to make overlapping runs.
“After 25 minutes the first gaps started to appear, Bayern had a few good opportunities and looked dangerous on corners,” he added. “In the second half, Dortmund tired because of their high tempo early on and their only real scoring opportunity was the penalty.
“I think with the growing fatigue Dortmund lost their organisation after the break and were unable to keep possession as well as in the first. So Bayern deserved it, if only just.”
Klein was not surprised that the Triple Crown crowd was heavily pro-Dortmund.
“I think Dortmund was the romantics’ choice and considered the underdog,” he said. “But they were not quite as much of an underdog as people made them out to be.
“After all, they won the Bundesliga title twice before Bayern clinched it again this season.
“But they play very attractive and effective fast-paced football. And their coach, Juergen Klopp, is a genuine, cool dude. I think people like him.
“There were probably not more than 10 or so Bayern supporters in there. They were definitely outnumbered. I did not really care who won, even though I was wearing a Bayern shirt.”
Local middle distance runner Tristan von Kirchenheim is an avid Bayern supporter and he was in Triple Crown in team colours with dad Clement.
The Klein household had divided loyalties for this game. “Rachel and I actually had a bet going, mainly to make it more interesting for her. So she owes me a dinner.”
Robben finally overcame his jinx, but Klein does not see him being integral to Bayern’s plans next season?
“It is great to have him in the squad but I don’t think he will be vital.
“Let’s not forget he was only playing because Kroos was injured. Earlier in the season, Robben was warming the bench and Mueller was playing in his position.
“Now they have bought Goetze as well and Kroos will return, so some people are speculating that he may even leave the club. If not, he will be one of several very good players who could play.”
Bayern have signed Mario Goetze and Robert Lewandowski from Dortmund and with legendary former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola taking over soon they are expected to waltz to the Bundesliga title again.
Klein said: “I think so. Even though Dortmund have a lot of money to buy replacements, there are so many crooked oligarchs and useless sheiks buying players all over Europe, I don’t think it will be easy for Borussia to get the highest quality players to go to Dortmund. And there is no other team that could challenge Bayern.”
Historically, Champions League winners do not retain the title. Klein believes Bayern could buck the trend, but it will not be easy.
“They have a shot but there is strong competition and you need luck as well. It will be interesting to see how Guardiola changes the way Bayern plays.
“It could all turn sour, like a successful golfer changing his swing and not getting the same results.”