Spark kept Dortmund in the game
A reason for Dortmund lacking the same pace and devastation to their attacks and counter attacks is first of all the obvious lack of a certain Mario Goetze, whose replacement Kevin Grosskreutz found it hard to keep himself in the game. As a result Dortmund became increasingly reliant on Marco Reus to force the ball forward and to make the things happen.
Reus was very admirable in how much trouble he managed to cause Bayern, the highlight of which obviously being the penalty idiotically gifted by Dante (a tackle staining an impressive and at times imperious performance)
Three world class full backs, and quite an average one
One of the most pleasing things of Bayern's eventual triumph was of course getting the see Philipp Lahm finally managing to cap off his club career with a Champions League medal. Ever the reliable man for Bayern, Lahm barely put a foot wrong in 90 minutes. Possibly not at his inspirational best powering down the right, Lahm signified the coolness needed for such an occasion.
Unlucky not to be often recognised as one of the bet players of this generation, Lahm at 29 certainly has another two World Cups and one European Championship to round off one of the best careers of the new millennium.
Just across the pitch we saw an even better performance, only to furthermore show the world that David Alaba has rapidly risen to the top level of football. Technically as good as any individual on the field of play at Wembley, the 20 year old has more than an exciting career ahead of him.
Looking at the side with a lot less to smile about, Lukasz Piszczek contributed as much as anyone to Dortmund's cause, doing his best to quiet down the sublime Franck Ribery and at times succeeding, Piszczek went forward at any opportunity to combine with his well known countryman Jakub Blaszczykowski. Piszczek is a superb player gone under the radar somewhat in Dortmund's rise, he could well find his way to a club offering a lot more to him this summer, even if it will contribute to the unfortunate exodus of the club.If only I could echo these compliments of these three onto the fourth full back on the pitch, Marcel Schmelzer. The least talented of the bunch, Schmelzer fell below his usual standard anyway, making more than enough mistakes at the back, contributing in some capacity to all of the glorious chances that fell the way of Arjen Robben.
Well Mats Hummels didn't have a nice time
The worst I have ever seen the beautiful man himself play. Usually the most intelligent, tactically aware central defender in Europe, Hummels was made to look a fool on several occasions. Hummels was indeed only passed fit this morning, but it is not as if he had been out of the game for months, after only suffering the ankle injury on the final day of the Bundesliga. Looking unfit and off the pace, he may have been phased by the whole occasion, but he needed to perform for Dortmund to conquer in Wembley tonight.
Midfield battle not won by anyone
I tweeted out at half time that in order for either side to drive forward and win the final, they'd need the respective midfield creator to lift their performance. Unfortunately, neither did in the end, and Bayern only triumphed through 45 minutes of dreadful Dortmund defending. Bastian Schweinsteiger was not his usual self, being out of the game for long periods, unable to dictate the pace of Bayern's attack, draining their standard fluidity. For Dortmund, Ilkay Gundogan had a frustrating night, constantly trying to burst forward on the ball, Javi Martinez was up to the challenge of stopping him, and when he wasn't Gundogan had little going on ahead of him at all leading to some annoyingly slow Dortmund play.
Two Superb Goalkeepers
Obviously we can't delve into the topic of individual performance without the mention of the two men at either end who kept the game alive for both sides constantly for the first hour of the match, making us wonder if anyone could brake the deadlock. Firstly, Manuel Neuer whose highlight was probably his amazing stop as Blaszczykowski tried to turn home Lewandowski's low cross, as he just managed to flex his knee enough to turn the ball away from goal.
Then Roman Weidenfeller's best moment came towards the end of the first half, when Franck Ribery's extraordinary cross of his weaker left foot found Mario Mandzukic perfectly placed to put Bayern ahead, but Weidenfeller's swinging hand flew faster than even the referee's eye could see, as he first gave a goal kick thinking the Croatian had headed straight over. It was an inspirational save that brought Dortmund in at half time on level terms, a huge psychological difference.
And finally, my man of the match
Goes to the brilliant Franck Ribery on Bayern's left. The Bavarians only truly looked dangerous when the Frenchman was involved. Constantly bringing others into play with his direct, quick movement and passing, he always was looking to make something happen. A much more rounded player than his associate, the Dutch headline stealer, Ribery deserves some real plaudits from being one of the worlds best players this year.