Petr Cech has revealed he cannot remember the moment he saved the crucial penalty that helped Chelsea win the Champions League against Bayern Munich eight years ago. Chelsea’s legendary Czech keeper had an amazing night in Munich in 2012, as he pulled off a string of great saves, stopped Arjen Robben’s penalty in extra time – and then two more in the knife edge shoot out – to allow Didier Drogba to strike the penalty to win the trophy they had been chasing for so many years.
In fact, so delirious were Chelsea’s players at their unexpected triumph, Cech revealed, that they did not at first know what to do then the final whistle went.
Cech, now technical and performance advisor at Chelsea, will be watching from the stands on Tuesday night as Frank Lampard’s team take on Bayern in the first leg of their last 16 tie.
Bayern took the lead in the final in the Allianz Arena that night in 2012, when Thomas Muller scored with eight minutes left – but Drogba spectacularly headed Chelsea level in the 88th minute. Cech saved Robben’s penalty in extra time sending the final to a shoot out.
Cech then saved Bayern’s final two spot kicks, from Ivica Olic and Bastien Schweinsteiger – to set up Drogba for the historic winning kick.
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Cech remembered: “The keeper stands on the side of the pitch for the shootouts. So for the winning penalty I saw the ball, and I saw Manuel Neuer diving to this side.
“I saw his head coming this way, and then at the back I saw the ball going in the far corner. That was the moment when you realised the Champions League was won.
“I saw Didier running towards me and I went directly to meet him. For 20 seconds we didn’t know what to do – because of the accomplishment, because we had been chasing the trophy for so long. It was a unique moment.”
But as for his penalty save from Robben – Cech has no memory: “Sometimes when you watch movies and they slow down and freeze – that happened the same way. The ball became really big.
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“I was concentrating on what he was going to do – and the rest stayed a complete blank, my focus was only on that. The moment froze, the ball disappeared.”
Drogba’s glorious headed equaliser is though, etched on Cech’s mind, as he watched from the other end of the pitch: “When I saw the ball coming in I was sure that this would open up the chance to win the game.
“I remember seeing Neuer going very close to the ball – I thought he might get there for a second, and I thought the chance was gone. He got a touch to it but not enough to keep it out.”
Chelsea will play the return leg of their showdown with Bayern at the Allianz Arena on March 18.
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