Chelsea parade the Champions League trophy through southwest London
The Blues beat Bayern Munich on penalties for their first ever Champions League win
Chelsea captain John Terry leads players and fans in chant of "champions"
Bayern fans in disbelief after seeing team waste chances to win in their home stadium
Disbelieving Chelsea fans have been celebrating with their Champions League-winning team in London on a victory parade the day after the club won the trophy for the first time in their history.
Chelsea’s squad and temporary manager Roberto di Matteo traveled on two open-top buses, waving blue scarves as they showed off the famous trophy with the “big ears.”
Cheering fans crowded onto the streets and even climbed up trees and lampposts and onto bus stops around southwest London to catch a glimpse of their heroes, including matchwinner Didier Drogba.
Chelsea, who overcame Barcelona in the semifinals, were 1-0 down against Bayern Munich with seven minutes remaining at the Allianz Arena, but Drogba conjured an 88th-minute equalizer.
The Ivorian striker then scored the winning penalty in the shoot-out with what could be his final kick for Chelsea. The 34-year-old’s contract runs out this summer, and he has been linked with a move to China.
It capped a remarkable few months for Chelsea, who sacked Portuguese manager Andre Villas Boas in late March with the team toiling in the Premier League and trailing 3-1 against Napoli after the first leg of their Champions League last 16 match.
Under Di Matteo, Chelsea somehow overturned the deficit against Napoli, but a miraculous victory over Barcelona managed to overshadow that.
Chelsea looked doomed again after skipper John Terry was sent off early in the second leg and they went 2-1 down on aggregate, but once again the Blues triumphed against the odds – and repeated the trick against Bayern in the German’s club’s home stadium.
The win also guaranteed Chelsea a place in the Champions League next season after missing out via the Premier League by only finishing sixth. Tottenham, who finished fourth in the English league, will have to settle for the Europa League.
As the buses came to a halt on Sunday, Terry, who was suspended for the final but lifted the trophy with Frank Lampard, led the players and fans in a chant of “champions, champions, ole ole ole.”
When the microphone was passed to Drogba, he was serenaded by both players and fans with “Didier Drogba, we want you to stay.”
Roman Abramovich, the club’s wealthy Russian owner, was also on the parade to witness the celebrations of Drogba, Fernando Torres, Ashley Cole, Petr Cech, Juan Mata, and countless other signings made under his big-spending ownership.
Winning the Champions League had been Abramovich’s dream and plenty of managers were fired over their failure to deliver it, but Di Matteo’s future is still far from secure.
“Whatever the club decides I will respect, it’s as simple as that,” the Italian coach said after the match in Munich.
As the Chelsea fans celebrated, the mood in Munich was predictably somber.
Once the delirious opposition fans had departed – an estimated 100,000 Chelsea supporters were in Munich – the city was left to mourn what most of the German newspapers saw as a desperately unlucky defeat.
Sports daily Bild’s headline read: “Schweini, we are crying with you!”
Bastian Schweinsteiger, the talisman of the Bayern team who came through the youth system at the club, hit the post with a hesitant penalty in the shoot out.
Former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben had missed a chance to wrap it up even before the shoot out when he had a penalty saved by Cech in extra time.
Chelsea had one corner in the entire match and scored from it through Drogba. Bayern had 20 corners, and 43 attempts on goal to Chelsea’s nine.
“It’s like a nightmare,” Bayern director of sport Christian Nerlinger said. “When you see how the game played itself out, it’s like a bad film.
“This is frustrating and depressing to digest. This defeat is very difficult to take.”
Munich daily Süddeutsche Zeitung concluded: “How much bad luck fits into a single football match?”