When nightmares turn to sweet dreams

As a fan, you’d rather not even think about the 2012 Champions League final in Munich. “It was brutal,” shuddered Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, contemplating the shootout defeat to Chelsea on 19 May last year. But for the Bayern players, the bitter loss has been the ultimate source of their current success, said the club chairman in Barcelona on Wednesday evening: “This season’s consistency, quality and hot streak have grown out of losing last season’s final.”

FC Bayern Muenchen v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Final

(Getty)

(Getty)

A record-breaking Bundesliga campaign, a place in the domestic cup final and now the chance to win the Champions League: a nightmare is slowly but surely turning into the stuff of dreams. “We came so close last year, but we’ve come back even stronger. We’ve shown exactly the right reaction, from start to finish. Every player is extremely fired up,” said Thomas Müller following a second gala in red and white against Barcelona in the space of just a week. “We’ve sent out a signal in this semi-final, and we don’t want to be stopped now. We have a huge desire to pick up this cup.”

If anyone embodies Munich’s unshakeable will to win, it is Müller himself. The 23-year-old handed his side a late lead at the Allianz Arena a year ago, but by the end had to watch the opposing team hoist the Champions League trophy for the second time in three seasons. “I don’t know how it would feel if you make the Champions League final three times in four years as a pro and still don’t win it,” he reflected.

Müller’s text and Zidane’s haircut

(Getty)

(Getty)

Following last year’s savage disappointment on home soil, Müller attempted to rally his team-mates with a text message, as he revealed on Wednesday evening: “We were all devastated, so I thought I’d send round a text. It might have included some strong language. All I wanted to express was my determination to win this thing.”

In hindsight, it was the starting gun on a record-breaking season for Bayern, although the job is not quite complete yet. Müller, FCB’s top scorer in Europe this term with eight goals, remains utterly determined to add the crowning glory. On hearing that the great Zinedine Zidane twice finished on the losing side in the Champions League final before eventually collecting winner’s medals in the World Cup, Euro, Champions League and World Club Cup, Müller made a vow: “If necessary, I’ll go to the hairdressers and have a cut like Zidane’s, if it means I win the thing.”

Source: Bayern Munich

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