The 2001 UEFA Champion League(UCL) final was contested between Bayern Munich and Valencia and the final were held in San Siro Stadium, Milan. Bayern Munich is chasing for the 4th European title and Valencia is seeking for their 1st European title after winning the UEFA Cup Winners Cups in 1980 in their club history. Valencia will like to emulate the achievement of the great Mario Kempes team. The final between both of this team, unfortunately, had become one of the most boring finals in the UCL history.
Bayern Munich last won the UCL under the famous Franz Beckenbauer team in 1976 when they had lifted the trophies for 3 consecutive times from 1974 to 1976. Although this impressive feat had been achieved by Sevilla in 2016 when they had lifted the UEFA Europa League for the 3-consecutive time from 2014 to 2016, Bayern Munich is the last team that had lifted the UCL for 3 consecutive times after Real Madrid and Ajax Amsterdam. After winning it in 1976 they had reached 3 more finals first in 1982 when they had been defeated by Aston Villa, in 1987 where they had defeated by FC Porto and in 1999 when they had victory snatched away from them in last 3-minute injury time by Manchester United. If Bayern Munich had been defeated in this final then they will equal Juventus record of losing in 4 final, 1 short of Benfica who had the most final losses.
For Valencia, under the guidance of Hector Cuper and with the playmaker Gaizka Mendieta, Valencia had been impressive when they had knocked out Arsenal in the quarter-final and Leeds United in the semi-final to reach their second consecutive UCL final. On the previous season, they also had reached the final when they had defeated the Italian Champion Lazio in the quarter-final and Barcelona in the semi-final before crumbling under pressure against Real Madrid in the final with a heavy 3-0 loses. Valencia will like to win the trophy this time and at the sometimes will like to avoid from becoming the first team to losing in 2 consecutive UCL finals. Both teams want to avoid another heartbreak and another unwanted record and the final had turned out to be one of the most boring finals in the UCL history.
In this final, Valencia had scored first when they had been awarded a penalty in the 3rd minutes after Bayern Munich Patrik Andersson had been judged to have handled the ball in the penalty area. Bayern also had been awarded penalties after Valencia Jocelyn Angloma had fouled Stefan Effenberg in the penalty area but it had been saved by Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares. In the second half, Bayern was awarded penalties when Valencia Amedeo Carboni had been judged to handle the ball and this time Stefan Effenberg had slotted the penalties to make the score line level.
After this, both teams had decided to shut down and park the bus to avoid any heartbreak or any defeat until the end of the extra time. In the penalty shootout, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn had made some astounding 3 penalties saves to make Bayern Munich the champion. Until now this is the only UCL final that had been declared as the final of penalties as the goal scored and the game decided by penalties.
This game had turned out this way as both teams do not want to suffer another heartbreaking defeat where Bayern Munich had victory snatched from the team in 1999 final and Valencia does not perform and freeze in the final to Real Madrid in 2000. Hector Cuper the Valencia manager although had managed them to their best time before Rafa Benitez came in the picture but he is not the fan favorites as he is the follower of Helenio Herrera school of catenaccio and his team loves to play a defensive style of football. Even in this final, he had decided to replace his attacking midfielder Pablo Aimar to defend their lead early in the second half.
Bayern Munich with their goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and midfielder general Steffan Effenberg had played like it is their final games and become furious and agitated for any silly mistakes. Such a tensed final with both teams does not want to lose.
They are another final where it had dubbed as the boring final when AC Milan played against Juventus in 2003 at Old Trafford but at least in that final they are some memorable saves by Buffon and also a game that illustrated the art of Italian defensive masterclass by both sides where they is not a single shot saved in this 2001 final apart from the penalties.
Although this final is all in penalties but Oliver Kahn goalkeeping prowess had been proven when he made 3 penalties saved including the one against Amedeo Carboni where he had pushed the ball to the crossbar where Santiago Canizares is looked freeze and does not make any decent attempt to save the penalties. Another classy touch in this game when Oliver Khan console the dejected Santiago Canizares when the game had ended.
Although they are some unwanted record if any team had lost the final, Ottmar Hitzfeld became the second manager after the legendary Ernst Happel to win the UCL with 2 different teams and it is a feat that had been matched by Jose Mourinho in 2010 when he had lifted the UCL with Inter Milan. Bayern Munich had gained their 4th European title after the heartbreak in 1999 and for Valencia, this had been the last UCL final for them.
Unfortunately, since then they are no final that can take over this 2001 final as the most boring final ever as we had witnessed some of the best final since then like Miracle Of Istanbul in 2005 between Liverpool and AC Milan, Barcelona vs Arsenal in 2006, Manchester United vs Barcelona in 2009 and 2011, and many more.
For now, 2001 final will forever be final of penalties and the most boring final ever in the UCL history.