Munich parties as Dortmund mourns in divided Germany

Reuters, Sunday 26 May 2013

Munich celebrations lasted until early morning after winning rivals Borussia Dortmund

Players and coaches of FC Bayern Munich attend the Bayern Munich Champions League Finale banquet at Grosvenor House on Saturday, May 25, 2013 after winning the soccer Champions League Final against Borussia Dortmund in London. (Photo: AP)

Bayern Munich fans celebrated long into the night after their team's 2-1 Champions League triumph over Dortmund at Wembley on Saturday ensured two defeats in the previous three finals were quickly forgotten.

More than 40,000 Bayern fans erupted in delirious joy when Arjen Robben scored the 89th minute winner as they watched the match on a chilly, wet night at a special public viewing event set up on Munich's Oktoberfest grounds.

Another 50,000 Bayern supporters watching on video screens at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena were finally able to celebrate after the Dutch forward rescued them from the prospect of another heartbreaking defeat on Europe's biggest stage.

Many stormed the vacant pitch to proclaim the famous victory and tear up sods of turf as souvenirs.

"It's superb and I feel so relieved," said Marco Goering, who had joined thousands of fans on Munich's fashionable Leopoldstrasse in a spontaneous midnight rally.

"It's an overwhelming feeling. Three finals in four years. It's a fantastic feeling to see how the fans are going crazy here, a great feeling."

Singing, dancing and slapping each other on the back, many fans offered their own rendition of the Queen song "We Are The Champions" as well as traditional fan chants praising Bayern.

The mood was entirely different 600-km to the north in Dortmund, a former mining town about as far away from the glitzy and cosmopolitan world of Munich that you can get in a country where opinion was divided on who was the popular choice in the all-German final.

The match began well for the thousands of Dortmund fans packed into the Friedensplatz square in their black and yellow jerseys after the team dominated their loathed opponents for much of the first half.

Joy turned to despair when Munich scored after an hour before a deafening roar greeted Dortmund's equaliser in the 68th minute, reviving memories of Bayern's squandering of a 1-0 lead in last year's final before losing on penalties to Chelsea.

However, Robben's late intervention did nothing more than to leave the crowd in stunned silence.

"It's all crap and I don't know what to say," said Dortmund fan Daniel Ruetting as others nearby wept openly. "It's time to go home and sleep over it. There's always next year."

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