Munich, May 23 - There will be a list of items going through each Bayern fan later this afternoon as they cheer their team one last time this season: Madrid. Milito. Mourinho. Milan. I would like to add one more for Bayern "missed opportunities" but there just wasn't a lot to discuss about that during Inter Milan's 2-0 victory in the UEFA Champions League Final in Madrid last night.
There's something about playing a Final in Spain that is becoming a major obstacle for Bayern. From the start, they played well; dominating possession and it looked like their game plan would continue to create chances. But like that fateful night in 1999, it wasn't enough to translate to the score sheet and it allowed their opponent a chance to hang around and steal a title. Yes, the end wasn't as shocking 11 years ago, but the result was the same.
Diego Milito did take advantage of the little opportunities he had: 2 shots, both on target, both goals. That's 100% efficiency. His beautiful header to Wesley Schneider and the beautiful pass back to him cut through the Bayern defense. Hans-Joerg Butt had no chance to stop him in the 35th minute. In the second half, Milito did it all himself in the 70th minute, breaking Daniel van Buyten's ankles dribbling around him and beating Butt one more time. That's all the offense needed on this night.
Because Inter Milan's head coach Jose Mourinho proved once again that he is 'The Special One'. His tactics allowed Bayern to control possession but not get anything else. The strategy seemed to allow Arjen Robben, Ivica Olic and the offense to run around, get tired and eventually frustrated. His plan after 30 minutes looked like he would be happy to take the match to a penalty shootout. After going up 1-0, it would be up to Bayern to counter. Credit Mourinho's shut down plan that beat FC Barcelona in the semi-final and now Bayern. Give me credit that I did mention yesterday that one goal would be enough for Mourinho, I didn't think Bayern's offense would fall into the trap with their recent form. I can only imagine the difference Franck Ribery would have made if he were to play, but due to his 3-match ban, he was left on the bench and one can only wonder.
As the match got deep into the second half, Robben was the only one trying to create and then he began to tire thus rendering the Bayern offense a non-factor. Milito iced the victory and Inter fans could taste the Treble. There was to be no last minute miracle. 45 years after last winning a European title, Inter Milan now make history becoming the sixth club to win their league, domestic cup and the top flight continental cup. Their victory Saturday night was done in such a masterful way, football fans can only tip their hats to Milan.
Bayern fans should enjoy the sun and cheer on their soccer heroes today: two titles and a Champions League final berth is an achievement. But they will be left thinking about Milan's mastery throughout the summer until kickoff of a new season in August.
Past European Treble Winners - Celtic (Scotland) 1967, Ajax (Netherlands) 1972, PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) 1988, Manchester United (England) 1999, Barcelona (Spain) 2009, Inter Milan (Italy) 2010