MADRID (Reuters) – Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s penalty shootout saves secured Bayern Munich a Champions League final against Chelsea in their own Allianz Arena after the German side ended Real Madrid’s bid for a 10th European crown on Wednesday.
Neuer kept out spot kicks from Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka as Bayern eliminated the Spaniards 3-1 on penalties in a nerve-jangling Champions League semi-final second leg at the Bernabeu.
Real and Bayern were locked at 3-3 on aggregate following Real’s 2-1 win after extra time.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s penalty shootout saves secured Bayern Munich a Champions League final against Chelsea in their own Allianz Arena after the German side ended Real Madrid’s bid for a 10th European crown on Wednesday.
Bayern will play Chelsea in the May 19 final after the London club eliminated holders Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate on Tuesday.
Iker Casillas had revived Real’s hopes by saving efforts from Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm in the shootout but after Sergio Ramos skied his penalty over the bar Bastian Schweinsteiger rifled home to send the Bavarians through.
“I have not witnessed something like that in 40 years of professional football,” said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
“This tops everything we experienced in the 70s and 80s. I am very happy and very proud. That was top quality football.”
Bayern are back in the final after losing the 2010 showpiece to Inter Milan while Real, who last won the trophy in 2002, must wait another season to bid for glory.
The home side had quickly cancelled out Bayern’s 2-1 first-leg win when Ronaldo netted a sixth-minute penalty and then produced a smart finish from the edge of the area eight minutes later.
Bayern, who will be without the suspended David Alaba, Luiz Gustavo and Holger Badstuber for the final, pulled a goal back in the 27th minute when Arjen Robben also netted from the spot.
“You have to stay balanced when you win and when you lose,” said Real coach Jose Mourinho.
“The lads were fantastic, with an incredible mentality against a great team, against a team that last weekend were on holiday.
“We were maybe lacking a bit of freshness.
“It was a great, enormous game. We lost, we are sad and they are happy but that’s football.”
Bayern recovered from the early blows, settling into the game and Robben and Mario Gomez both went close, with Karim Benzema also looking dangerous for the hosts.
After the break, both sides were more cautious but with extra time approaching Gomez squandered a chance to send Bayern through when he took too long to control and Khedira was able to get back and smother his weak shot.
Extra time followed a similar pattern with Real’s only real chance falling to substitute Kaka but Bayern managed to clear their lines.
“It was a very exciting match but in the end penalties are always a lottery,” said Casillas.
“We shouldn’t dwell on it too much. We played very well, created chances and passed the ball around well.”
Real’s latest failure in Europe’s elite club competition is a huge blow for the capital side, whose president Florentino Perez has spent hundreds of millions of euros on players and coaching staff chasing the elusive 10th continental title.
He lured Mourinho from Inter Milan in 2010 in a bid to end Barcelona’s Spanish and European domination but they have tripped up at the semi-final stage for a second consecutive season after falling to Barca in 2011.