Left image by Mitchell Gunn-US PRESSWIRE; right image by Marvin Gen..."/>
Left image by Mitchell Gunn-US PRESSWIRE; right image by Marvin Gen..."/>
Left image by Mitchell Gunn-US PRESSWIRE; right image by Marvin Gen..."/>

UEFA Champions League Final Was LSU vs. Alabama

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Left image by Mitchell Gunn-US PRESSWIRE; right image by Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

By every measure, Chelsea had no business defeating Bayern Munich. The Bundesliga powerhouse dominated all facets of Saturday’s UEFA Champions League Final, playing before an electric home crowd. Bayern Munich moved the ball effectively against Chelsea’s defense, settling in the attack zone for much of the match.

However, Chelsea won on the only location that matters: the scoreboard. Chelsea overcame Bayern Munich’s dominance of the ball and aggressive approach, capitalizing on its slim chance at the most crucial juncture. And that was enough to trump Bayern Munich, which failed to make good on all its chances.

In other words, it was soccer’s response to the November 2011 Alabama – LSU “Game of the Century.”

The Tigers came into Bryant-Denny Stadium undefeated and confident. LSU’s top ranking was not the level of surprise that Chelsea reaching Saturday’s Final was — as good as Geno Smith and West Virginia proved to be, they were hardly comparable to Lionel Messi and Barca. Still, Les Miles’ championship project was running a season ahead of schedule. The 2011 season was to be Alabama’s, with a talented and veteran roster and hoomefield advantage against the Tigers.

Alabama flexed its defensive muscles early, forcing LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee into a pair of interceptions. Through Lee’s unexpected emergence, the Tigers had found a steady catalyst to the offense lacking since their last championship season. The Tide’s NFL talent level defense just proved too much for him, and led to his benching.

Jordan Jefferson was hardly any more effective, throwing for just over 60 yards.

Conversely, Trent Richardson rushed for 89 yards on the vaunted Tiger defense and caught for another 80. It was an exemplary performance from the Heisman Trophy finalist. Richardson’s eruptive bursts were the counter to Bayern Munich’s attacks at the Chelsea goal. Like Petr Cech in goal for Chelsea, the LSU defense made the stops when it counted most.

Like the UEFA Final, the Game of the Century was decided in extra time. The highlight miscue that denied Bayern Munich in penalty kicks was star Bastian Schweinsteiger hitting the goal post. Across the Atlantic in Tuscaloosa, Cade Foster missed his own overtime kicking opportunity.

The hero on the ensuing Tiger possession was Charles Ford, the proverbial Didier Drogba with his big rush to set up the winning field goal.

The similarities between the two matches are there. There is one key difference, though. Chelsea’s win was for the championship.