On this week’s review section we congratulate the new champions of Europe, the new champions of France and the new Italian Cup winners, while Bayern and Auxerre also feature in our bad and ugly sections. You can listen to these and other stories on our weekly podcast and can find explanations of key vocabulary in bold below.
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Congratulations to English club Chelsea who became the first ever London side (and the fifth English team overall) to win the Champions League after a dramatic win on penalties against German side Bayern Munich. With their opponents Bayern playing at home, Chelsea were underdogs going into the final, but as they have have repeatedly shown in this season’s competition they can never be written off. Didier Drogba was the hero as he scored a late equaliser to bring the game to extra-time before stepping up to score the winning penalty in the shoot-out. Dramatic scenes also in France as surprise package Montpellier won their first ever French title after winning 2-1 away at Auxerre. Before the season they were regarded as complete outsiders but they held their nerve to hold off the challenge from super-rich PSG. A good weekend too for Napoli as they won their first piece of silverware in over 20 years when they defeated Juventus 2-0 in the Coppa Italia – no mean feat as Juventus had already won the Italian League without losing.
Defeat in the Champions League final is a bitter pill to swallow but coming the week after a German Cup final thrashing against Dortmund, two weeks after finishing second (behind Dortmund again) in the Bundesliga and two years after another Champions League final loss it appears that this Bayern generation may be tagged the ‘silver generation’. They had their chances – so many chances – but they were unable to convert them which means that despite their great start to the season the Bavarian side have ended their second successive season without any silverware.
We have already congratulated Montpellier for winning the Ligue 1 title at the weekend (Right: John Utaka celebrates his goal)but their final game of the season away at Auxerre was marred by the actions of the home side fans as they threw flares on to the pitch that forced the game to be stopped. Eventually the police had to clear the area so that the game could be re-started – a delay of over 20 minutes adding to the tension of the last day of the season. Auxerre have been relegated and will receive a heavy sanction for their fans’ behaviour. Ugly indeed.
underdogs: No one expected them to win
be written off: To be discounted, to be ruled out
held their nerve: Were calm under pressure
no mean feat: A very good achievement
a bitter pill to swallow: A hard defeat to accept
thrashing: A heavy defeat
tagged: Nicknamed, called
was marred by: When something bad happens on a good occasion
flares: Like fireworks; fans sometimes carry these to add atmosphere to the match
a heavy sanction: A strong punishment