History of the Penalty Shootout
The track record of Bayern in penalty shootouts is actually more than solid – out of 26 they’ve won 18. If you take out the DFL Supercup and its predecessor the Ligapokal this statistic improves to 16 of 21. Some of them led to titles like the Champions League trophy in 2001. However, there have also been some horrible losses at the hands of this format, such as on one fateful evening in May 2012.
DFB Pokal, 1. Round, August 6th 2007
Written by Daniel
Imagine completely changing your behaviour on the market, breaking all transfer records, spending over €80m, making a big show for the press… only to then be a single penalty away from elimination in the opening game of the season against mighty Wacker Burghausen.
Now if you think Wacker sounds like a pretty whack team to go out against, I can assure you it’s way worse than that! It’s a little village with less than 20,000 inhabitants. A true football-powerhouse as you see. A powerhouse that managed to comfortably draw against the new almighty Bayern with superstars Ribéry and Klose for 120 minutes.
So a shootout was to decide Bayern’s further cup-aspirations and it started out remarkably well! Ribéry and van Bommel gave Bayern a quick 2:0 lead with Burghausen missing. Their second penalty was more successful, but hardly signalled confidence from the spot, it all looked like Burghausen left their heart on the pitch and had nothing to give anymore.
José Ernesto Sosa proceeded with an almost metaphoric penalty for his entire career at Bayern. He was kind of there, he kind of participated in the game, Bayern kind of won but it was all not because of anything Sosa did. Anyway, Burghausen’s next penalty was by far the worst of the evening, missing the target by a good chunk. Altintop came next with a very emblematic miss for that shootout. Bayern’s misses were all much better but hitting the crossbar was still a miss.
To mix things up we now got three straight conversions, Lahm notably took the first important penalty in his professional career and fueled by his ecstatic performance, Burghausen’s keeper took one himself. He then proceeded to deny Demichelis stunning Bayern. The stands erupted, the far from impartial commentator screamed, everyone watching TV was shell-shocked. Did Bayern seriously boast how much money they were spending all summer only to now be eliminated in the first round of the cup to a third division team in a town nobody could even find on a map? Luca Toni might’ve not been playing but Ribéry and Klose were! Two of the best players of last summer’s World Cup!
The only one who was not horrified was the captain. Indeed Oliver Kahn seemed to be extremely angry with his team’s performance but for the last two penalties that anger had completely vanished. This season was supposed to be his last dance, his farewell-tour. Ending his career with a finish outside Champions League qualification and no cup-final would’ve been such an unworthy end to his career weeks prior, so for his sake, too, Bayern brought in the players to give him the final season he so richly deserved. And that included lifting the cup for a record-breaking final time. Going out against Burghausen? Not in the script! Kahn was never that great at penalties but for this he once more channelled his total focus of the 2001 Champions League final. Without any jumping or speculating, he just stood there, focussed, waiting for the penalty, bursting with adrenaline.
The penalty he saved was actually a really good one, hardly a perfect shot but with such power that most keepers wouldn’t have the reaction time to save it. But Kahn was not most keepers. He was the keeper. Even at 38 years of age. As he clenched his right fist, his signature celebration showed just how much this meant to him.
Club legend Christian Lell followed, scored flawlessly and Kahn got the opportunity to end this absolute rollercoaster himself. Bayern proceeded with a cup-winning campaign, not having to struggle nearly as much again, coupled with almost unprecedented domination in the league. But the entire season could’ve gotten a very different spin had Oliver Kahn not saved that one decisive penalty.
UEFA Supercup, August 30th 2013
Written by Eskender
I love penalty shootouts so much that I hate extra time because if something happened in those 30 minutes it could kill a rare chance of experiencing the thrill of players taking long walks, psychological games by keepers and the sheer satisfaction of predicting who’s going to miss. Yet I also think it’s a bit too harsh when a cup final game comes down to one, especially considering the team that deserved (or came close) to win usually ends up losing like Bayern experienced in the 2011-12 Champions League final. But in the 2013 UEFA Super Cup, a frantic extra time wasn’t enough to separate the sides.
You know the drill. Two teams contesting the (in)famous Champions League final a little more than a year ago are at it again with Bayern looking for revenge against Chelsea in Prague. Since Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho were the replacements for Jupp Heynckes and Roberto Di Matteo, respectively, the narrative was similar. Bayern would dominate the game. Although it was nothing like Finale dahoam, Bayern were the better side but still had to come from behind twice including Javi Martinez’s 120th-minute equalizer to force the first shootout in the competition’s history.
I think its rarity despite our binge-watching and the fact I’m a neutral (at least most of the time) played part to my fondness of shootouts but this game was a different experience for me altogether. I had to watch the game in a showhouse which can hold about a hundred people but with only a handful cheering for Bayern.
With what happened in the sides’ previous meeting fresh in memory plus the atmosphere, I was emotional during the game. My every reaction felt as if I was rooting against our national team. And what better way to be totally swamped in a football game than the ultimate tiebreaker. Despite plenty of talk in the room on another shootout win for Chelsea against Bayern, I was confident since I thought the omens looked good and the momentum on Bayern’s side following the late equaliser.
It was far from simple, however. David Alaba opened the exchange with a confident kick before David Luiz leveled things up with a ballistic shot which Manuel Neuer would’ve barely saved even if he got his direction right. The trend continues with Petr Cech no where near Toni Kroos’ composed finish. The next two kicks were close calls, though.
Neuer complained Oscar took a pause before taking his kick which found the top corner and Cech at least finally threw himself in the same direction as the ball for Phillip Lahm’s successful take. Next up was Frank Lampard and, of course, he scored with a powerful hit. Franck Ribéry, who scored Bayern’s first goal in the game, and Ashley Cole followed it up with placement over power, although the latter had the good fortune of his effort rebounding home after hitting the post.
It was 4-4. Xherdan Shaqiri, an extra time substitute for the man who missed a spot-kick in the extra time of the 2012 Champions League, was the next. Cech got to the ball and he should’ve saved it but his contact was weak. So it was up to young Romelu Lukaku to keep it rolling but the Belgian striker’s hit was the worst of the lot as Neuer was able to parry and Bayern added the Super Cup to their illustrious trophy cabinet. Not an A-list trophy but it was a surreal moment for me at the time to celebrate a win when I was surrounded by Premier League enthusiasts who probably thought I was trying hard to be a hipster.
Champions League, Final, May 23rd 2001
Written by Georg
Glasgow, Hampden Park. It was in May 1976 when Franz Beckenbauer lifted the European Champions’ Cup, the predecessor of the Champions League, after FC Bayern had beaten Les Verts of St. Etienne 1-0 thanks to a stunning goal by “Bulle” Roth.
In the years and decades thereafter: quarter-final, semi-final, final (Aston Villa), quarter-final, final (FC Porto), quarter-final, semi-final, semi-final, semi-final, quarter-final, final (Manchester United), semi-final.
25 years. 12 tries. 3 finals. 0 titles.
Until Ottmar Hitzfeld came to the rescue. When he took over the Bavarians in 1998, he led the team gloriously to the final in the first season only to suffer the worst imaginable loss against Manchester United. The team did not break, though, it grew.
Milan, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, 2001. Bayern take their next shot at the most glorious trophy in club football, this time against the Spaniards from Valencia. After eliminating United and Real in the knock-out stages, the Germans were favored against Valencia. Would the dry spell eventually come to its end?
Hitzfeld chose the often played 3-4-2-1. Giovane Elber as central striker was flanked by Scholl and Salihamidžić. Youngster Owen Hargreaves made only his second career Champions League start to complement team captain Stefan Effenberg in the centre midfield. Lizarazu and Sagnol formed the French wing. And Linke, Kuffour and Andersson formed a back-three in front of Oliver Kahn.
While Valencia had nothing to lose, Bayern felt the pressure of not losing a fourth straight final. When everybody expected a slow start to the game, Patrik Andersson crawled through the penalty box like a turtle on its back until he touched the ball. Gaizka Mendieta said “gracias” and converted the handball penalty. Bayern answered aggressively and Effenberg was taken down in Valencia’s penalty box only minutes later, but Mehmet Scholl’s attempt was saved by Santiago Cañizares. In the second another handball penalty was awarded to Bayern. This time Effenberg took the responsibility and beat Cañizares.
No further goals, so the game went to the penalty shoot-out, arguably the most important one in the history of both clubs to that date. Paulo Sergio hit the first one to the skies to remind all his fellow Bavarians of Uli Hoeneß’ legendary miss in the 1976 Euros. Another severe setback, even more so after Mendieta and Carew scored for Valencia.
But no matter how many setbacks. Not this time. Not again. When everything seemed lost, Oliver Kahn rose by three feet and finally became the “Titan”. Kahn responded. He saved two penalty kicks when it mattered most to level the game. Thomas Linke scored for the lead before Kahn saved yet another penalty to bring the trophy to Munich for the first time in 25 years.
Champions League, Semifinal, April 25th 2012
Written by Assem
It all came down to this: following a host of missed chances for both sides, the testy semi-final reached its nerve-wracking conclusion: the team that would face Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League final in Munich would be decided through a penalty shootout.
The young David Alaba, unfortunately suspended for any potential final, was up first. Alaba had become a revelation since being repurposed as a left back (sounds like someone we all know, right?), and, up against world champion Iker Casillas, slotted in his penalty calmly and confidently. Next came Cristiano Ronaldo, who had already scored from the spot earlier in the game. Ronaldo drove his shot low to Manuel Neuer’s right, but Neuer was one step ahead of him and denied him. Cristiano Ronaldo, the most expensive player in the world, the driving force behind Real Madrid’s resurrection, had been denied! Advantage Bayern. After Mario Gomez coolly scored his penalty, it was time for another Galactico, Kaka, to shoot for Madrid. Kaka chose to place his penalty similarly to Ronaldo’s, but once again Neuer had his number and denied him as well. FC Bayern 2. Real Madrid 0. Real Madrid had thrown their two biggest superstars, the two most expensive players in world football, each with his own Ballon D’Or and Champions League title, against Manuel Neuer, and they had absolutely nothing to show for it. Surely it was game over, right?
Not exactly. Toni Kroos’ tame shot was saved by Casillas (a miss that would have fateful implications a month later) and then Xabi Alonso managed to pull one back for Madrid moments later. Philipp Lahm had the chance to restore order, but his weak chip was easily parried by Casillas; the euphoria brought on by the first four penalties had come to a crashing halt. Next up, Sergio Ramos stepped up ready to equalize for Madrid. But, in an incident that launched the careers of football meme pages worldwide, Ramos skied his shot way over the bar, much to Bayern’s relief. After the game, Manuel Neuer would quip, “I didn’t know Ramos liked to place his shots so high” (A month later, Ramos sniped back, saying, “I didn’t know Neuer liked to lose so many finals”). Next up, Bastian Schweinsteiger stepped up and gloriously slotted the ball home to win the tie and send Bayern to their destined Finale Dahoam! Players and fans alike would celebrate euphorically for the rest of the rest of the night and for long after. In an epic showdown between Real Madrid’s extravagant, up-or-out, celebrity-obsessed hubris and Bayern’s home-grown, family-oriented and fiscally-responsible pomposity, the Bavarian model had come out on top. La Bestia Negra was alive and scarier than ever.
Bayern’s victory would further enrich the collective memory of the rivalry between the two European powerhouses: Stefan Effenberg clattering Roberto Carlos early into the game, Mark Van Bommel tauntingly celebrating in front of the Madrid fans after scoring a crucial away goal, Roy Makaay scoring 9 seconds into the game, and now Neuer breaking the Spanish champions-elects’ hearts. Then-coach Jose Mourinho recently admitted that this result was the only loss that ever made him cry.
Rather unfortunately for Bayern, that shootout was the best moment of the season. There would be no glory at the Finale Dahoam, as Bayern lost to a decimated-but-pragmatic Chelsea side in heartbreaking fashion. Still, for a few weeks in late April and early May 2012, Bayern fans were in dreamland. Everything seemed possible, and long-awaited Champions League glory seemed imminent in a fairytale final. I was one such fan and, to this day, few moments compare to the pure bliss engendered in me by that beautiful Wednesday evening in Madrid.
DFB Pokal, Semifinal, April 28th 2015
Written by Katrin
Just to get this off my chest: I hate penalty shootouts. They are cruel, heartbreaking and nerve-wracking – and not in a good way, more in a “have-my-mobile-phone-on-standby-because-I-might-have-a-heart-attack-and-need-to-call-911” kind of way. Even when the team I’m rooting for wins, I can’t help but feeling sorry for the losing side (with a very few exceptions), which annoyingly gets in the way of enjoying the sweet taste of victory. But maybe that’s just me.
There is one penalty shootout, however, that actually made me laugh. Granted, my laughter slightly bordered on hysteria, but it was laughter nonetheless. When FC Bayern faced Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Pokal semifinals in 2015, it looked like the Reds were on their way to yet another Cup final in Berlin. Pep Guardiola’s team was plagued by injuries; David Alaba, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben were prominently missing from the line-up. But Bayern still managed to dominate their opponents for a good portion of the game. Robert Lewandowski scored in the 29th minute to give his team the 1-0 lead, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levelled in the 75th.
If you are a believer in signs, maybe you saw it coming already. All those missed and wasted chances! Then, Robben came on again for the first time in five weeks – but only sixteen minutes later, he limped off the pitch again, injured. Lewandowski clashed with Dortmund’s goalkeeper and was taken to the hospital after the match. Therefore, when the scoreboard read 1:1 after the final whistle and extra time, perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised that I was about to witness the most peculiar penalty shootout.
Not a single Bayern player was able to convert their penalty kick. Philipp Lahm slipped, fell and missed. I gasped. Xabi Alonso slipped, fell and missed. I was baffled, unsure if my mind was playing tricks on me because it seemed to be a repeat of the exact scene I had witnessed minutes earlier. Mario Götze was denied by Dortmund’s keeper. I began to chuckle. Manuel Neuer hit the bar. I laughed hysterically. Then it was all over and I went to sleep, sans the emotional turmoil I usually find myself in after a penalty shootout.
I wouldn’t call it my “favorite” penalty shootout – Bayern lost, after all, and the dreams of winning another treble were shattered – but it is the only one I can remember that was immensely entertaining, absurd and bizarre at the same time. For all the wrong reasons.
UEFA Cup, 2nd Round, November 2nd 1983
Written by Maurice
There have been penalty shootouts with higher stakes than this encounter with PAOK Saloniki in the second round of the UEFA Cup of the 1983-84 season. The Greeks at that time were coached by none other than former Bayern coach Pal Csernai, who had been let go the previous season. Both games had ended scoreless and set the stage for the first ever penalty shootout in the Olympiastadion. And what a baptism it was.
After Greek striker Kostikos had no trouble scoring on his first attempt, Klaus Augenthaler was up for the Reds. The defender was famous for his strong shot, but Salonikis goalie Furtula guessed the corner correctly. However, the English referee Alan Robinson decided that the keeper had jumped the gun and ordered a re-kick. So again it’s Auge v Furtula II and yet again the goalie comes out on top. But wait, in what looks like a replay, Robinson decides that Augenthaler gets another try. And as the third time’s the charm, the Bavarian defender finally finds the back of the net.
Next up for Bayern is Dieter Hoeneß and apparently he is so tired after this seemingly boring yet exhausting match, that his shot is merely a backpass. Really one of the worst penalties I can remember. So Bayern at this point is one behind and needs a break, which they get as Pfaff fends off Vasiliakos. But if you think it’s that easy, you clearly don’t know Mr. Robinson. The referee allows the Greek to take another penalty and this time he scores. Pfaff eventually saves one and so we go to extra time. But no further misses are recorded until it is 8:8.
At this point Pfaff snatches another one, but this crazy penalty shootout is not done yet. The cherry on top is that Pfaff himself is the only player left to take a penalty. So the Belgian stepps up and – well at this point the YouTube video sadly skips ahead – but you can see Pfaff celebrating so I assume he scored in the most ridiculous fashion possible. Bayern advances to the next round, where they get knocked out by Tottenham. What a bummer. But that same season they end up in another penalty shootout where Lothar Matthäus famously misses a penalty for Mönchengladbach after announcing he is moving to Munich the season.