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The 2017 UEFA Champions League Final was the final match of the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League, the 62nd iteration of Europe's premier club football competition and the 25th since it was rebranded as the Champions League.

The match was played on June 3, 2017 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. German side Bayern Munich defeated Real Madrid 2-1, with Bayern coming back from a 1-0 halftime deficit to score twice in the final ten minutes of the match. It was Bayern's sixth European Cup, and gave manager Carlo Ancelotti a record fourth European Cup, the only manager to achieve the honor. Paired with their first-place finish in the 2016-17 Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal earlier in May, it delivered Bayern their second treble in four years and gave Ancelotti his first treble as a manager as well.

As champions, Bayern earned the right to contest the 2017 UEFA Super Cup against 2016-17 UEFA Europa League champions Manchester United, and earned them a spot in the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup as UEFA's representative.

BackgroundEdit

The final featured two of the winningest teams in the history of the competition, with Real Madrid having won a record ten European Cups (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2014) and having placed as runner up in four (1962, 1964, 1981, 2016), making their arrival in Cardiff their record fifteenth appearance in a European Cup/Champions League final, their second in a row, and their third in four years. Bayern Munich, meanwhile, were appearing in their eleventh final, tying them with Milan for total appearances and having won five (1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013) and lost five (1982, 1987, 1999, 2010, 2012). It was such a match between two of Europe's most elite sides. The game had added significance as it featured Carlo Ancelotti of Bayern, one of only two managers to win three European Cups and the only to do it with two different squads, facing off against Real Madrid, the team which he managed to their record tenth European Cup in 2014.

Both teams entered the competition with the two top scorers of the competition (Bayern's Lewandowski with 12 goals, Madrid's Gareth Bale with 10) and both having won their domestic leagues. Bayern had also just a few days earlier won the DFB-Pokal, placing them in position to win a second treble.

SummaryEdit

In 14th minute, Real Madrid defender and captain Sergio Ramos was injured and manager Zinedine Zidane substituted Danilo on for him. At 33', Cristiano Ronaldo hit a cross to teammate Gareth Bale, who caught the ball with his chest and then kicked it into the upper left corner of the goal past Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, the first goal conceded by Neuer since the Round of 16. Madrid had another choice at 41', when Jerome Boateng drew a yellow card against Ronaldo, but Ronaldo hit the ensuing penalty wide over the crossbar.

After a halftime score of 1-0 in favor of Madrid, the match favored Bayern, with the German side seeing multiple opportunities, including two deflected shots on goal by Robert Lewandowski at 60' and 65', both of which were deflected by Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois. Madrid had an opportunity to go up 2-0 when at 77' Bale appeared to score his second goal of the match, but the goal was disallowed as an offside and Bale was booked for arguing with the referee. Moments later, Bayern equalized when Arturo Vidal hit a header in after a cross from Thomas Muller. Real Madrid lost the ball in midfield after a pass from Ronaldo to Jese was knocked away by David Alaba, who fired it downfield to Lewandowski, who took it into the box and passed it to Muller, who slipped the ball in behind Courtois at 85' to take the lead. Bayern hung on despite a tremendous attempt at 90'+2 by Ronaldo that was knocked out by Neuer, followed by an attempted header by Alvaro Morata on the ensuing corner kick.

AftermathEdit

Bayern hoisted their sixth European Cup after the comeback victory, with captain Phillip Lahm ascending the stage last in his final appearance with the club. Thomas Muller, with one score and one assist, was named Man of the Match. Having won a second treble, the team was hailed as one of the best in German history, possibly better than the one that earned a treble in 2013. Carlo Ancelotti became the first manager in history to win four European Cups, and the first to win a European Cup with three different clubs. Lewandowski, who had four shots on goal in the game and provided a crucial assist on the game-winning goal, was the top scorer of the tournament, leading both in goals (12) and assists (12), and led the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal in 2016-17 with goals and assists in both categories as well. He was awarded the 2017 Ballon d'Or in January of 2018, the first Polish player to earn the honor.

The loss was bitter for Real Madrid, their second straight such defeat having lost the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final in Milan to arch-rivals Barcelona on penalty kicks. Manager Zidane was only kept on because of their victory in the 2016-17 La Liga, and it was suggested that the injury early on to captain and star defender Ramos was decisive in the late defensive lapses that led to the loss. Keeper Thibaut Courtois, in his first year with the club, bore derision from Madrista faithful for his late-game errors allowing Bayern to equalize and then win.

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