Barcelona last night; Madrid tonight. Two incredible semi-finals have seen off two Spanish clubs. In 24 hours, the dream of an all-Spanish final dissolved in dramatic fashion. So too did José Mourinho's hopes of becoming the first coach to win the European Cup with three different clubs. There will be other opportunities but just days after all but securing the league title in a fourth different country, he will have to wait. Instead, it is Bayern Munich who face Chelsea – at home. Bastian Schweinsteiger scored the decisive penalty in a shootout that took Bayern through 3-3 on aggregate and 3-1 on penalties.
The night's first goal had come in the sixth minute; its last arrived, from the spot, more than two hours later. In the meantime, the game swung back and forth. Twice Manuel Neuer saved penalties from two of the world's most expensive players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaká. Iker Casillas did likewise but then Sergio Ramos smashed his over the bar, leaving Schweinsteiger to take Bayern to a final against Chelsea at the Allianz Arena. But that night they will be without David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luiz Gustavo.
Ronaldo's evening ended with a missed penalty, but it started with a successful one. Angel Di María received a diagonal ball floated towards the right side of the area and he took it on the volley, first time. It struck the arm of Alaba, sliding in to block, and Ronaldo converted from the spot. Madrid were one up already and it was not even their first chance. That had come in the third minute when Xabi Alonso's wonderful long diagonal ball travelled from left to right and Di María brought it down and pulled it back for Sami Khedira. The German's shot, from the corner of the six-yard box, was tame.
Mourinho had insisted before the game that he expected Bayern to attack because they would anticipate a Madrid goal; now they had to. This was the genesis of a brilliant first half: fast, open, and full of chances. Robben somehow put the ball over the bar from three yards, Mario Gomez's shot was saved by Casillas and Franck Ribéry was blocked by Khedira. In the blink of an eye, Madrid were two up. Mesut Ozil found Ronaldo in the area and he struck a shot low past Neuer. It was his 10th Champions League goal of the season, his 56th overall.
It was all over, or so it seemed, but Bayern responded well. Robben, Gomez and Gustavo all had efforts before Toni Kroos, always playing with dangerous intent, crossed from the right; Gomez was bearing down on goal and Pepe was bearing down on him. Viktor Kassai, the Hungarian referee, paused and pointed to the spot for the second time. Robben's penalty was so well placed that it sneaked in despite Casillas's guessing right and almost reaching his own post.
The tie was level, the game was open. Breathless. There was space and there were chances, the noise was ear-shattering. Both sides pressured high, running at each other, trading blows. It was Bayern who were landing marginally more of them, and Gomez missed the half's best chance when Kroos cut a clever ball into his path; one on one with Casillas, he hit the goalkeeper's body. Right on the stroke of half-time there was another chance and another Casillas save, as Robben was felled on the edge of the area and struck a free-kick which the goalkeeper managed to push away.
The pattern continued in the second half. Ribéry was caught by Alvaro Arbeloa as he threatened to get away up the left wing and into the wide space behind. He and Robben frightened Madrid every time they ran at them and it continued to be Bayern, pressing hard, pushing Madrid deep, that had more of the ball. Twice shots were charged down on the edge of the Madrid area, and Gomez glanced a header wide.
Some of the Germans' play was wonderful: the touch and interchange, always at pace, always with intent, concerned the home side. Madrid's menace is always present, but Bayern's confidence refused to drop as the game headed to extra time, though the number of clear chances being created was dropping.
Such was their haste to keep the pressure on that Philipp Lahm continued to overlap and Neuer found himself trying to hurry a reluctant ballboy. Both sides were aware now that any goal was likely to be decisive and that a Bayern goal almost certainly would be. Kaká came on to help Madrid seek it but Jupp Heynckes's side did not desist. Then, in the 85th minute, Robben turned inside and found Gomez eight yards out, but he hesitated and was crowded out. He had been in a similar position just a minute before but, denied space, had been reduced to appealing for a penalty.
Two more runs, from Robben and Ronaldo, came to nothing. There would be 30 minutes more of this enthralling game, but no goal was forthcoming. The chants of "Iker! Iker!" went around towards the end. It was time for penalties; time for the goalkeepers to take centre stage.
Both men would play their part. So too did Ramos and Schweinsteiger. The Bernabéu gave Madrid a huge round of applause at the end, but it is Bayern who reached the final.