MUNICH, GERMANY - MAY 19: Franck Ribery of FC Bayern Muenchen reacts during UEFA Champions League Final between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea at the Fussball Arena München on May 19, 2012 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Dear Bayern Munich and fans,
This letter isn't meant to be patronising. I'm thrilled to finally see Chelsea lift this trophy, of course, and I'm not going to be ashamed of that. But I find myself feeling sad it was you we beat to get there. Blues fans know as much as anyone the pain of coming so close and not making it - not two final losses in three years, but our litany of failure in the Champions League has been something approximating magnificent since 2003 - and I'm not sure I'd wish that upon my worst enemy, let alone you guys.
Because, really, Bayern Munich are awesome. We've faced all sorts of teams this season, ranging from the eminently likeable (Napoli) to to the curiously deluded (Benfica) the objectively malevolent (Barcelona). Bayern have to be the most compelling combination of likeability, talent and playing style we've come across this year in any competition. Seeing some teams lose is funny. Seeing the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer devastated is not.
I doubt this will cheer y'all up that much, of course, and it's easy to say something like this when your team has finally broken their duck. But it's pretty clear that Bayern are a great organisation with exquisite talent and an exceptionally bright future, and there'll some a time where you can shrug 2012 (and 2010) off as something that just doesn't matter anymore. Bayern will win this thing again, and I doubt it'll take very long.