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Bayern Munich Vs. Chelsea, 2012 UEFA Champions League Final: How Bayern Got Here

Bayern had to take a somewhat longer route to the final than their opponents this Saturday having entered in the final qualifying stage, where they took on Grasshopper Zurich.

The Germans didn't mess around with the Swiss side, beating them comfortably 3-0 on aggregate. Goals form Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben gave them a 2-0 home win, while in the return leg in Zurich, Mario Gomez' solitary goal was enough to see them move into the competition proper, and be drawn in what many people labelled the "group of death" with Manchester City, Villarreal and Napoli.

Things started well for Bayern in the group as they went to Spain to face Villarreal on the opening matchday, and came away with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Toni Kroos and Rafinha.

Next up for them was a home tie with Manchester City. Despite their dominance at home, City were actually the bottom seed in the group, proving just how much of a task it would be for Bayern to qualify. Mario Gomez put the Citizens to the sword with two goals late in the first half, sealing a 2-0 victory to cap a dominant display.

Things veered slightly off course when Bayern visited the San Paolo to face Napoli on matchday three. Toni Kroos gave the visitors the lead after just 2 minutes, however Christian Maggio's cross was turned into the net by Holger Badstuber. Including league form, this was the first goal Bayern had conceded in over 1100 minutes play. The game ended 1-1 after Mario Gomez saw a second half penalty saved by Morgan De Sanctis.

In Novembers return game between the two, Gomez atoned for his penalty miss by hitting a hattrick against the Italians in a 3-2 win at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern were at home again on matchday five where they faced Villarreal, who at this stage were already down and out of the tournament, without any points to their name. The Bavarian side took care of them comfortably with a 3-1 win, Franck Ribery bagging two goals, with goalscoring-machine Mario Gomez nabbing the other.

With qualification and first place in Group A sealed, Bayern travelled to Manchester to take on City again. Coach Jupp Heynckes made seven changes from the club's previous league outing, and the second XI were beaten comfortably 2-0 by City in what was the club's only group stage defeat.

After conquering what was the toughest group in the tournament with relative ease, Bayern set up knockout stage game with FC Basel, which on paper sounds a relatively easy task, but the Swiss side had got out of their group against the odds, and taken four points from Manchester United to send them out of the competition.

Bayern were shocked by Valentin Stocker's 86th minute goal after the German side hit the woodwork twice earlier in the game, leaving them with work to do in the return game a month later.

Bayern came back from the one goal deficit in devastating fashion, thumping Basel 7-0 at the Allianz Arena. Arjen Robben opened the scoring after just 11 minutes, followed by Thomas Muller doubling the lead shortly before half time. Mario Gomez added to his incredible haul in Europe this season by adding four unanswered goals in 23 minutes either side of half time, while Robben added a seventh as the game drew to a close.

This set up a quarterfinal with Marseille. It's noted that French sides tend to panic once they reach the latter stages of the competition, and Bayern certainly didn't have too much problem with them, beating them 2-0 in both legs for a 4-0 aggregate win, but a tougher test was in store for Bayern in the semifinals, where Real Madrid lay in wait.

Bayern enjoyed the better of the first half of the first leg, capped by Franck Ribery's opening goal. The visiting side however grew in confidence in the second period, and equalized when Mesut Ozil, on his return to German soil, turned in Cristiano Ronaldo's low cross. The Germans would enjoy the last laugh however when in the dying moments of the game, Mario Gomez grabbed the winner, turning in a Philipp Lahm cross, and edging the side closer to a home final.

At the Bernabeu though, all the good work of the first leg seemed to be undone when a double from Cristiano Ronaldo inside the opening 15 minutes game Madrid a 3-2 aggregate lead, but after half an hour, things were level on aggregate when Arjen Robben converted a penalty.

An end to end encounter couldn't be won by either side following another hour and half football, leaving it down to the lottery of a penalty shootout.

Manuel Neuer was the hero of the hour, making incredible saves from Ronaldo and Kaka while David Alaba and Mario Gomez both scored for Bayern. Just when it seemed they were in control, Iker Casillas denied Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm to set up a tense sudden-death decider. Spanish international defender Sergio Ramos blazed over the bar, while Bastian Schweinsteiger slammed past Casillas to send Bayern back home to Munich elated, and looking forward to a potential Champions League win in their own stadium.

Much like their opponents though, they will be without a few players in the final as David Alaba, Luiz Gustavo and Holger Badstuber all picked up crucial second bookings in the competition, but they'll be hoping that doesn't stop them claiming their first European title since 2001.

We'll have updates throughout the week in our 2012 UEFA Champions League Final StoryStream. For more on Bayern, head over to Bayern Munich blog Bavarian Football Works. For more on the Blues, check out Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.