Chelsea, fresh from their Champions League win over Bayern Munich, have been treated to an open-bus hero's welcome by fans in London. In Munich, devastated Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said his team would recover.
Tens of thousands of Chelsea fans lined west London streets on Sunday to welcome home the club's first ever capture of Europe's biggest soccer prize. The crowd roared in delight as their Ivorian hero Didier Drogba held aloft the trophy.
Drogba, who kicked the 90th minute equalizer and then a deciding spot-kick in extra time, was flanked by goalkeeper Petr Cech, who got equal acclaim for saving two crucial penalties in Munich's own stadium on Saturday.
Midfielder Frank Lampard, who captained Chelsea's win, told the crowd: "We've been here a long time waiting to win this thing!"
Cameron hugged Merkel
British newspapers also showered praise on Chelsea's Italian interim manager Roberto di Matteo and Russian owner Roman Abramovich, who pumped a fortune into the club, including 24 million pounds for Drogba's signing eight years ago.
The Sunday Telegraph blared: "At last! Chelsea conquer Europe. The Sun on Sunday proclaimed: Bluetiful! Chelsea beat the Germans … on penalties." Blues is the nickname for the club.
British Prime Minister David Cameron had watched the League final with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the G8 summit at Camp David.
"It's not often you get the opportunity to watch a penalty shootout between an English team and a German team and watch the English team win," Cameron said.
"We did hug and make up afterwards," he added.
Postmortem in Munich
In Munich, sporting director Christian Nerlinger said Saturday's loss in Bayern's own stadium was "not something you can put behind in one night."
"It's a defeat that will follow us because we missed a historic chance," Nerlinger said.
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness referred to Bayern's 20-to-one corner advantage during the league final and said he could not accept "being second all the time."
In the Bundesliga season just finished Bayern was left in second place to 2012 German champions Borussia Dortmund.
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said Saturday's home defeat was "even worse, more brutal than the 1999 loss to Manchester United" in that year's Champion League final played in Barcelona.
Captain Philipp Lahm at Bayern's Saturday night banquet-turned-postmortem predicted that his team would bounce back.
"We are still at a very good age. And we are even hungrier now," Lahm said.
German trainer Löw circumspect
From a partly assembled German training camp at Tourrettes in southern France, Germany's national coach Joachim Löw said the Bayern players would after a few days "pick themselves up."
"They reached the final and were the better team. There's no reason for them to doubt their own qualities," Löw told German ARD public television in a reference to Bayern's missed opportunities, especially the penalty kick shot by Sebastian Schweinsteiger that missed.
Bayern's eight German international players join up with Löws provisional 27-man squad later this week as Germany prepares for the Euro 2012 football series being hosted by Poland and Ukraine from June 8.
ipj/ng (dpa, sid, AFP, Reuters)