Stoppage Time: A night of redemption for Drogba, Chelsea

Four year ago in Moscow Chelsea came within inches of lifting its first Champions League title, only for John Terry's penalty kick to crash off the post.

The Blues lost the shootout that night to Manchester United, and have spent the past four years trying to get back to the biggest stage in European club football.

Terry's miss was very visible that night, but Didier Drogba had to shoulder some of the blame as he was sent off in extra time for foolishly slapping United defender Nemanja Vidic.

The red card robbed Chelsea of one of its best penalty takers, and who knows how the outcome of the shootout could have been altered.

Terry had no shot at redemption in Germany on Saturday because he was suspended for the final, but Drogba certainly made the most of his chance.

With Chelsea trailing 1-0 to a Thomas Muller goal in the 83rd minute, the English side won its first corner kick of the match two minutes from time.

Juan Mata swung the ball into the box and Drogba got up to head home an unlikely equalizer, handing his team a lifeline and taking the air out of the mostly pro-Bayern crowd.

But that is where things got a little too familiar for the striker.

No, Drogba didn't get sent off this time, but a lazy tackle on Bayern's Franck Ribery inside the penalty area handed Arjen Robben a penalty kick in extra time that potentially could have decided the match.

Drogba very easily could have gone from hero to villain in an instant, but he was bailed out by goalkeeper Petr Cech, who saved Robben's spot kick to keep the game level.

As the match entered penalty kicks, Chelsea players had to be fighting the demons from four years ago, knowing how crushing it was to lose out on the title when it was so close.

When Mata missed Chelsea's first kick after Bayern had scored, surely Chelsea's luck had run out.

But after three successful attempts from the spot and Cech coming up with a pair of crucial stops, it was all down to Drogba.

In 2008, Terry sent United goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar the wrong way, only for the ball to smack the woodwork.

On Saturday, Drogba had Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer guessing incorrectly, only this time the ball hit the net.

Chelsea has reached the knockout round of the Champions League in every season since owner Roman Abramovich took over as owner of the club in June 2003, but it would be hard to argue that this is the best of those Chelsea sides.

With an interim manager in Roberto Di Matteo and key players like John Terry, Ramires, Raul Meireles and Branislav Ivanovic suspended, Chelsea entered Saturday's match as underdogs playing on Bayern's home field.

And while the contest wasn't always pretty, Chelsea executed its game plan, made the most of the few chances it had, and got a big effort from Drogba, who surely vanquished the bitter memories from Moscow four years ago along with the rest of the Chelsea side.

"They never give up until the end. This team is amazing," Drogba said of his teammates on ITV. "It was written, I think, a long time ago."

Chelsea's run through the knockout round does seem to have been scripted with the Blues overcoming a 3-1 first-leg deficit against Napoli in the round of 16 to win 4-1 in extra time at Stamford Bridge in the second leg.

After dispatching Benfica in the quarterfinals, Chelsea then beat defending champions Barcelona 1-0 in the first leg of the semifinals.

But it took one of the more stunning results in European football history for the Blues to reach Munich as Chelsea came from two goals down with 10 men to earn a 2-2 draw and book its place in the final.

Chelsea wasn't expected to produce the type of rally to beat Napoli, while the Barcelona result was truly something extraordinary.

It looked like Chelsea had run out of magic on Saturday when Muller scored in the 83rd minute, but the Blues had one more great escape in them.

Drogba put the club on his back and carried it into extra time, then nearly gave it away with a silly foul.

But with the chips on the table, Drogba stepped up and did what Terry couldn't do four years ago.

He held his nerve and converted the penalty kick, securing Chelsea's place in history and gaining a measure of redemption for not only himself, but his team as well.