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Soccer Champions League

So Nobody Minds that Munich Advanced Only on Penalties, then?

“Am I a good person?” David Foster Wallace once asked, continuing: “Deep down, do I even really want to be a good person, or do I only want to seem like a good person so that people (including myself) will approve of me? Is there a difference? How do I ever actually know whether I’m bullshitting myself, morally speaking?”

I’m applying the same litmus test to my own questioning of Bayern Munich’s “deserved” win over my team (full disclosure), Real Madrid (pronounced ray-AHL ma-DRID, people, not REE-al or reel—and since this parenthetical is already over-the-top pretentious, I’ll just go for it: it’s best said as ma-DREETH, but not using the affected royal Castilian could be easily forgiven). Yes, it’s paltry and, well, predictable that someone whose favorite team lost would cling with entrenched fingernails to any shred of evidence, credible or not, that they were somehow wronged or that it wasn’t actually about the team’s performance. And I don’t mean to do that. Munich won. They move on. Football is a cruel and unusual sport. Anything can and does happen, and that’s why it’s worth watching.

However, I can’t get over the nagging feeling that this game should have an asterisk beside it. Munich’s only goal in regulation was a penalty kick—for what I can tell is maybe a foul (none of the footage I’ve watched offers anything in the form of a replay). Sure, knowing Pepe, it was most likely a foul. But most likely is not definitive, and that penalty gave Munich a precious away goal. Even if you consider the penalty to be fairly given (I’m not so convinced, but my bias is clearly disclosed, remember?), the fact remains that Munich advanced only on penalty kicks. Nobody seems to be mentioning this usually trumpeted fact. Why?

I’m not saying that this result is controversial; the game has to be decided somehow, and Madrid could just as well have won in extra time or in the shootout (as Homer Simpson once said, Ronal-d’oh!). All I’m saying is that it’s a shame that a team has advanced only on penalties, when the stakes are so high and away goals are more valuable than gold. It just seems like this tidbit should be mentioned, no? Just me, then? Tough room…