Created on 24-05-2013 at 00:00 AM
Pele once called it “a cathedral of football," England World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore said it was “the Mecca of all stadiums," and global star David Beckham declared: “Every little kid wants to play at Wembley. To me, it's the ultimate stadium." The world-famous ground has a special place in people's hearts, as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair once said.
On Saturday, the arena in London enters the history books once again. For the first time ever, the UEFA Champions League final is an all-German affair. “A Champions League final is what you work towards. There's nothing bigger in club football for every player. And the final is at Wembley this year, so it couldn't be better," said former Germany defender Thomas Helmer, who played for both FCB and BVB in his time.
Where legends are born
There can be few other locations in the world of football where the phrase “sacred turf" has more meaning. The original stadium opened in 1923, when an estimated 193,000 fans watched the FA Cup final between Bolton and West Ham. Since then, the ground has become the stuff of legends.
In 1953, Hungary's exceptional team became the first non-home nation to win on English soil in a revelatory 6-3 triumph. In the 1966 World Cup final, Geoff Hurst scored one of the most famous goals in the history of the game, the subject of debate for generations, and probably for generations to come. In 1972, arguably the best Germany team of all time defeated England 3-1 in a European championship quarter-final. And in October 2000, the Germans won the farewell match at the “old" Wembley 1-0 with a goal from former FCB midfielder Dietmar Hamann.
A new shape to the landmark
In 2002, the venerable stadium with its trademark twin towers was demolished and replaced with a new, state-of-the-art arena. The towers gave way to The Arch, a 133 metre tall steel construction and a new landmark for the site. But despite the total reconstruction, the legend remains.
In 2007, it was again the Germans who handed England their first defeat at the new ground in a 2-1 victory. And now, six years later, it will be a German team which collects Europe's premier club prize, ironically enough in the English Football Association's 150th anniversary year.
A good day to write history
“Today is a good day to write history," read the choreographed message put up by the Bayern supporters 12 years ago when FCB last claimed the European crown. On Saturday, Wembley will play host to another history-making event, and there can surely be no better location for it.