The 2002 UEFA Champions League final served as the culmination of the exhilarating 2001-02 season, pitting German challengers Bayer Leverkusen against the Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid at the iconic Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on the 15th of May 2002. Leverkusen, making their inaugural appearance in the final, faced the formidable Real Madrid, a seasoned contender making their impressive 12th final appearance.
The road to the final demanded arduous determination, with both clubs surmounting challenging obstacles, navigating through the rigorous two group stages and two knockout rounds. Real Madrid showcased their mettle, emerging as group winners in both stages, successfully overcoming fierce competition from the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona. Bayer Leverkusen demonstrated their tenacity, securing their spot in the final after a hard-fought journey, including notable victories over formidable adversaries like Liverpool and Manchester United.
The highly anticipated final commenced with a poignant moment of silence, paying tribute to the esteemed Ukrainian manager Valeriy Lobanovskyi, who had recently passed away.
Real Madrid entered the match as the favored side, quickly asserting their dominance with an early goal by the prolific Raúl in the eighth minute. However, Bayer Leverkusen swiftly retaliated, with Lúcio notching the equalizer a mere five minutes later. As the tension escalated, the defining moment arrived on the cusp of halftime, when Zinedine Zidane etched his name in football history, delivering an unforgettable left-footed volley that soared into the top corner of the net. Zidane’s extraordinary strike, now celebrated as one of the most remarkable goals in the annals of the competition, secured Real Madrid their ninth esteemed European Cup triumph.
The electric atmosphere at Hampden Park was witnessed by a crowd of 50,499 eager spectators, as the legendary Swiss referee, Urs Meier, oversaw the riveting showdown between the two football titans. The 2002 UEFA Champions League final remains etched in memory as a testament to the spirit of unwavering perseverance, the exhilarating spectacle of world-class football, and the defining moments that continue to shape the rich tapestry of the sport.