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Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
Kahn joins shoot-out legends
By BBC Sport Online's Andrew Warshaw
What makes a memorable save, the kind of reaction stop that clutches victory from the jaws of defeat and has spectators gasping with disbelief?
The debate is re-ignited every time someone, somewhere defies the laws of gravity as Oliver Kahn did with his heart-stopping second save in the nail-biting shoot-out that defined Wednesday's Champions League final.
As Bayern Munich celebrated long into the night after finally re-capturing Europe's premier trophy after 25 years, Kahn was being hailed as the best keeper in the world.
His virtuoso solo performance sent the Bavarian thousands wild at the San Siro and broke the hearts of Valencia's valiant but vanquished players.
In a game dominated by spot-kicks, Kahn will go down in history as the man who single-handedly buried the memory of that gut-wrenching defeat by Manchester United two years ago.
In doing so, he added his name to an elite group of keepers who have taken on legendary status for their specialist shoot-out skills.
Who can forget Bruce Grobbelaar's unconventional antics at the end of the 1984 European Cup final in Rome?
The former Liverpool favourite may now be fighting a series of bribery allegations but back then he became an overnight hero.
Every keeper has a different strategy when it comes to psyching himself up for shoot-outs.
Grobbelaar's way of making sure the cup went to Liverpool with seemingly whole of Rome against him was to use all the kidology at his disposal.
Seminal display for France
Never will his wobbly knees rendition along the Liverpool goal-line that night be forgotten.
David Seaman chose more conventional ways of standing up to the pressure.
The veteran Arsenal keeper will always be remembered for keeping England in the competition at Euro 96.
Seaman has never been prepared to discuss his shoot-out technique but had the uncanny ability to win the mental war, typified by the way he kept out Spain's sharpshooters in the quarter-finals on that summer's day five years ago.
Perhaps the best shoot-out specialist of all was French international Joel Bats, best remembered for his seminal goalkeeping display at the 1986 World Cup.
Having already ousted the holders Italy, France broke the hearts of Brazil in Guadalajara in one of the greatest matches of all time.
Tele Santana's Brazilians twice hit the woodwork and frequently overran Michel Platini and his French side.
But it was Bats who saved the day, following up his penalty save in normal time with a virtuoso show in the subsequent shoot-out to send his team into the semi-finals.
Many will argue, rightly, that luck is the main ingredient. Shoot-out experts are necessarily excellent shot-stoppers but not always the best at their unique art.
Gordon Banks in the 1970 World Cup, Jim Montgomery at Wembley in 1973 FA Cup final, Pat Jennings and Peter Schmeichel.
All made their name making sensational saves in open play at vital moments.
But shoot-outs, whether you love them or loathe them, have made heroes out of previously unheralded keepers. Men who stood up to the task and will remembered for nothing else.
Like Tony Parkes. He was the reserve at Tottenham when his nerve held in the 1984 Uefa Cup final against Anderlecht that went to penalties after a 2-2 aggregate scoreline.
Then there was the Yugoslav Sasa Ilic, never regarded as a class act but who will always have special place in the hearts and minds of Charlton fans.
It was Ilic whose memorable shoot-out saves catapulted Charlton into the Premiership at Sunderland's expense in the play-offs at Wembley a couple of seasons ago.
Now Kahn has joined the list of shoot-out legends. He was, according to his club, the best in the world even before his match-winning saves in the San Siro.
Now, no-one can doubt it.
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