(CNN) -- Didier Drogba scored the winner in a dramatic penalty shoot out as Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on Saturday to win the European Champions League for the first time.
The Ivorian striker coolly slotted home his kick to spark frenzied celebrations among his teammates and the Chelsea fans in Bayern's Allianz Arena.
Manuel Neuer had saved Juan Mata's first penalty for Chelsea to give Bayern the early advantage in the shootout, but Petr Cech saved a weak Ivica Olic effort before Bastian Schweinsteiger saw his penalty hit the post.
The match had finished 1-1 after extra time, with Thomas Mueller putting Bayern ahead in the 83rd minute before Drogba dramatically leveled with two minutes remaining.
Arjen Robben then missed a penalty in the first half of extra time, setting up the dramatic shootout finale where the home side fluffed their lines to leave the Bavarian fans stunned.
Chelsea's victory capped a remarkable spell for Roberto Di Matteo since taking over as interim manager after the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas.
He has led the west London side to the English FA Cup and finally fulfilled the ambitions of the club's Russian owner Roman Abramovich in lifting Europe's top club prize.
Abramovich has ploughed an estimated $1 billion into buying the players to turn Chelsea into a European power since buying the club in 2003 and gone through eight managers in that time, but the closest he had come to the Champions League was a penalty shoot out loss to Manchester United in 2008.
In the end, it was temporary option Di Matteo who delivered the famous trophy, and despite also guiding the team to FA Cup glory, the Italian coach must wait to find out if he will be appointed on a permanent basis.
John Terry, suspended for the final after being sent off in the semifinal win over Barcelona, changed into his kit after the final whistle and collected the trophy from UEFA president Michel Platini with Frank Lampard, who was captain on the night.
Lampard paid tribute to Drogba, whose goal rescued them in normal time before he applied the finishing touches to their triumph.
"I can't believe it. The determination we've shown... we didn't play fantastic but the main man Didier dug us out of trouble there," he told ITV Sport.
"He's a hero. Without him we're not here. He scores the goals in the big games."
That could be the Ivorian's last big goal for the club though. Drogba, an early arrival under Abramovich's ownership for £24 million ($38 million), is out of contract this summer and rumored to be considering a move to Chinese club.
Playing in front of a crowd of 66,000, Bayern had always been the more threatening side throughout the match without carving out a string of clear cut chances.
Their best opportunities in the first half saw a shot from Robben deflected on to his own woodwork by Cech while Bayern's top scorer Mario Gomez fired over just before the interval.
Salomon Kalou's effort, pushed aside by Manuel Neuer, was the sole Chelsea effort of note.
The second half followed the same pattern and just after the break Bayern had the ball in the net through Franck Ribery, but it was ruled out for offside.
Bayern's pressure finally paid off with seven minutes to go as Toni Kroos crossed for German international midfielder Mueller to head past Cech.
It looked all over for Chelsea but their never say die attitude, so evident in the semifinal win over Barcelona, came to the fore again.
Winning their first corner with only two minutes of normal time remaining, Mata's perfect delivery was met by Drogba to head home at the near post.
It was his 34th goal in the Champions League and surely never more crucial.
Into extra time and another dramatic twist as goal hero Drogba tripped Ribery to concede a penalty, injuring the French international who played no further part in the final.
Robben, playing against his old club, stepped up after a considerable delay and his weak effort was saved by Cech.
Ribery's replacement Olic wasted another glorious opportunity in the second half of extra time, caught in two minds after a Philipp Lahm cross.
It summed up a frustrating night for Bayern and their coach Jupp Heynckes, who said they paid for their failure to kill off Chelsea.
"We missed too many chances," Heynckes told AFP. "We played well overall and had the majority of possession.
"But we didn't know how to exploit our many opportunities and you have to use them or you will be punished."
Bayern had been bidding to win the Champions League for the fifth time.