NEVER has a UEFA Super Cup often seen as a mere tin trinket in the calendar been so keenly contested.
In a game of twists and turns, Chelsea had victory snatched from them with the last kick of extra time, and then got beaten on penalties – the same way they beat the opposition for their greatest ever triumph.
The record will say it was Romelu Lukaku's (pic) penalty that decided this – the only one of 10 unconverted.
It was a poor kick and also a heavy burden for one so young, but the result of this epic was decided a lot earlier.
The dismissal five minutes from the end of normal time of Ramires, was something Chelsea brought upon themselves.
It forced them to play a defensive game characterised by the latter stages of their 2012 Champions League win – and Bayern proved a bit too smart on this occasion.
The other – a lapse that brought a 121 st minute equaliser – showed Jose Mourinho's ideal of defensive steel is lacking a bit of steel.
Before the match, almost prehistoric from the vantage point of the final result, there were questions about Jose Mournho selections, not least the benching of Juan Mata and Lukaku.
But mutterings were muted in the ninth minute, when Chelsea broke with a run from Eden Hazard.
He passed to Andre Schurrle, who squared to Fernando Torres - the number nine lifting his leg, almost in slow-motion, to put a great finish past Manuel Neuer.
Bayern were not without their chances as the half progressed: Franck Ribery going close with a series of shots from the right across the face of Petr Cech's goal.
But, more often than not, Pep Guardiola's side seemed to over-complicate their efforts at levelling.
For the main, it was Chelsea's speedy play on the break - and in particular Hazard and Schurrle's repeated runs - that caught the eye.
And, surely most heartening for Mourinho, was the presence of a Torres who looked much sharper than he has in quite some time.
Bayern were first out after the break – both literally and figuratively.
They surged forward and Ribery let rip with a strike of real quality that soared past Cech.
Chelsea underwent a prolonged anxious period: as Bayern piled on the pressure, and the cracks in Blues' defence started to appear - combined with that was the very apparent tiredness exhibited on the few occasions Chelsea went forward.
There could have been a breakthrough when Schurrle squared to Oscar in the box: the Brazilian's shot smothered by Neuer with Frank Lampard swiping over the rebound.
Ramires saw red for a lunge into the shins of Mario Gomez – few would argue.
And the game headed into extra time.
Shortly into the first added period, Hazard ran at the defence turning his man and shot past a dazed-looking Neuer.
Was the writing on the wall Eden Hazard at Eden Park? But there were further twists to come.
The rest of extra time was a heart-in-mouth affair.
Mario Mandzukic headed on goal in the second period – only for Cech to push it away.
Seconds later, in an almost identical move, Javi Martinez did the same – as did Cech.
The board went up: one minute remaining. Bayern gave it one last push.
Javi Martinez was the man who took it to penalties with that final kick of open play.
And, until Lukaku stepped up, none went astray.
Chelsea still look a work in progress. Some of their younger stars will have learned much from tonight.
But, lapses aside, this was a display of real character as a team.