• Simeone: "We played against the best opponents that I've played in my whole career today".
  • Guardiola proud of players despite defeat.
  • Bayern fall at semi-final stage for third year running.

Club Atletico de Madrid coach Diego Simeone praised FC Bayern München as "the best opponents" he had ever faced after the Spanish side reached the UEFA Champions League final on away goals at the expense of Pep Guardiola’s cohort.

Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Atletico were under the cosh after half an hour at the Allianz Arena when Xabi Alonso's deflected free-kick levelled the tie on aggregate. Visiting goalkeeper Jan Oblak then threw his side a lifeline when he saved Thomas Müller's penalty in the 34th minute, a let-off which the Spaniards capitalised upon when Antoine Griezmann scored a crucial away goal eight minutes into the second period.

Robert Lewandowski restored Bayern's lead on the night with 16 minutes remaining, but Guardiola's troops were unable to find what would have been a winning goal, while Manuel Neuer was forced to save Fernando Torres’ penalty with six minutes left on the clock.

Xabi Alonso (l.) put Bayern ahead on the half-hour mark with a free-kick.

"We played against the best opponents that I've played in my whole career today," said Simeone after the game. "But I also loved our performance, because my team played very well. We coped with the huge pressure they put on us and managed to score. It was very difficult, and it's unbelievable what we've achieved. We have now knocked out two of the best three teams in Europe."

Diego Simeone has led Atletico to the Champions League final in two of the past three seasons. © gettyimages / Hangst

For his part, Guardiola - who has seen his side fall at the semi-final stage of the competition to Spanish opposition in each of the last three seasons - expressed his pride at his players' efforts. "Congratulations to Atletico. That was a great game of football for fans here in Munich and all over Europe," he said. "We gave everything and I'm proud of my players. This club has a great future, although of course I'm sad for my players. On the other hand I'm pleased with how we played and very proud. We're still not Bundesliga champions and I hope we manage that on Saturday.

"Of course I wanted to win the Champions League here. That was my aim and we gave it everything. We played as well as we could and I’m very pleased with my time here. I’ve given my life to this club and I’ve really enjoyed it. Of course now we want to win the DFB Cup, but whether we lift it or not, it won’t change how I judge my time here. Trophies are just statistics."

Guardiola: "Trophies are just statistics" © gettyimages / Matthias Hangst/Bongarts