It is a claim that has been much heard in recent days, yet it is as ludicrous as it is unfair on the participants who play out finals, semi-finals or whichever stage of a competition a team happens to find itself up against this Chelsea side, who for the next year can call themselves European champions.
Fate had no hand in what happened in Munich on Saturday night, but there was a curious dimension to the way events unfolded in the Allianz Arena, not least because it triggered an acute sense of deja vu. The best team doesn't always win and in the final analysis there can be no denying Roberto Di Matteo's side that accolade.
Those who had laboured their way through Chelsea's Champions League campaign from the quarter-final stage onwards knew it was coming. There was an inexorability about the fortunate manner in which Di Matteo's side had progressed to Europe's grandest stage.
They survived an onslaught at Napoli's San Paolo stadium, coming away with a 3-1 deficit when it might have been five or six, to overturn their Italian opponents at Stamford Bridge with a 4-1 win that sealed an aggregate victory, the margin of which had as much to do with Napoli's errant finishing as Chelsea's clinical edge.
In the two-legged semi-final against Barcelona, it became even more apparent that there was something almost metaphysical at work. Lionel Messi missed a penalty, chances were spurned from six yards, frameworks of goals were struck, goals were disallowed and a player, John Terry, was sent off.
For everything that went on in the Barcelona games, Saturday night in Munich was like watching a surreal rerun – equally bizarre close-up of a middle-aged woman repeatedly picking her nose aside. Chelsea played progressive football sporadically, just as they had against Barcelona. Where there was mitigation in Camp Nou due to Terry's dismissal, the same could not be said against a mediocre Bayern Munich against whom Chelsea endeavoured merely not to fall behind.
That they managed to score in one of those all-too-rare periods when they ventured forward spoke more of desperation at a critical juncture rather than any masterplan. Indeed, every available stat indicated this was the biggest 1-1 hammering for some time. Bayern, an imitation of that club's great sides, dominated possession 56%-44%, had 43 goal attempts to Chelsea's nine, and 20 corners to one. Chelsea, of course, scored from that solitary set-piece. But then football is not a sport in which the scoring system allows for territorial advantage to be rammed home such as it is in rugby, for example.
Where there was injustice on the field, it could be found off it too. There is something entirely unfair about an individual as objectionable as Terry being rewarded for the efforts of others as he has been since his dismissal against Barca. The contrast between Terry, dressed in full Chelsea kit, ascending the steps in Munich with the images of Manchester United's Roy Keane and Paul Scholes refusing to accept their medals in 1999 when defeating Bayern was marked but unsurprising. It said much about the characters involved and the techniques employed by the two managers who oversaw the respective wins over the German opponents. Which brings us to Di Matteo. The Italian has hardly effected revolutionary tactical or personnel changes at Chelsea. What he has done, though, is give the players their voice again. And they have spoken with undeniable clarity. Yet their subsequent actions on the football pitch served as a damning critique of a set of players who – clearly possessed of winning spirit in abundance – displayed utter contempt for Andre Villas-Boas, Di Matteo's predecessor, simply because they did not agree with his methods. The transient nature of modern football, though, tells us that these players will be forever lauded as legends.
There is no truck with the idea that Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba are world-class performers – Terry aside, they proved as much in the Munich cauldron, yet they are also an arrogant bunch who pick and choose the games in which they deem themselves worthy of effort. Who can forget the players pleading with Roman Abramovich to reinstate Jose Mourinho as manager earlier this season? Since the Portuguese departed in 2007, they have done for Villas-Boas, Luiz Felipe Scolari (a World Cup winner) and Carlo Ancelotti (a Champions League winner, and domestic double winner in his first season at the club).
When Terry gesticulated wildly and exhorted his team-mates to hold out after being substituted towards the end of the home leg against Napoli, the inference was clear. It was an act that would not have been tolerated under Villas-Boas and, on some simplistic level, appeared to undermine Di Matteo by hinting at who the real powerbrokers are at Stamford Bridge.
Di Matteo borrowed the worst of both Italian and English football, forging a blend of catenaccio and kick-and-rush to ensure his team won the cup or, at least, didn't lose it. All talk that he is some kind of tactical visionary must be seen for what it is: bluster and, at least in part, must be seen in the context of Chelsea's reluctance to offer him the job full-time.
Chelsea are not the first side to win the Champions League employing negative tactics and no doubt will not be the last, but they may be one of the most limited and unloved.
In no other competition in football, nay sport, does the defending champion qualify automatically, not even the World Cup which, nominally at least, is regarded as the pinnacle of tournament play. Why then should a Chelsea side that only bothered to turn up for three months of the season be rewarded for its inconsistency in the league – the divining tool in ascertaining European qualification – by securing a place in the Champions League for 2012/2013?
It speaks ill of UEFA, with its promises of a more egalitarian competition, that a team bankrolled by an oligarch now stands to earn upwards of £80m from winning a knockout competition that does not reflect league placings from the season just ended. The Champions League has always been a misnomer but Chelsea's place in it next season mocks the name further even if circumstance has now bestowed the very title of "champions" upon them.