Manchester United's mission to reclaim the Champions League was fuelled by fate and a sense of destiny 50 years on from the Munich air disaster.
The events of 6 February 1958 provided the backdrop to a campaign that ended with the fitting drama of a penalty shoot-out victory as the skies opened over the Luzhniki Stadium in Russia's early hours.
United's march on Moscow gathered momentum as Sir Alex Ferguson's side showed a maturity and resilience that had undermined previous attempts to land the trophy they last won in 1999.
And the sense that this was always going to be United's year was strengthened as good fortune stayed by their side in a wonderful final against a Chelsea side that also contributed richly to this top-class advert for the Premier League.
It seemed United would not need to call on Lady Luck as they dazzled in the first 45 minutes, stretching Chelsea and carving out a succession of chances.
But Avram Grant's side never hide from any challenge, and United were hanging on at times after the break, benefitting as Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba struck the woodwork as Chelsea went in search of a winner.
England's top two sides fought out a compelling encounter that was settled on small details and a pitch that had dominated so much of the pre-match build-up.
John Terry slipped on the rain-sodden turf as he went to make contact with a penalty that could have taken the Champions League trophy to Stamford Bridge.
It struck the post and in that single moment the force was back with United.
There was irony in the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo was United's only failure in the shoot-out, stopping and starting in a fashion that betrayed his quality before seeing a desperately poor penalty saved by Petr Cech.
This was because Ronaldo's display made a nonsense of his dwindling band of critics who claim he does not deliver on the biggest stage.
Ronaldo not only headed his 42nd goal of the season, he ran Michael Essien ragged and it took Chelsea's powerhouse defender 45 minutes to gather his thoughts and even think of how he might stop the Portuguese winger.
Ferguson made short work of an inquistor who asked whether Ronaldo would leave Old Trafford this summer - and no wonder given what he and this side can achieve together.
United looked on the verge of greatness when they capped their treble-winning season of 1999 with the Champions League, and yet it took them another nine years to win it again.
It was a gaping hole in United's honours list, so can this side move on from Moscow to bring the Champions League to Old Trafford on a more regular basis?
Chelsea will rightly point to crucial moments in Wednesday's final, but over the whole tournament United have proved to be the best side in Europe.
And the foundations put in place by Ferguson, along with the evidence of their performances this season, suggest it will not be another nine years before United record their fourth triumph.
Ferguson has fused the experience of Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs on to world-class young players such as Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney.
He will undoubtedly spend again in the summer, with the trademark of any great manager being his ability to add quality from a position of strength.
And with the Premier League title and the Champions League their haul for this season, United have rarely looked stronger in the Ferguson era.