The biggest club competition gets to its final stage and for all pundits around the world who were looking forward to an all Spanish Final, with another episode of the El Classico predicted for May 19th; unfortunately the two teams in today’s final deserve to be in this final and both have every right to believe they can win it.
We look at this epic encounter,but unlikely final; looking to pick out the key battles and where the game may be won or lost.
The Line Ups
Both teams will be missing very important players via suspensions; for me I think Chelsea are the worst hit, missing captain John Terry, Ramires (Chelsea’s player of the season in my opinion), Meireles and Ivanovic. Just checked whoscored.com and twitter, the story is that Bertrand (is Di Matteo looking to double team Bayern’s wingers?) will start a gamble as far as i am concerned; the blues will line up in their customary 4-3-3 formation as follows; Cech, Bosingwa, Cole, Luiz, Cahill, Lampard, Mikel, Essien, Mata, Kalou and Drogba.
Bayern have their own suspension problems as well with the dynamic and energetic Alaba missing, as well as Gustavo and Badstuber; Bayern will be weak defensively, but with that home crowd roaring them on, it may be a double edge sword. I expect Bayern to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation as follows; Neuer, Lahm, Contento, Boateng, Tymoshchuk, Kross, Schweinsteiger, Mueller, Robben, Ribery, Gomez.
Chelsea have shown that defensively they can operate as a unit especially with reference to their 180minutes of the great wall of china performance, my only worry is the partnership between David Luiz and Gary Cahill and how they will cope with Bayern’s forward dynamic play will be quite interesting especially with in form Mario Gomez leading the line. It will be a battle of the big men up front; who will take advantage of the following key battles will come out victorious.
Bayern’s wide men v Chelsea’s Full Backs
Bayern’s inverted wingers present Chelsea with a somewhat different specie of wide men; Ribery and Robben will run at you all day, inside and outside these guys will give Bosingwa and Cole a thing or two to think about. What’s interesting is the fact that as Bayern’s wingers get suck in, full backs like Lahm and Contento (Alaba) will present a 2 v 1 situation everytime Bayern come forward as well as providing additional width for the team. Bayern’s attacking play is quite dependent on how well the full backs and wingers work together.
Mikel v Mueller
A lot will depend on how well Mikel Obi picks the late runs into the box of Thomas Mueller; this is also a very important element of Bayern’s game plan. Mueller will look to run into any space provided by Gomez pulling Chelsea’s center backs with his runs and movement in the box. Mikel’s concentration has to be spot on as he will be expected to provide cover for the Chelsea Back four.
Drogba v Bayern’s Center Backs
Didier Drogba (the Elephant of Abidjan) is such a freak of nature, his strength and guile is second to none in the world of Football. Drogba is quite unplayable, he gives 110percent at all times; a lot will depend on how well Bayern’s center backs cope against the power play of Drogba. The Bavarians will have an unusual pairing in defense with the suspension of Badstuber; but i have always felt this is Bayern’s weak point. Drogba has demonstrated time and time again that he is at home with playing alone up front, as his performances against some of Europe’s top defenses.
Gomez v David Luiz
The big question on the night will be if the kid with the PlayStation 3 pad will still be grounded by his parents and allow David Luiz have a decent game. Mario Gomez has 11 goals in the UCL this season, his tally is only bettered by a certain Lionel Messi; his movement and timing of his run sets him apart as one of the inform strikers in the world. David Luiz is singled out in the Chelsea defense because of his desire to move forward with the ball at almost every invitation, this Gomez will be looking to exploit as Bayern are a strong counter attacking team.
Does Home advantage really matter?
Bayern play the final at their magnificent Allianz Arena; at home. Will they be nervous? Will they be comfortable? Will it add to the pressure? Well Bayern are very strong at home and will be filled with confidence and go for it from the blast of the whistle. Chelsea on the other hand i kinda expect to sit back and look to catch Bayern on the break. Will the occasion get the better of the Bavarians? Well, they’ve got to be massive favorites playing at home.
Both teams have been here before, but Bayern have not been in a situation like this of playing the final on their own ground. Losing the league and cup to young energetic Dortmund, is enough reason for Bayern to motivate themselves for this challenge. Chelsea have the small matter of needing to qualify for the UCL next season and the only way is to win tonight. As far as i am concerned; its been a successful season for Chelsea especially with the change of management, winning the F.A Cup and getting to the UCL final.
Something tells me it will be tighter than will think, but the home team look good enough to win it, but for Chelsea to win their first UCL Title, all their players must be leaders tonight and no silly nonsense (remember the Drogba slap on Vidic in 2008).
Result: Bayern to win 2-1 (hopefully i’d be right this time)