It’s not quite what we expected. Bayern Munich edged past Real Madrid in a penalty shoot-out of epically comic proportions, and Chelsea saw off Barcelona in an incredible encounter at the Camp Nou. Now, the teams that beat arguably the best club sides in world football meet at the Allianz Arena in Munich, where Bayern will look to draw level with Liverpool on European Cups won, and Chelsea are after their first. Roberto Di Matteo has seen his side to a sixth-place finish in the league, but that matters little: if Chelsea win tonight, Tottenham, despite snatching fourth, will not qualify for the Champions League. The match has been overshadowed somewhat by the suspensions of key players on either side, and a refusal by UEFA to adapt the rules of the competition means that Terry, Badstuber, Ramires, Alaba, Ivanovic, Gustavo and Meireles all sit this one out. Bayern are regarded as favourites to lift the cup in their home stadium, but Chelsea pose a threat as underdogs, and have overcome greater obstacles on their way to this final. It promises to be a fascinating encounter.
Some of the writers at AFR, alongside a selection of talented bloggers have put their heads on the chopping block, and share their predictions for the final with you here.
Firstly, we need to forget the score in the DFB-Pokal from earlier in the week, where Borussia Dormund beat Bayern 5-2. There appears to be only one side in European football at the moment that has repeatedly proven themselves capable of handling Robben, Ribery and friends, and that’s Dortmund. Luckily for Bayern, it’s Chelsea they’ll be playing in the final, and although Roberto Di Matteo has turned the Blues’ season spectacularly around, it’s hard to look past some of the incredible fortune that they’ve enjoyed over the last couple of months. Bayern players and fans are running scared of a dangerous Dider Drogba, but a tendency to condense play when up against arguably superior opposition will hurt Chelsea: Bayern’s wingers will revel in any given space (though I don’t think either will score). Lahm, too, should be threatening in attack. I’d expect to see Mario Gomez’s name on the scoresheet – he’s scored every 96 minutes in the Champions League this season, so Chelsea will be hoping that there’s not too much injury-time (I know that’s not how it works).
That said, the llama backed Chelsea.
Mohamed Moallim, Bayern Munich 3-1 Chelsea
Despite their woeful defensive performance against Borussia Dortmund, much of it self-inflicted, Bayern I feel will triumph. Chelsea doesn’t play with the same intensity and dynamism as Jürgen Klopp’s side so will have to trouble Bayern in another way. The absence of Ramires could be pivotal. The German side have their own concerns: no Holger Badstuber, Luiz Gustavo (who didn’t exactly cover himself in glory against BVB) and David Alaba - harshly yellow carded against Real Madrid. So, attack will be the best form of defence for Jupp Heynckes; this is where Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry come into play. The two I feel will win the game. Ashley Cole against the Frenchman will be an early taste of their potential duel in Donetsk, the dynamic duo often swaps flanks, which means an evening José Bosingwa cannot afford to be lackadaisical. Or it will be nighttime Robbery.
Obviously anything can happen in a one-off match (literally anything), but I really think Bayern will cruise to victory in this one. Chelsea have relied on all their experience, pluck and rat cunning to make it this far, but winning the final is just a bit beyond their limitations, especially considering the players they will be missing. I expect Bayern to come out all guns blazing and take an early lead through Mario Gomez. From that point on, Chelsea will be forced to come at them, and Bayern will be able to pick them off on the counter. Ribery and Robben to pick up a goal each to seal a comfortable 3-0 win for the Germans.
Why, exactly, are we going with the Germans when there’s a talented English team for us to support? Simply put, one is easier to get behind than the other. Ba-dum-cha! But seriously, both teams will be rocking adidas kits for the final, so there’s bound to be some supremely awesome short tent sightings throughout Saturday’s 90 minutes of play. Which makes us and our readers the real winners here.
Kyle Elliot, footy-boots.com, Bayern 2-1 Chelsea
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