Finally we have arrived at the moment when the long awaited match arrives! The 2012 Champions League final promises to be intriguing with Bayern Munchen hosting Chelsea on their own ground.
For Bayern, Daniel Van Buyten has returned from injury. There are not any other worries for Bayern as of this point. Holger Badstuber, Luiz Gustavo and David Alaba are suspended for this match. For Chelsea, Gary Cahill and David Luiz are presumed fit. They failed to feature in Chelsea’s last match against Blackburn. Perhaps Roberto Di Matteo will need to wait till the final minute to determine whether he can field those two players. Florent Malouda is doubtful due with a hamstring problem. John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Raul Meireles and Ramires are suspended.
Bayern lack a Plan B. They’ve played with two slightly different approaches this season. In the first half of the season, they had less possession but played with a faster pace to win. In the second half, they reverted to controlling more possession and playing with a slower pace. They’ve got a lot of speedy players among their ranks nonetheless. Expect Bayern to attack in a controlled approach for the game. As opposed to 2010, they perhaps won’t commit the total team to attack. One vital player for Bayern will probably be Toni Kroos. His position will perhaps be changed with all the suspension of Gustavo. He usually connects the back-line, the defensive midfielders as well as the attackers. Kroos lacks pace. Whether he will probably be capable of moving forwards as frequently as he usually does is doubtful because he is going to be fielded in defensive midfield unless Jupp Heynckes decides to field Van Buyten in the back and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk in defensive midfield. Thomas Muller will begin in “the hole” behind the striker provided Kroos is situated in defensive midfield. Muller gives a different dimension to the side. He’s very intelligent and can regularly be found within the penalty area. He puts in lots of crosses and may interchange his position with Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. Kroos has a tendency to stay in the middle and never drift towards the wings. Bastian Schweinsteiger will perhaps stay back to prevent Chelsea counters and shield the defence in support of those pushing on if required.
Chelsea can play for the counter-attack. Ramires was the individual who fuelled those counter-attacks and initially, they could try to consider controlling the game and shifting to counters afterwards. Bayern is extremely susceptible to counters. Chelsea won’t however commit a lot of players towards the attack as Bayern is very good in taking back the ball and countering themselves. Chelsea has got the added benefit of having Didier Drogba up front. Mario Gomez is really a strong physical centre-forward like Drogba but isn’t the one in the better form currently. Drogba needs just one opportunity to score as he displayed against Barcelona. Recently Gomez has required more chances than usual to discover the back from the net. It should be considered a classic case of attack vs defence unless of course Roberto Di Matteo has other ideas.
Bayern have been involved in several incredible battles in the European Cup over the years. However, Chelsea’s rise corresponded to the time when Bayern was falling. In 2010, Bayern broke a run of nine years without a Champions League semi-final appearance. So, the one meeting between both the sides came when Felix Magath led Bayern to take on a Jose Mourinho led Chelsea in the 2005/06 quarterfinals. In the first leg, Chelsea triumphed. Bayern went behind in the home leg in the second game but scored two goals in injury time correctly to win the game. However, they failed to push extra time.
All these Bayern players have a very lot of big game experience. However, the Germans inside team almost apparently have a habit of ‘choking’. The German side lost the European Championship final in 2008 as well as World Cup semifinals in 2006 and 2010. Added to which is of course that Bayern lost the Champions League final in 2010. However, Bayern was the underdog getting into that game this also isn’t true this time. Bayern has previously faced English opponents thrice in Champions League finals with just one single win as well as losses. They lost to Aston Villa in 1982 and Manchester United in 1999. Their sole victory came against Leeds in 1975. Bayern has won each of their games at the Allianz Arena this campaign. Bayern went to win the Champions League three out of the 4 times they’ve beaten Real at the semis. Thrice before has a team played a European Cup final in their own backyard. Inter, Roma and Real Madrid are those teams. Inter and Real both won while Roma lost to Liverpool. So Bayern has roughly about a 67% chance of claiming victory based on this statistic!
A great score for Chelsea will probably be 0-1. An early goal sets them up perfectly. After the defeat in Berlin in the DFB Pokal final, the confidence levels with the Bayern players won’t be the best. For Bayern, an early goal will even carry out the trick. Bayern has won each each game in which they have taken the lead except against Napoli inside group stages (1-1). But it is the final and anything can happen here. If you want to know who I will fancy in this match, make sure you become part of our L!ve Session and join me on Twitter (special competition which about you can read on this blog!