Bayern Munich vs Chelsea - Match preview and team news
The biggest prize in European club football awaits the winner of Saturday’s match in the Allianz Arena, as Bayern Munich take on Chelsea for the right to be Champions League holders. Bayern will have the comforts of playing in their home ground, but the Blues have brought a great following and are confident of success.
Chelsea last reached the final in 2008, where they were beaten by Manchester United on penalties in a rain-soaked Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The Blues had also been knocked out in the semi-final stage four times in the last seven seasons and are desperate to achieve owner Roman Abramovich’s ultimate aim of winning Europe’s premier club competition. Chelsea have certainly had to contend with plenty of drama on their road to Munich, which began with Andre Villas-Boas in charge against Bayer Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge on the 13th September.
Since then, the Blues have changed managers, been investigated for racist chants made from their own fans to their own striker Daniel Sturridge and progressed past Napoli in a tough second round tie that went to extra-time at Stamford Bridge. Also, in the semi-final, Chelsea knocked out what many believe is the greatest club side in world football, Barcelona, over two legs. Roberto di Matteo’s appointment as interim manager seems to have inspired the Chelsea dressing room, but his team line-up will be severely weakened after their resilient display in the Nou Camp. John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles are all ruled out through suspension, so Di Matteo has to juggle his options in defence.
Gary Cahill and David Luiz are expected to partner each other in central defence after recovering from their hamstring problems in time for the Allianz Arena. Ryan Bertrand could be handed a start in a defensive left wing role, according to reports, against the potent threat of Arjen Robben on the Bayern right flank. Didier Drogba is expected to start ahead of Fernando Torres up front, despite the Spaniard’s clinching goal in the semi-final.
Bayern are veterans in these sort of situations and have won the competition four times, their last triumph coming in 2001. Juup Heynckes’ side have been in good form all competition, particularly in the Allianz Arena where the foundations for their quarter final and semi-final victories were lay. Basel were crushed in front of a fervent Munich crowd in the last 16 and Real Madrid were narrowly beaten 2-1 in the first leg of the semi-final, which gave Bayern the platform to go to the Bernabeu and eventually win on penalties.
Domestically, Bayern have been beaten by Borussia Dortmund to both the league and the cup and will be desperate to bring some glory to Munich at the end of this season. Munich have suspension problems of their own with Luiz Gustavo, David Alaba and Holger Badstuber ruled out after their bookings against Madrid, Rafinha is expected to fill in at right-back, but if Daniel van Buyten is not fit to slot in defence, Ukranian midfielder Anatoliy Tymoschuk could have to step into central defence to partner Jerome Boateng.
If Di Matteo is able to bring home the Champions League for Abramovich, he can almost certainly start planning for a permanent manager’s job at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea will have difficulty in stopping the Bayern attack, especially with their weakened defence, but with the attacking talents of Didier Drogba and Juan Mata, an open game is expected in front of a capacity Allianz Arena. It’s difficult to split the two sides, but if Chelsea can stop Robben and Franck Ribery from wreaking havoc, then they have a magnificent chance of winning their first Champions League.
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