Bayern Munich v Chelsea
Chelsea and Bayern Munich head into this game having caused major upsets. Chelsea battled their way into the final with two fantastic defensive performances against Spanish giants, Barcelona. The club from Spain had more than enough chances to score, but were rather wasteful in-front of goal. The other Spanish giants, Real Madrid, struggled to contain the midfield trio of Luis Gustavo, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and the star of the show, without doubt, in both legs, Toni Kroos. Despite scoring two early goals in the second leg, with the momentum in Real Madrid's direction, they headed out on penalties.
Both teams are missing integral players. For Chelsea: John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Raul Meireles, and Ramires. Chelsea will miss the solidity they had in both legs against Barcelona, without Terry, Ivanovic, and Ramires. The industriousness of Ramires will be severely missed, and that is the downfall of his suspension, there is no adequate cover. For Bayern Munich: Holger Badstuber, David Alaba, and Gustavo. Daniel van Buyten is rumoured to be starting at centre-back, with Philipp Lahm shifted to left back, and the introduction of Rafinha at right back. However, the Bavarians will, ironically, miss the industriousness of Gustavo, who has played a pivotal role throughout this season.
If Chelsea are to win the Champions League, then they need to display the same resolute defending against Barcelona. David Luiz will be welcomed back with open arms, the Blues need the Brazilian to continue with the great performances he has put in, in the second half of the season. Alongside him, there is still an element of uncertainty, as Gary Cahill is still struggling to make it in time. Some of the "fringe" players, such as Michael Essien, a player who has completely lost himself after the injuries he has received in the past couple of seasons, need to put in their best games. Chelsea doesn't have mobile midfielders, and that's why Ramires is a big loss for the team. The "fringe" players didn't exactly make a great impression against Liverpool, too.
Arjen Robben, once a Chelsea player, Franck Ribery, and Mario Gomez all have the ability to kill the game off. Since the Schalke game this year, Robben has regained some consistency. Ribery has been a threat for the majority of the season, and regardless of his diving abilities, which are second to none, he is, at the moment, more dangerous than his partner in crime. Robbery it may well be. Gomez's overall ability may not be on the level of your van Persies, Benzemas, or even Drogbas, but his persistence separates him from the rest in his category. Give him one sniff of goal, and he could make you pay. This has been highlighted on numerous occasions this season, but more prominently this was evident against Real Madrid, in the first leg of the semi-final encounter.
There is so much on stake for both clubs. For Chelsea, this trophy is important for two reasons, one of them being that they need to win to gain entry into the Champions League next season, and the other being Roman Abramovich's apparent dream to win this prestiges competition. Regarding Bayern Munich, this trophy is to make up for what has been a season to forget, after failing to secure the Bundesliga. What a better way to do so. What lessons have we been taught about Chelsea? First and foremost, you can't write the team off, no matter what. We seen the poor defensive performances against Napoli and Benfica, but the team has progressed to the final, unexpectedly. You would, however, be forgiven for opting for Bayern Munich, primarily because the motivation is higher considering that they're playing at home.
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