The Champions League final features two teams that no one expected to make it there. Everyone, except Chelsea and Bayern Munich fans, was looking ahead towards a Super Clasico final to decide the champion of Europe. However, after a solid defensive performance and opportune goals, Chelsea were able to stun Barcelona and Bayern Munich were able to book their place in the final following a penalty shootout against Real Madrid.
The defeat of Barcelona came at a price for Chelsea. For the final, they will be missing John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires, and Raul Meireles. These are all significant players to be without, especially in defense. Chelsea is also currently without both Gary Cahill and David Luiz, so the back line is significantly weakened if those two players have not fully recovered from their injuries. On a more positive note, Chelsea will have Didier Drogba, who played a big role in the matches against Barcelona. Chelsea fans are hoping he can lead their team to European glory and not have a final like this one below.
The men in Bayern Munich jerseys have played very well in the Champions League this season and it has resulted in the chance to lift the Champions League trophy in front of their home crowd. Similar to Chelsea, Bayern are also without some players for the final. They will be missing Luiz Gustavo, Holger Badstuber, and David Alaba. The absence of these players will be missed, but should not be as detrimental to Bayern as the missing Chelsea players will be. Arjen Robben has had an up-and-down season and will be hoping to have a good game against his former team.
Playing in the Champions League final in your home stadium is definitely a good position to be in. This should help Bayern Munich, being supported by their home crowd and having the familiarity with the stadium and the fact that they don’t need to travel. However, Bayern has had their fair share of struggles this season, and just this past weekend they were beat by Borussia Dortmund 5-2. That is not the best result going into a final and it could have players doubting themselves. Even though playing at home is an advantage, it could also be a disadvantage for the team. They may feel the pressure of winning the trophy in front of their home crowd.
Because of this, I am going with my gut feeling that Chelsea will finally win the Champions League they have come so close to claiming recently. Even though the team lacks style and flare, they have a solid group of players that can play a physical game, defend well, and steal a goal against the run-of-play. The loss of the four suspended players will hurt, but Gary Cahill and David Luiz have resumed training, which will help the defense.
Winning the Champions League is no easy feat and, if accomplished, Roberto Di Matteo should be given the manager position. He has taken a struggling team and brought some life back to them. If he can take them to the promised land with a Champions League final victory, there is no reason to think he cannot lead the men in Chelsea jerseys in the coming seasons.
No matter what, it should be a good game and hopefully Chelsea will not be as defensive as they were against Barcelona, so we can witness some free flowing soccer.
Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com
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