A UEFA Champions League winner will be crowned on Saturday as Bayern Munich will host Chelsea at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. Next to the World Cup, the UEFA Champions League tournament is the second biggest event in the soccer world. Although my mother was born and raised down the street from Allianz Arena in Germany, I will do my best to give an unbiased preview of this monster game while trying to keep my German blood out of it.
Bayern Munich and Chelsea are both entering this final with crucial suspensions. The Bundesliga beasts, Bayern Munich, will be without midfielder Luis Gustavo and defensemen David Alaba and Holger Badstuber.
Manager Roberto Di Matteo and his Chelsea squad will also be looking to fill holes as they have four pivotal suspensions. Defensive anchor John Terry, defenseman Branislav Ivanovic, and midfielders Raul Meireles and Ramires will all be watching Saturday’s action from the bench.
Bayern and Chelsea are both riding momentum into this final, each boasting impressive wins against two of the worlds best teams, Real Madrid and Barcelona. (Pronounced “Barthelona.” Dont ask me why, I am not here to explain the language of spaniards.) Chelsea made a comeback, one that felt impossible as they were trailing 2-0, as well as playing a man down after John Terry was red-carded. Ramires gave Chelsea a brilliant, away goal as he chipped in a delicate ball just before the half. A late goal from Chelsea’s Fernando Torres put Barcelona on the mat.
Bayern manager Jupp Heynches and his German crew did what they do best, win in a penalty shoot-out, which shipped Real Madrid out of the tournament. German keeper Manuel Neuer stopped penalty kicks by Madrid’s Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo which gave Bayern the edge. The engine and heart of Bayern, Bastian Schweinsteiger, finished off the La Liga champs with a clutch penalty kick that blew by keeper Victor Valdez.
Again, I will keep my German blood out of this and give you ways that each side could take a victory. Roberto Di Matteo and Chelsea must “bend, not break.” They did it against Barcelona, whom many considered the best team ever assembled. Didier Drogba and Torres will potentially both be playing in a forward role at the same time. If they can mesh and find a goal, Chelsea could end what seemed to be a disappointing season, with a bang by winning a trophy in Germany.
Bayern is hosting this game in their backyard, playing in front of arguably the best keeper on the planet in Manuel Neuer. The Reds are full of ammunition when it comes to scoring goals. The three-headed monster of Arjen Robben. Franck Ribery, and German national Mario Gomez will wreck havoc on the depleted Chelsea defense. Speed kills, and Munich has speed for days. Bayern is the favorite here. A strong favorite. This opinion doesn’t matter if mamma Bentley was born in Germany or not.
Chelsea are looking for their first UEFA Champions League trophy while Bayern Munich are looking for their fifth in nine finals matches. Chelsea lost to Manchester United in 2008, their only time reaching the final.
My heart and my money will be on Bayern Munich this Saturday night.
Paul Bentley is a contributor to RantSports.com
Follow Bentley on Twitter at @KKingBentley