MUNICH — They say that home is where the heart is. In the case of Bayern Munich and their hope to win their fifth European title in front of their home fans against Chelsea, it may prove to be too much.
The four-time European champion Reds are the first home team since Roma in 1984 to play at home when it faces Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final at their own home pitch of Allianz Stadium, and hopes to be crowned “Kings Of Europe” for a fifth time.
While many may have already conceded that Munich the presumptive winner, it would be wise to not overlook the scrappy underdogs from West London.
Chelsea, who would win their seventh FA Cup, is in the Champions League final for the second time in four years. The Blues would lose to fellow Premier League rival Manchester United 6-5 on penalty kicks in Moscow back in 2008.
Chelsea may be without the services of captain John Terry, Raul Meireles, Ramires and Branislav Ivanovic due to yellow card accumulation in their match against F.C. Barcelona, any side that goes into Nou Camp and beats Barcelona is not to be underestimated.
While Chelsea will be short-handed, the steady play of Frank Lampard, the return of Ivorian striker Didier Drogba and the recent good form of Fernando Torres makes Chelsea more than an even match for Bayern’s triumviate of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Mario Gomez.
If Chelsea hopes to hoist up it’s first Champions League trophy and become the first London club—much to the consternation of local rivals Fulham, Tottenham and Arsenal—look for forwards Salomon Kalou and Juan Mata to play a factor in countering Munich’s prolific midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and forward Thomas Muller.
One cannot overlook the impact that interim manager Roberto Di Matteo and his steady leadership for the Blues as they have gone 14-3-2 under his watch. The Blues are 4-1-0 under Di Matteo in Champions League play.
While Munich is 15-1 against English clubs at home, the gained momentum and confidence of beating Barcelona on the road and their recent triumph in the FA Cup over Liverpool, gives the Blues an edge in become the second English side to beat Bayern on the Allianz pitch and the first London club to win the Champions League in a 2-1 victory.
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