European football’s most prestigious club trophy will be contested for on Sat. May 19 when Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga takes on Chelsea of the English Premier League in the Champions League Final. The highly-anticipated match will be taking place at the Allianz Arena in Munich, giving the German club the home field advantage. In fact, it’s the first time a club will be playing at their home stadium in a Champions League Final.
Bayern Munich had to play in the qualifying rounds to make this year’s tournament and beat FC Zurich of Switzerland to reach the group stage. Once there, they topped Group A with 13 points, ahead of Manchester City, Napoli, and Villarreal. During the knockout stage they beat another Swiss team, Basel, by an aggregate of 7-1 after being beaten 1-0 during the first leg.
The German club then took out France’s Marseille by an aggregate of 4-0 in the quarterfinal. Their biggest test was in the semis against Spanish league winners Real Madrid and managed to beat them in a penalty shootout after the two legs were level 3-3 on aggregate. However, in the Bundesliga, they finished in second place this season, eight points adrift of champions Borussia Dortmund. They also lost to Dortmund 5-2 in Germany’s domestic Cup Final.
Chelsea qualified directly for this seasons Champions League by coming in second in the EPL last year. They won Group E and then came from behind in the knockout stage after losing 3-1 to Napoli in the first leg and beating them 4-1 in extra time back at Stamford Bridge in London. In the quarterfinals they beat Portugal’s Benfica by an aggregate of 3-1 and edged Spanish giants and defending champion Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals.
Chelsea needs to beat Bayern in the Champions League final or they won’t qualify for the event next season. This is because they finished the Premier League in sixth place this season. However, they’ll at least make it to the Europa League if they lose in Germany since they beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup Final.
Bayern’s played in the European Cup Final eight times already and have won and lost four times. Their championships came in between 1974 and 1976 and again in 2001. Their last appearance in the Final was in 2010. Chelsea has played in the Final just once before and were beaten in a penalty shootout by Manchester United back in 2008.
Chelsea will be hoping that 34-year-old Ivorian striker Didier Drogba will continue to be the main man when it comes to cup finals. He’s the only player in history who has scored a goal in four different FA Cup finals. He always seems to rise to the occasion during Chelsea’s biggest games and scored the winning goal in their 1-0 win over Barcelona in the semi final.
Bayern has some key players of their own such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery, and Arjen Robben, but will be missing Holger Badstuber, Luiz Gustavo, and David Alaba because of suspensions. Chelsea has four players out due to bans and will be missing Raul Meireles, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires, and skipper John Terry.
As far as injuries go, Chelsea will give late fitness tests to David Luiz, Florent Malouda, and Gary Cahill. The injuries and suspensions will definitely hurt Chelsea and Bayern will have the advantage of playing at home, meaning most fans favour Bayern to take this game. Chelsea will need to take the game to the German club instead of sitting back and make sure they defend better than they have done all season. In the end though, look for Bayern to win the title by a goal.
Sportsbook William Hill shows the latest odds of a Bayern Munich win at 4/5 with a Chelsea victory at 7/2 and a 90-minute draw at 5/2.