The Allianz Arena is set to host the Champions League final on Saturday in what is sure to be another magnificent European night. For both Chelsea and Bayern difficult domestic seasons have added extra significance to the game that is always the pinnacle of the football calendar.
Bayern Munich head into the game on the back of a 5-2 defeat to Borrusia Dortmund in the German Cup final, hardly the kind of preparation manager Jupp Heynckes would have been hoping for. Bayern’s league campaign brought equally as little joy as they were forced to settle for a runners-up spot again behind Dortmund. Despite Bayern’s failings, any talk of low morale may be premature as the Champions League is a strange animal; domestic form rarely counts for anything in these big European ties, just ask Chelsea.
Off the back of the FA Cup win the blues lost 4-1 to Liverpool in a shambolic performance, and finish the league campaign in 6th place, the lowest of league finish of Roman Abramovich’s tenure. However, Saturday’s 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers may well provide Roberto Di Matteo with some optimism. With so many Chelsea players suspended, it would seem Di Matteo’s most difficult job will be to dig deep into the squad in order to find 11 players eligible to play. John Terry, Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles all miss out through suspension. However, news that David Luiz and Gary Cahill have returned to training will be a welcome boost for the London side. The German’s haven’t got a full squad to choose from either, with Gustavo Lopez, David Alaba and Holger Badstuber having picked up suspensions in their semi-final tie with Real Madrid.
Should Bayern win it will be the fifth time they’ve lifted the famous trophy, while Chelsea seek to get their hands on it for the first time in their history. While it remains to be seen whether Munich’s home advantage will be a benefit or a burden, what is guaranteed is yet another dramatic Champions league night.