So Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid will contest the Champions League final in Munich, oh wait a second it’s not the Spanish giants who will contest the final, but in fact Chelsea and Bayern Munich. How did that happen?
Both Chelsea and Bayern Munich went into their clashes with Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively as massive underdogs.
The pair was playing against arguably the best teams in Europe and wasn’t given much hope of progressing.
Yet the German and English sides triumphed against all the odds. Bayern were defeated 2-1 in Madrid in the second leg but won the tie on penalties. Chelsea came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at the Nou Camp in their leg and progress 3-2 on aggregate.
The one thing in common these two teams had was the spirit that they showed in defeating their Spanish opponents. Although Bayern showed more attacking intent at the Bernabeu than Chelsea did at the Nou Camp, they both showed exceptional spirit to progress past the teams considered the favourites for the trophy.
Bayern Munich will have a major advantage for the final with the game being played at their home ground the Allianz Arena. They won’t have to travel and more Bayern fans are likely to be in the stadium than Chelsea fans simply because the game is being played in Munich.
Bayern also have the advantage of facing a Chelsea team without four of their regular starters. Captain John Terry, Raul Meireles, Branislav Ivanovic and Ramires will all miss the showcase through suspension.
Bayern will also be missing three players in David Alaba, Luis Gustavo and Holger Badstuber. However I don’t think their losses will be as significant as Chelsea’s will be.
It’s a massive shame for Chelsea and the game that they will be missing key players but the Blues will have to claim victory the hard way, just as they have done throughout the competition.
As I wrote in an article earlier this week it seems that it is Chelsea’s destiny to win this seasons Champions League. They have had massive slices of luck along the way but it seems they are destined to pick up the trophy on 19th May.
Interim boss Roberto Di Matteo has been described as a lucky boss. Surely not even Di Matteo believed that his side could go so far when he took over from Andre Villas-Boas. They are now ninety minutes away from making history.
Chelsea still have talented players in their ranks, despite the absentees. Striker Didier Drogba proved that there is still life in the old Drog yet with his performances against Barcelona. The Champions League final looks set to be his Chelsea swansong with his contract expiring in the summer.
The likes of Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard had been written-off in the past. However they have found a new lease of life under Di Matteo and have shown against Barca that they can still compete against the best.
Bayern have some exceptional talent in their team as well. Wingers Franck Ribery and former-Chelsea star Arjen Robben have the talent to cause any team problems.
Then there is goal machine Mario Gomez. The German international striker has already scored 38 goals in all competitions this season, including 13 in the Champions League. The 26 year-old is the main focal point of the Bayern attack and with John Terry missing it’s going to be difficult for the Chelsea defence to contain the big striker.
Its difficult to separate these two teams at the moment. Bayern have to be considered favourites because of the amount of key Chelsea players missing for the clash and the fact that they are playing the game on home soil.
However the Blues have shown that when their backs are against the wall they have the team spirit to come out fighting and get a result. This Champions League campaign has been amazing and all I am hope for as a football fan is a good game of football between two outstanding teams. Roll on 19th May!
Who will claim the Champions League trophy on 19th May?