Roberto Di Matteo may or may not be leading out his team for the last time tomorrow night in Munich. If he wins the Champions League, making Roman Abaramovich’s dream come true, he may get an extended run as Chelsea manager. If the Blues lose, and the bookmakers seem to think they will, then Di Matteo may decide to go straight home from Bavaria.
Bayern may be favourites, especially as they play in their home stadium, but for Chelsea, it could be the last roll of the dice for a team that has won nine trophies in nine seasons. The one prize they have hankered for is the Champions League and for players like Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Ashley Cole, it could be their last chance to win the competition.
Since 2003-04, Chelsea have reached four semi-finals and reached two Champions League finals. The pain of losing on penalties to Manchester United in 2008 is still fresh enough to act as a motivator.
Ironically, this is arguably the worst Chelsea since in a decade, but they probably have the best chance they’ve ever had of lifting the Champions League. Certainly, Bayern – even on their home patch – represent a far from reasonable opponent than Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid.
Amid all the speculation about who will play, who won’t, who can’t and who might, Chelsea should be boosted by the return of Gary Cahill and David Luiz at the heart of defence. That should make Chelsea look a little less depleted.
Will RDM play Torres or will he stick with Drogba alone up front? I think Torres will be kept on the bench, possibly introduced later in the game. After all, look what he did in Barcelona!
Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has urged Abramovich to give RDM the job. He was less complimentary about Drogba, who he called an “actor” in the German press, although he now claims he meant to say “performer”. Drogba has the biggest possible stage on which to perform, particularly as it may be his last game for Chelsea.
Bayern’s danger men, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, both anticipate victory in the Allianz Arena. Robben, of course, is a former Chelsea player, while Ribery plays in his first final after missing 2010’s defeat at the hands of Inter Milan through suspension.
The two teams will most probably look like this:
Bayern: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Tymoschuk, Contento, Robben, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Muller, Gomez, Ribery
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Kalou, Mikel, Essien, Lampard, Mata, Drogba
Not many people expect Chelsea to pull it off in the Allianz, but then again, nobody gave them much chance against Napoli and Barcelona….