Match - Sat 19 May, 20:00, Allianz Arena
|25. (83’)||11. (88’)|
Penalty Shoot Out
Chelsea, Bayern ready for epic clash
Chelsea players during the Training Session at Cobham Training Ground, Stoke D'Abernon
Both sides have overcome powerful opponents to reach this ultimate stage, not least in the semifinals where the Blues, though a bloody-minded defensive, effort somehow saw off the challenge of outgoing champions Barcelona, while Bayern Munich matched mighty Real Madrid blow for blow before landing the final knockout punch in a penalty shootout.
But those triumphs have come at a great cost. Chelsea will be missing captain John Terry, versatile defender Branislav Ivanovic and midfielders Raul Meireles and Ramires through suspension, all men who have been key to the remarkable turnaround of fortunes under caretaker coach Roberto Di Matteo.
The London club are also sweating on the fitness of defenders Gary Cahill and David Luiz, though it appears that they should both be fit to take their places in the starting XI. Florent Malouda, however, is no more than touch and go due to his hamstring strain.
Bayern will also be missing key figures through suspension – defenders Holger Badstuber and David Alaba, as well as midfielder Luiz Gustavo – and come into the game under something of a cloud after being thrashed 5-2 by Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup final this past weekend.
Bayern may well win the Champions League to be crowned to be crowned kings of Europe, but there is no doubt that they are very much trailing in Dortmund’s wake when it comes to domestic matters, and that could weigh on their players’ minds heading into this match.
The key man for Chelsea on such big occasions is, as ever, Cote d’Ivoire striker Didier Drogba. The veteran has a penchant for scoring in big games and has ably demonstrated that this season, netting in the first leg of Chelsea’s semifinal win over Barcelona as well as in the FA Cup final triumph over Liverpool earlier this month.
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer certainly believes that stopping Drogba will be key to his side’s hopes on Saturday: "He is a very good striker and has a strong physical presence and he knows how to put himself about," the Germany international said.
"We have seen this season in the Champion League how dangerous he is."
Drogba himself will be wanting to lay to rest the ghosts of the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow where he was sent off before watching his team capitulate in a penalty shootout against Manchester United.
The 34-year-old, who also suffered a heartbreaking shootout defeat with the Elephants in the final of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, has said he does not want to dwell on past disappointments.
"It's not good to speak about the past because we have a great moment here," said Drogba. "I could speak with you about Bayern Munich and the next Champions League final rather than speak about the other final."
He added: "I've got a lot of disappointments but I've also got a lot of great moments in finals so I'm going to try to make sure that, for my team-mates, this one is a great one.
Admitting this weekend's clash was "one of the biggest games" of his career, Drogba said: "I've played a lot with Chelsea but this one is going to be special because it's only the second time we have reached the Champions League final.
"So we are going to do everything to go there and be ready to play against this German team."