Bayern Munich face Chelsea in the Allianz Arena in the 2012 Champions League Final. With the German giants having the unusual boost of home advantage, what can a depleted Chelsea do to conjure up a win in the biggest game in European club football?
Over 2.5 Goals @ Evens (BetVictor)
Mario Gomez to Score anytime 11/10 (Paddy Power)
Champions League Match Odds
Bayern Munich have the huge boost of playing the Champions League final at their Allianz Arena home. At a fraction under odds-on, the Bundesliga runners-up are worthy favourites, but must get over the disappointment of not just missing out on the domestic title, but also losing the German Cup final to Borussia Dortmund – the team who also denied them in the League.
After coming through the Champions League semi-final on penalties against Real Madrid, Bayern will not fear Chelsea, and their attacking potential, with Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben operating on either wing, mean the Blues will see their depleted defences severely stretched.
Chelsea find themselves just short of 4/1 to win the final in 90 minutes, despite seeing off pre-tournament favourites Barcelona in the semi-finals. Those performances drew many plaudits from around Europe, but the win came at a cost with several players picking up suspensions that will mean they miss out on the final. The most notable absences are John Terry and Ramires. While Terry’s influence will be missed in the changing room, Ramires has been instrumental in some of the big performances that the Blues have put in of late, and it may be the Brazilian who is missed more. Overall this season, Chelsea have a win rate of 52% in all competitions – when Terry and Ramires have both started it rises to 62%, but when both have been missing it drops to 35%.
Chelsea defence under pressure
The Chelsea rearguard received many compliments after shutting out Lionel Messi and Co during the first leg of the semi-final. The truth is however, that that was one of only two clean sheets for the Blues in any of their last 13 games. If they are to prevail in the final it is extremely unlikely that it will be based on defensive solidity. They will need to emulate Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup final, where the victors put Bayern under plenty of defensive pressure and ultimately won 5-2. John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic are certain to miss the tie, and David Luiz and Gary Cahill are both being nursed back from injury in the hope that they will be fit for the final. It would be a mistake for Roberto Di Matteo to ask his side to sit back and rely on a patched up defensive line.
Bayern Munich firepower
The Bavarian club boast an abundance of attacking talent, spearheaded by Mario Gomez up front. The German hitman has 12 goals already in this season’s Champions League campaign. The chances are provided for the striker via the twin threat of Ribery and Robben, who give Bayern width and provide high quality service. The attacking trio have dismantled many teams this season – Munich have scored 7 goals on two separate occasions in the League, and 6 on a further two. In Europe they have been much the same, putting 7 past Basle in the first of the Champions League knock out rounds – and Gomez helped himself to four that night.
3 of the 4 semi-finals ended with 3 or more goals, and the trend looks set to continue in the final. Chelsea’s depleted ranks need to keep Bayern at bay, but they pose a different threat to that of Barcelona, and with key personnel missing, a re-shaped Blues team may be vulnerable, particularly to the prolific Mario Gomez. He will be licking his lips at the prospect of taking on David Luiz and Gary Cahill – especially if they are anything less than 100%. Take evens on Over 2.5 goals (BetVictor), and 11/10 (Paddy Power) on Mario Gomez scoring anytime – he is odds-on elsewhere.