Champions League Final: Bayern Munich vs Chelsea

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I thought for sure it would be Real Madrid and Barcelona in the final. I was wrong. Spanish dominance is fabled and foiled. It is Chelsea vs Bayern. But it is in Munich, so Bayern have home field advantage.

At least my heart is spared the agony of watching two of my beloved teams go head-to-head: Real Madrid vs Chelsea. I admit I would rather have had them head-to-head so as to guarantee a victory for my liking, but alas, it was not in the cards.

So, now, Chelsea have made it to the final, but they will be without Terry who is on a red card suspension, Ramires, Meireles, or Ivanovich who are on yellow card suspensions. So much for our solid back four.

I proposed yesterday that the starting lineup consist of the following:

Kalou – Mikel – Essien – Lampard
Cole – David Luiz – Cahill – Bosingwa

There are several talking points worth mulling over.

First, Di Mateo is going to need to get Essien game fit and quick.

Second, Di Mateo is going to need to get David Luiz and Cahill healed, game fit, and quick.

Third, Di Mateo is going to need to get Kalou and Bosingwa back into the starting line up in order to get them back up to speed and full form.

But what about formation? What may have worked in the past won’t necessarily work now, since we have a drastic change in the central-middle. If not the 4-4-1-1 as I originally suggested, then how about the 4-3-2-1:

Mata – Kalou
Mikel – Essien – Lampard
Cole – David Luiz – Cahill – Bosingwa

Or, how about 4-4-2:

Drogba – Torres
Mata – Mikel – Essien – Lampard
Cole – David Luiz – Cahill – Bosingwa

I suppose there could be other options, but I find the above most appealing. I would prefer the 4-4-1-1, because we can flood the midfield defensively and play the counter. I think we will need to do this, since Bayern is very strong offensively, so we will be in the same position as we were against Barca.

If not 4-4-1-1, a 4-3-2-1 would provide the same flood of the midfield while providing one additional pivot for the counter. The more risky option would be a 4-4-2. We could still flood the midfield, but to a lesser extent, yet we would potentially have a better counter, as we would have one more option up top for receiving the Hail Maries. I do like this option as we only have one game to play, so having both Drogba and Torres on the pitch may prove menacing just enough to keep Bayern in check.

The thing is that Bayern were able to withstand Real Madrid’s attacking prowess and come up with some goals of their own, because they are also a strong attacking side. It’s like Barca all over again. We are going to need to soak up the attack with a very defensive approach and play the counter while optimizing set pieces as few as they may be. With the way we played against Barca–across two legs no less–I’m sure we can do it with the back four mentioned. I think if we stick to a 5 man midfield using the 4-4-1-1, we should be able to soak up Bayern’s offense and still pose a threat on the counter. I do believe we can do it: if we can beat Barca and come out on top across two legs, we can beat Bayern in one. It won’t be easy, and we may still need a healthy dose of luck, but it isn’t an insurmountable task.

Here’s to an exciting Champions League final! Go Blues! KTBFFH!