by Darren Walsh
First of all, an admission; I do not want Chelsea to win this game. It will be a disaster if they triumph and bring the Champion’s League trophy back to Stamford Bridge. How could someone be so against them winning you might ask? I must be an awful begrudger, bitter at other team’s success. Why should I care so much that I want a team to lose a final?
It’s obvious; I’m a Spurs fan.
Right, now that’s out of the way, let’s look at things more objectively. I can see quite a few neutrals being on Chelsea’s side on Saturday night. Look at how they battled through the competition; even the group stage was a struggle. Then they came back from a 1-3 deficit against Napoli, and of course the defensive performance for the ages against Barcelona.
And even after all of this, they’re still underdogs against Bayern Munich, due to having a number of players suspended as well as the Germans having home field advantage. Oh well, at least the away goal rule will come into effect, right? Oh….
And yet, with all of this against them, I can just see them winning. They practically gave up on their league season to be ready for this, leading to a sixth placed finish that means they will miss out on the CL next season if they don’t win here. Their eggs are all in one basket, or cup even, and it’s hard to see them dropping them, if you want to extend that tortuous analogy further.
After dealing with some of the toughest stadiums in Europe, I can see Chelsea relishing the prospect of silencing the Allianz Arena. Didier Drogba will bully the Munich defence into submission, while on the other side, Mario Gomez will balloon a shot from two yards out into Row Z.
“Ah but what about the Chelsea team?” you might say. They’re missing Ramires, Ivanovic, Meireles and of course John Terry. Yes they are, but surely someone will step up in their place; John Obi Mikel will turn into Xavi, David Luiz will become a more hirsute version of Fabio Cannavaro and Fernando Torres will probably get a hat trick off of the subs bench.
Talking of Terry, he is the one thing that will turn neutrals against this team. Despite the fact that he will not play, he seems determined to plant himself in the middle of the potential celebrations, even lifting the cup with Frank Lampard. I would not be remotely surprised if he still kitted himself out for the match, just so he can take off the jersey and go bare-chested for the post-match interviews.
While the football gods have been kind to this team so far, they will not stand for that amount of hubris. This is probably the best bet I have to avoid seeing Tottenham robbed of a place at Europe’s top table.
And wouldn’t it just be such a Spurs-type thing to happen if Chelsea won? Illness has wrecked the team’s chances before, while this year third place would have been wrapped up but for the inability to score against the worst set-piece defending team in the league (Aston Villa), despite having 19 corners.
So here is the prediction. It will be 0-0 at the end of 90 minutes, and while Munich may take the lead in extra time Chelsea will surely equalise just as the final whistle is approaching. And then they will win. On penalties.