The Champions League final will take place this Saturday in Allianz arena in Munich, with Chelsea and Bayern Munich facing off for the most coveted title in Europe. The final will be an event in itself, but with many still disappointed at the lack of a Madrid-Barcelona final, we bring you the story lines that will breathe life into the Champions League match-up.
1. Chelsea goes for its first Champions League title
The legendary English club has only made one previous final, losing in penalty kicks to their compatriots Manchester United in the 2008 final in Moscow. John Terry became the villain in that final, missing the kick that gave United the title. Terry won’t be back this time around due to suspension, but many of the players from that squad are looking to bring the trophy back to England.
2. Bayern Munich look to become first team to win the Champions at home
Inter Milan have already won the European Cup on home soil, but Bayern Munich looks to become the first to win the re-branded Champions League with home field advantage. Many talking heads have criticized Munich getting home field advantage, asking for the venue to be changed. Still, it’s one of the biggest ‘holy grails’ in European soccer, much like an NFL team winning the Super Bowl at home.
3. Last Glory: Veteran players look to win it on their last try
Much of the remnants of the 2008 squad that lost to Manchester United including Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, and Ashley Cole are facing the eve of their playing days. Drogba has seemed reinvigorated by that, playing better as he gets closer to the title. Players like Phillip Lam and Arjen Robben though hardly close to retiring, could be facing the last years of their prime.
4. Di Matteo finds himself with the job on the line
Roberto Di Matteo has already won Chelsea one title as interim manager: the FA Cup. It’s rough to say that any couch needs a Champions League title to prove their worth, but Di Matteo has not yet received any sort of confirmation from the Chelsea directives that he would stay on instead of being replaced by a big game. It seems impossible, though, that Chelsea would dare to remove Di Matteo if he gives the team its first ever Champions League title.
5. Mario Gomez seeking to pass Lionel Messi as top scorer of the tournament
Lost in the flurry of stars that are Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has been Mario Gomez’ amazing Champions League season. The German striker has 12 goals in the campaign and needs two goals in the final to tie Messi’s mark. On the same day that Messi had his historic 5-goal match, Gomez also countered with a 4-goal display of his own.
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