Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich: 7 Things the Germans Must Do to Win the UCL Final
Bayern Munich made the Champions League final they most wanted to make. The one to be played in front of their home fans in their home arena.
In Chelsea, they've got the opponent they must have hoped for when they saw the semifinal matchups.
But what do the Germans have to do to end their European journey holding the trophy? Funny you should ask.
Here are the seven things Bayern Munich must do to lock up the Champions League title.
Relentlessly Attack Down the Left
Branislav Ivanovic is suspended for the final, which likely means Jose Bosingwa turning out at right back for Chelsea.
Bosingwa excels in the attacking part of the right-back role, but is at times a fairly awful defender.
With Philipp Lahm expected to man the left side due to Bayern's own suspensions, he and Franck Ribery must combine relentlessly to force mistakes out of Bosingwa.
Arjen Robben will inevitably play his role in the match, but Ashley Cole is the strongest defender in Chelsea's team. Therefore, Bayern's focus has to be on the other side of the field.
Exploit the Inevitable Mistake from David Luiz
David Luiz is great with the ball. We all know that. The problem is he knows that as well.
Even the most diehard Chelsea supporter has to admit that Luiz is good for at least one serious mistake per game due to overconfidence in possession.
He's not always punished for it, but he always makes it.
If Bayern are going to win the match, they must press Luiz at every opportunity and force that mistake. When it happens, they have to capitalize.
Make the Center-Backs Run
John Terry is out for stupidity. David Luiz and Gary Cahill will both be rushing back from hamstring injuries. The center of Chelsea's defense will be gimpy at best.
Knowing that, Bayern must get the center-backs moving early and often. Play over the top and make them chase back, combine down the sides forcing them to come over to cover, and in general make Luiz and Cahill stretch out those questionable hamstrings.
It's not kind, but it could win the match. Think of it as a boxer who opens a cut over his opponent's eye early in the fight. Then he pounds on that eye at every chance for the rest of the contest.
Same thing, but with hamstrings.
Cover Their Own Center
Holger Badstuber's suspension due to yellow card accumulation is tough for Bayern. He was very good during the semifinal against Real Madrid and would have proven invaluable in slowing down the Chelsea attack.
Combine his absence with Luiz Gustavo's and you suddenly have a light-handed defensive center.
Bastian Schweinsteiger will be there. I expect Toni Kroos to drop in beside him to replace Gustavo. The real question will be who replaces Badstuber in the back line.
Bayern will have to be aware of lending just that little extra bit of cover to whoever lands next to Jerome Boateng (and it's probably going to be Ukrainian defender Anatoliy Tymoshchuk).
Mario Gomez Must Bring His Shooting Boots
Chelsea have shown they can defend. If the Blues get a lead, they could very well go into a shell and simply look to hold out.
That said, chances could be few and far between for Bayern. The Germans cannot afford another display of wasteful finishing like the one Gomez demonstrated during the semifinal first leg against Real Madrid.
If his teammates create an opportunity, Gomez must put it in the back of the net. If he leaves a chance on the table, there's no guarantee he'll see another one.
Stay Busy in the Center of Midfield
With suspensions keeping Ramires and Raul Meireles in the stands for the final, Chelsea have problems in the midfield.
The two missing men are the players who have spent the most recent part of the season covering for the fact that Frank Lampard is not nearly as mobile as he once was.
With Kroos, Schweinsteiger and probably Muller, Bayern have a massive advantage in terms of youthful energy over the probable entries in Chelsea's midfield (Lampard, Essien and Obi Mikel).
Lampard will be looking to play killer passes like the one he played in the semifinal's first leg that led to the game's only goal. But for all his awareness, he cannot beat Bayern's midfield unless they allow him unmolested space. He's not athletic enough any more.
Close down the midfield and Bayern will starve Chelsea's front-runners.
Shut Juan Mata out of the Game
When Juan Mata shines, Chelsea sparkles.
He was a bit of a bystander during the semifinal because Chelsea had no intention of attacking Barcelona.
Playing Mata in those games was a little bit like driving a Ferrari to pick up the groceries—just an unnecessary extravagance that wasn't going to add anything.
But if the Blues want to come out and play against Bayern, the little Spaniard will be key to their plan.
Bayern have to look to keep Mata off the ball at all costs. With Mata likely deployed on the left wing, it will be up to Rafinha and Schweinsteiger to make it very difficult for Chelsea to find the playmaker's feet.