The 2012 UEFA Champions League Final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea FC is the centerpiece of the FOX soccer portfolio. Once again FOX air the final live in the United States with coverage beginning Saturday May 19th at 2:00 PM ET from Munich.
During a network conference call last week I asked FOX Soccer primary host, Rob Stone and lead analyst, Eric Wynalda about the UEFA Final as well as the impact the European leagues has had on soccer in the United States.
Stone on whether or not Bayern Munich is a heavy favorite because they are playing at home:
"Without a doubt Bayern Munich is the favorite. They would have been the favorite even if it was held at a neutral site. With the form that Bayern Munich is in, and the offensive capability that they have, and with the suspensions that are hitting a majority of the Chelsea starting players, it is beyond fair to say that Bayern Munich are the favorite."
Wynalda on the Champions League matchup:
"They are both very good teams, but there is one more game that weighs into this, and that is the German Cup, which Bayern Munich has against Borussia Dortmund. We really have to wait on our opinions of what the Final is going to look like until after that one is over. On paper right now, with the suspensions that both teams have, it’s going to be a very offensive game. Regardless, it’s going to be a great game and either way there are going to be a lot of goals in this one."
Stone on the growth of soccer in US and the EPL's role:
"It’s tradition passed down through the generations. It’s like baseball here in the States. Your dad, your grandfather, your grandmother, your mother grew up a Cardinals fan, a Yankees fan or a Tampa Bay Rays and they pass it down. You get that in England. It’s starting to happen now in the States, you’re seeing more and more kids wanting jerseys. Not being handed the jersey by dad saying, ‘wear this Messi jersey.’ It’s a kid saying, ‘dad, go get me this Messi jersey.’ You’re starting to see the culture and the generations change in embracing the sport more and more in the States. What the Premiership does and the tradition and drama they provide, is all part of the force that drives the growth of soccer."
Wynalda on the future of American soccer player Clint Dempsey:
"I would love nothing more than to see Clint Dempsey play in the Champions League. With the season that he has had, not only does he deserve the opportunity to play in a greater platform, but he deserves a lot of money. He should break every record there had ever been for an American player as far as his market value because he is an amazing commodity right now and we’re lucky to also have him playing for the U.S. National Team. By far, hands down, this is the best season any American has ever had."
Stone on Dempsey’s success:
"Rarely have we seen an American field player play on a high-profile team. To see “Dempsey” on the back of an Arsenal jersey or a Liverpool jersey is big news in my eyes and big news in the States. Goals are sexy, goals are what sell and he’s scoring goals. That is where you base your judgment. It’s hard to say it has not been the greatest season an American player in Europe has ever had."
Broadcast details - May 19th FOX Soccer will begin at 1 p.m. with a full hour pre-game show with Stone hosting on-site studio coverage. Wynalda will be joined on by fellow analyst former Tottenham goalkeeper and former United States National Team player Brad Friedel for pre-game, halftime and post-match analysis.
Then at 2 p.m. things move over to FOX where Curt Menefee serves as event host before turning things over to Stone and the aforementioned on-site studio crew. The game broadcast will be handled by the FOX Soccer lead crew of play-by-play man Martin Tyler with analysis from former Manchester United defender Gary Neville.
FOX Deportes is carrying the match live in Spanish, and FOX Soccer re-airs the match at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday night with FOX Soccer Plus doing the same at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 20th.
Broadband will be on FOX Soccer 2go but delayed until 5 p.m. and radio is Sirius-XM Radio starting at 1 p.m. ET.
The broadcast information was provided to Bleacher Report via a press release. James Williams is a Contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.