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Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea: Mario Gomez Will Break Blues' Patchwork Defense

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 25:  Mario Gomez of Bayern Munich battles for the ball with Kaka of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg between Real Madrid CF and Bayern Munich at The Bernabeu Stadium on April 25, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2012

Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez is going to have a field day against Chelsea's suspect defense.

The Blues will be without four key players against Bayern Munich in today's UEFA Champions League final. Two of those players, John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic, are key pieces to Chelsea's defense.

Gomez had 26 goals in 33 German Bundesliga games this year, as well as 12 goals in 10 UEFA Champions League games so far. The 26-year-old striker is extremely dangerous from close range, and Bayern Munich has plenty of skilled midfielders to find his feet in open space.

Let's take a look at Gomez's skills and why he is the most dangerous player to Chelsea's defense.


Creative Bayern Munich Midfielders

Bayern Munich's midfielders are not staunch defenders, but they are extremely dangerous in the offensive end of the field. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Thomas Mueller are all viable options when they get their chances to shine. Chelsea will need to keep these players under wraps if they want to keep Gomez off the scoreboard.


Gomez feeds off of Bayern Munich's creativity in the midfield. Their deft passing touch sets up Gomez's electric scoring touch.

Chelsea's defense must stay on the same page, keep their form and shape and take space away from Bayern Munich's midfielder. Doing that is the first step toward taking Gomez out of the Champions League's final match.


Gomez's Skills

Gomez is a deadly scorer who loves having all of the attention sent his way.

He anticipates the play of his teammates extremely well. Whether it be a Robben cross or a Schweinsteiger through ball, Gomez is waiting for it on the other end.

He is also a dangerous threat on balls in the air. He has uncanny balance and uses this body control to hold off defenders.

Gomez's ability to finish with both feet and control the ball through the teeth of the defense makes him one of the most dangerous strikers in the world—not to mention Bayern Munich's most dangerous goal scorer.

Chelsea's defense better have a clear plan to stop Gomez. If they do not, he will win this game by himself.


How Can Chelsea Slow Gomez Down?

The keys to shutting down Gomez are the same for most dynamic offensive players: take away his time, keep a body close and know where he is at all times.

Chelsea is going to need to play physical, anticipate Gomez's movements and stay organized. Making sure Gomez is marked on every ball in the air will be important. Also, Chelsea must make sure he does not creep behind their defense when the defense steps up on an attacking midfielder.

The Blues are really up against it without their missing defensive pieces. Gomez would be a tall task to stop even if Chelsea had their full side on the field.

The Blues will need a great initial game plan and the ability to adapt during the game on Gomez's scoring ability.

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