The depletion of Chelsea’s back line opens the door for a Bayern Munich onslaught in the second half of the Champions League Final. The absence of the Blues' central defenders John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic will prove to be Chelsea’s Achilles heel.
The Blues have relied on the counterattack in the past few matches, most notably in their monumental upset over Barcelona. Without their middle defenders, however, their counterattack is sure to lack its explosiveness in Munich. David Luiz and Gary Cahill will be called upon to shoulder the load, a tall order for such a high-profile matchup.
Lutz and Cahill can hold their own for a half, playing behind a strategy that has been prepared for them all week. When Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes makes his adjustments, though, will be a period of concern for the Blues.
Ivanovic’s absence, especially, serves a crippling blow to Chelsea’s set-piece scoring, which has proved to be a reliable offense for the Blues down the stretch. Defensively he has provided a solid backside presence; today Solomon Kalou and Ryan Bertrand need their best defense for Chelsea to keep pace.
But to Chelsea’s dismay, Bayern has enough of their offensive firepower to breakthrough for multiple goals in a 90-minute stretch. Bayern fans sit comfortably knowing their striker Mario Gomez and fancy pedigree at Allianz Arena. The prominent goal scorer has 13 goals in Champions League play, including 11 at home in Munich.
Bayern also sports a dangerous trio in their midfield that may draw even more attention than Gomez. Between Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, the Blues defense will simply have too many attackers to account for when their opponent gets into the box.
As the match goes on and bodies start to tire out, Bayern will have the advantage on the attack.
Look for a withered Chelsea backline to fold under the immense pressure coupled with the hostile environment of Allianz Arena.