Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea: Scoring the Key Battles in the Champions League Final

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2012

Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea: Scoring the Key Battles in the Champions League Final

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    Chelsea have won the 2012 Champions League final on penalties after a massive struggle throughout 120 minutes against Bayern Munich.

    It was a game of massive one vs. one battles for the whole duration, and in the end Chelsea just about won enough of the most important of them to come out of the match victorious and win their first ever European Cup.

    After an estimated £1 billion, Roman Abramovich has his hands on the trophy he craved the most and now has a big decision to make about caretaker manager Roberto di Matteo and whether he should get the job on a full time basis.

    Right now, we take a look at those big individual battles throughout the game—and who came out on top of them.


Ashley Cole vs. Thomas Muller / Arjen Robben

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    Didier Drogba might have won the Man of the Match award but Ashley Cole can't have been too far behind him.

    The left-back was magnificent, making blocks all around and inside the penalty area and putting in vital tackles when needed.

    He started off the game up against Thomas Muller on the right side for Bayern, before Arjen Robben went over that side, but neither of them managed to regularly get the better of him.

    There were one or two moments which might have been key—an early ugly tackle might have earned him a yellow card had the referee gotten a better view of it. He was also blindsided by a far-post Thomas Muller run—who headed the opening goal of the game into the back of the net.

    However Chelsea escaped by scoring a late goal of their own and Cole went on to score an important penalty in the shoot-out.

    Winner: Ashley Cole

Frank Lampard and Jon Obi Mikel vs. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos

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    It was a game of big responsibility for Frank Lampard who was captain for Chelsea in the absence of suspended and disgraced defender John Terry.

    Playing as part of the deeper two central players alongside Jon Obi Mikel he was unable to perhaps get forward as much as he wanted to for most of the game and struggled to cope with the forward movement of Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

    Mikel held his position well but is not the dynamic type of player who can easily cope with two forward-thinking players against him and at times Chelsea failed to cope with Bayern's numbers in the final third.

    Possession-wise, Bayern clearly dominated most of the game and certainly translated that ball retention into plenty of chances.

    Credit where it is due: Lampard in particular was able to help his side relieve pressure during the second half and extra time by holding onto the ball and bringing his fellow midfielders into play for good spells.

    Winner: Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger

Ryan Bertrand vs. Philipp Lahm

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    Ryan Bertrand was thrust into the limelight and the pressure-intense scene of the Champions League final for his debut in the competition against Bayern Munich.

    He was deployed in a more advanced position than his natural one, filling in on the left of midfield to combat the threat of Bayern's right side which started off with Thomas Muller in midfield and Philipp Lahm in defence.

    The attack-minded Lahm was always quick to get forward and Bertrand certainly had his work cut out in dealing with him, but the 22-year old showed no fear and certainly no lack of talent in both attacking and defensive work.

    Quick passes, a fierce competitive nature and pace of the ball down the flank made Bertrand a good outlet and a stern opponent and he was often looking to get involved in Chelsea's counter-attacks in particular.

    Lahm for his part was always an outlet down the Bayern right and linked well with Arjen Robben once he tried his luck down the flank, but ultimately he could not put in any telling crosses.

    Bertrand eventually succumbed to injury mid-way through the second half but more than played his part in Chelsea's win.

    Winner: Ryan Bertrand

Petr Cech vs. Bayern Munich Penalties

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    Petr Cech is a fine goalkeeping specimen but he didn't have a great track record with saving penalties prior to the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

    Fair to say that reputation can be wiped clean for now.

    Penalty one vs. Arjen Robben: Saved

    Penalty two vs. Philipp Lahm: Scored

    Penalty three vs. Mario Gomez: Scored

    Penalty four vs. Manuel Neuer: Scored

    Penalty five vs. Ivica Olic: Saved

    Penalty six vs. Bastian Schweinsteiger: Saved

    Cech saved half of the penalties he faced during the match and the penalty shoot-out and played as big a part as anybody in the blues picking up the trophy.

    Winner: Petr Cech

Commentators vs. "Foreign" Names

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    I don't know about you, but commentators trying to pronounce some players' names with a little bit of flair gets right up my nose.

    Fair enough if they can do it...but do it always, or not at all.

    Who on earth is Fronk Ribery? Bastian Swine-steiger? Who, while we're on the subject, is Wan Matter?

    Why do they not suddenly burst into an American accent when Clint Dempsey has the ball, or an Aussie one when Mark Schwarzer makes a save?

    Do they come over all Ukrainian-accented on us when Anatoliy Tymoshchuk is on the move?


    So do yourselves a favour and stick to your own tongue and accent.

    Winner: Nobody, especially not my ears

Roberto Di Matteo vs. Roman Abramovich

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    "Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to take this bunch of under-performing, over-paid, ageing footballers sitting outside the Champions League spots and get us back into next season's Champions League."

    Right so, maybe Roman Abramovich's conversation with Roberto di Matteo didn't quite go like that when he hired him as interim manager until the season's end—but di Matteo has somehow scraped Chelsea back into the biggest European competition.

    Finishing sixth in the league was nowhere near good enough to achieve it, nor to stake a claim for the job on a full-time basis, but Chelsea have also won the FA Cup and now the Champions League under di Matteo's guidance.

    Not bad for three months or so in the job.

    And still he's not assured of getting it full-time!

    Winner: this space!