Exclusive: Ruud Gullit on Why Bayern Munich Are Favourites to Win UCL Final

Sam PilgerContributing Football WriterMay 24, 2013

Ruud Gullit won the European Cup twice with AC Milan.
Ruud Gullit won the European Cup twice with AC Milan.Claudio Villa/Getty Images

When you ask Ruud Gullit, a Champions League winner with AC Milan in 1989 and 1990, why he believes Bayern Munich are the favourites to triumph at Wembley, he gives two simple reasons: Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. 

“If those two are on fire in the final and each have a really great game, then I think Bayern will win,” Gullit told Bleacher Report in his role as an ambassador for MasterCard, a UEFA Champions League sponsor. 

“I love watching those two flying down the wings, they make Bayern brilliant to watch. They are both so fast and full of tricks, defenders absolutely hate playing against them.” 

Gullit has watched with interest, as his fellow countryman Robben has evolved from a promising young talent with Groningen and PSV Eindhoven in Holland into one of the world’s leading talents at Chelsea, Real Madrid and now Bayern. 

“I think now he is 29 you can say he has fulfilled his potential. He has been a great player.

“Yes, he can be greedy, but that’s why he’s so good. Sometimes being selfish can work for him, but it’s true sometimes it also doesn’t.” 

The one key for Bayern is that they don’t allow the experience of losing last year’s final to Chelsea at home in Munich unsettle them in this year's final.  

“We all know they should have beaten Chelsea, but they ended up losing. So they will be under a lot of pressure now to not make the same mistakes,” said Gullit. 

“They have to keep that fear at bay. Inside their heads they will be thinking, ‘Don’t mess it up again,’ and that could cause them a lot of stress. If they can get over that mental hurdle, then they will be very difficult to stop.” 

The other hurdle for Bayern is, of course, their opponents, Borussia Dortmund, who have impressed Gullit this season. 

“I have seen them a few times this season, and they are a fine team, who have a real chance in this final too. They have flair and an amazing work rate, and when they played Real Madrid in the first leg of the semifinals, they didn’t give them a sniff.

“A lot will depend on whether the team can feed their striker Robert Lewandowski, who is a strange player as he looks clumsy. But he is actually a very technical player.” 

When suggested to Gullit that the Polish striker reminds some of his former AC Milan and Holland teammate Marco van Basten, he let out a laugh. “Come on, no, Marco is Macro. He is the greatest.” 

“At the moment, Lewandowski is not even close. He still has a lot to prove, but a good place to start would be by helping his team win the Champions League."


All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.