Bayern Munich-Inter Milan: An Early Champions League Final Preview
Well, now that the two Champions League semifinal matchups have come to a close, we now know who will be playing in the final on May 22 in Madrid's Estadio Santiago Bernabeu stadium. Bayern Munich will face Inter Milan in what should be a great Champions League final.
The way Bayern Munich got to the final was by sneaking through Group A in their final match against Juventus, starting their crazy ride to the knockout stages.
In the round of 16, Bayern controversially defeated Fiorentina on away goals before getting past Manchester United also on away goals.
In the semifinal against Lyon, Bayern were able to complete the job as they got past Lyon 4-0 on aggregate, in large part due to a hat trick in the second leg by Ivica Olic.
Meanwhile for Inter Milan, they too have had an interesting road to the final.
It all started by scraping through Group F by beating Rubin Kazan 2-0 on matchday six to move on to the round of 16 against Chelsea.
And against Chelsea, Inter were able to continue rolling. They beat the Blues 3-1 on aggregate (including 1-0 at Stamford Bridge) to face CSKA Moscow in the Champions League quarterfinals, who they beat 2-0 on aggregate to reach their first Champions League semifinal since 2003 against Barcelona.
And against Barcelona, Inter were able to win the first leg at the San Siro by a 3-1 score, and were able to defend well enough against Barcelona to overcome a 1-0 loss in the Camp Nou to advance onto the Champions League final
Now that we know who will be playing in this Champions League final, here is my complete preview of the match as we look to see who will be the Champions of Europe.
Now that they are in their first Champions League final since 2001 (in which they beat Valencia 5-4 on penalties), Bayern Munich will look to become the fourth ever club to win the Champions League.
Bayern could find themselves without French star Franck Ribery due to a red card he received in the first leg against Lyon, although that has now been appealed.
In this Champions League final, it will be key for Bayern to not only get off to a great start, but to make sure that they can find ways to exploit the Inter defense.
By doing this, Bayern will be able to get their attacking options of Arjen Robben, Ivica Olic, and Mark van Bommel (among others) to test Julio Cesar early and often.
The second major key to me for Bayern Munich will be to make sure that midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has another fantastic match as the one he had in the second leg against Lyon.
In the match, Schweinsteiger truly was the main catalyst for Bayern, and he could prove to be the most important player in this Champions League final.
And the final key for me in this Champions League final for Bayern Munich will be the defensive effort put together by Philipp Lahm and Daniel Van Buyten, both of who had fantastic games against Lyon, and must once again have an effort similar to the semifinal for Bayern to win the Champions League.
If Bayern could put all of this together, then they will have a great chance of winning the Champions League for the fifth time in their history.
For the first time since 1972, Inter Milan have now found themselves in the Champions League final as they look to win the Champions League for only the third time in their illustrious history.
Of course, going 45 years since the last time they won the Champions League is a number that all Inter fans will look to rid themselves from in this final.
Inter will be without the services of Thiago Motta due to the red card he received against Barcelona in the second leg.
In this Champions League final, the first major key for Inter will be to continue to build off their belief that they are the best in the world.
The way they will do this is by starting off a constant attack and never allowing Bayern to even get a sniff of an attack.
The next order on the agenda for Inter in this match will be to make sure that they do not have another defensive minded performance as the one they had against Barcelona.
Hopefully Inter will not put a product similar to the one at the Camp Nou on display 385 miles to the west in Madrid on May 22, regardless if they are down a man or not.
And the final goal that Inter must achieve in this final will be to shut down Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger, as that will be extremely important to Inter's success in this match.
If Inter Milan can do all this, they will have a great chance of winning their first Champions League final since 1965 on May 22.
Finally, on May 22 we should see one of the greatest Champions League finals in history as these two European giants both will want to be crowned Champions of Europe.
In this final, both sides will play their best possible game, but only one of them will be out on top in this Champions League final.
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