Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea: 10 Guarantees for Champions League Final in Munich

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterMay 15, 2012

Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea: 10 Guarantees for Champions League Final in Munich

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    It's way past time for some foolhardy predictions.

    In fact, let's call them guarantees. I'm feeling a bit frisky today in the prediction department.

    The UEFA Champions League final is set for this Saturday in Munich, with Bayern Munich hosting-but-not-really-hosting Chelsea at Allianz Arena.

    Kickoff is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. Eastern, with American TV coverage on FOX.

    The rest? Keep reading to find out what's in store.

David Luiz Will Play

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    Chelsea face a potential selection crisis ahead of Saturday's final, with several players suspended and key defenders David Luiz and Gary Cahill fighting injuries.

    Both Luiz and Cahill have missed time recently with hamstring issues, but Luiz announced this week that he expects to play.

    From ESPN.co.uk:

    "It is improving," Luiz is quoted as saying by the Evening Standard. "On the pitch I am now more comfortable. I am confident [I will be ready]. I have one game that will be more special than all the games before and for this I hope to play on Saturday."

    Look for Luiz to play, whether as a starter or substitute. Chelsea need him.

Cahill Too

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    The news on Cahill is also good.

    Both Cahill and Luiz were set to train with the team on Tuesday. Here's what interim Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo told The Guardian on Tuesday:

    Di Matteo said on Sunday that David Luiz and Cahill's fight to be fit would "probably" go right up to the day of the game, so their attempt to train was a huge boost for the Blues.

    "Gary and David are going to try to train with us today," Di Matteo said of the centre-back pairing, who have both been out for around a month with hamstring injuries.

    Like Luiz, Cahill will play on Saturday. Chelsea need him too.

But Not Malouda

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    Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda is also trying to recover from a hamstring injury. But Malouda's injury happened much more recently, and it's unlikely we'll see him play against Bayern.

    From The Guardian:

    Malouda failed to complete the first half of Chelsea's final Premier League game of the season against Blackburn on Sunday having strained a hamstring. Di Matteo said: "Flo, we'll still assess and it's going to be touch and go for him to be available for Saturday."

    I'd be surprised if Malouda recovers in time.

Mentioning Suspensions

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    There's a good reason for Di Matteo to be so concerned about his injured players.

    Chelsea will play Saturday without John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles. All are suspended for the final.

    Bayern's roster will also be depleted, with Holger Badstuber, David Alaba and Luiz Gustavo missing out due to suspension.

    All of those players besides Terry were suspended because of yellow card accumulation during the knockout stages. Terry received a straight red card in Chelsea's semifinal second leg against Barcelona.

    With so many players missing because of such a controversial rule, expect the commentators—no matter where you're watching—to mention the rule at least 10 times during the telecast.

    At least.

High Score

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    Even if David Luiz and Gary Cahill recover in time to play for Chelsea, both teams will probably field under-strength defenses.

    With that in mind, I'm expecting a high-scoring game.

    Chelsea held Barcelona to two goals over two legs in the semifinals, but I don't think they'll have the players to do the same against Bayern.

    I'm expecting at least four total goals in the game; maybe more.

Drogba to Score

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    One of those goalscorers will be Chelsea's Didier Drogba.

    Why?

    He's a big-game player, and he always seems to come through for Chelsea when it counts.

Gomez Too

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    This one's almost too easy.

    As B/R's Christopher Hall writes:

    Mario Gomez has 24 goals in 36 Champions League matches.

    In domestic play, no one else on Bayern has even half the number of goals the big striker has scored.

    Gomez can quite simply light up the board. Bayern expect him to score. Bayern need him to score.

    Gomez would have had his chances anyway. But with John Terry suspended for stupidity and Gary Cahill and David Luiz taking the field fresh off injury, the big man could well turn the final into a rout early on.

    Agreed.

    I think Ashley Cole will keep Bayern's Arjen Robben pretty quiet, so Gomez will be a key player for the Bavarians.

Neville's Celebrations

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    When Didier Drogba does score for Chelsea, Gary Neville will wet his pants. Count on it.

    If you saw Chelsea's semifinal second leg against Barcelona, the memory of Neville hilariously celebrating Fernando Torres' late equalizer is seared into your memory.

    If not, here's a clip.

    Neville, as we all know, was recently tapped for a post on new England boss Roy Hodgson's staff. But as this article from Sky Sports points out, Neville "will also continue with his Sky commitments."

    To me, that reads as "Neville will lose his lunch celebrating a Chelsea goal in the Champions League final."

Spurs Heart Bayern

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    Fans of Tottenham Hotspur, meanwhile, will be supporting Bayern Munich.

    Spurs finished fourth in the English Premier League this season, and that brought with it a spot in next season's Champions League qualifiers.

    But there's a problem.

    If Chelsea win Saturday's match, the Blues will claim England's fourth and final Champions League berth.

    Tottenham would then be relegated to the Europa League.

    Is it possible for the fans of one team to melt down Twitter by rooting openly for another team?

    We'll find out this Saturday.

Bayern to Win

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    Don't worry, Spurs. You'll get your wish.

    Bayern 3, Chelsea 2.

    In regular time.

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