Champions League - Europe predicts: Bayern 4, Chelsea 3
Sat, 19 May 11:40:00 2012
We asked Eurosport's contintental network of journalists to predict the Champions League final, and Bayern Munich emerged as narrow favourites.
Each of the seven journalists expects a tight final, but four predicted glory for the Germans compared with three backing Chelsea.
Read on for our experts' predictions.
BAYERN MUNICH WIN
Germany - Daniel Rathjen
This is a unique moment for Bayern. If they cannot do it now, in their own stadium, then when? Despite a disppointing season in league and cup, all will be forgotten if they win the big one. That dream has made the vanity of some players like Franck Ribery or Arjen Robben fade into the background. Everyone in the club understands that it is all about the team, Bayern Munich, their club. It is crucial that the Bayern's leaders are at 100 percent - from the first until the last minute. Schweinsteiger has a special duty. For him, it's the ultimate test. The Bavarians have a historic opportunity. My prediction: This time they will do it.
UK - Tom Adams
Though they have been comprehensively mastered by Dortmund in domestic competition this season, there is no doubt whatsoever that Bayern remain one of Europe's most talented sides. With Ramires suspended, it is in the wide positions that Bayern are clearly superior to Chelsea. If Robben and Ribery are allowed freedom to play and space to find Gomez in attack then Chelsea will suffer. Keep them quiet and victory could be theirs. The generation of Schweinsteiger and Lahm will never have a better chance to emulate the great Bayern teams of the past. I expect them to get a narrow victory.
Italy - Luca Stacul
Bayern seem like big favourites. They were pretty good against Real Madrid in the semis, while Chelsea had to defend all the way. But the past is irrelevant in finals, particularly a strange one like this where seven players are suspended. Bayern need their makeshift defender Tymoshchuk to have a perfect game against Drogba, while Chelsea will miss Terry and Ramires in particular. My prediction:1-1 after 120 minutes, Bayern wins on penalties.
Turkey - Cagri Develioglu
Bayern seem like favourites. They will play at the Allianz Arena and Bavarians have really good players: Kroos, Robben, Ribery... Mario Gomez is very effective striker. And they reached the final playing football. Good and fast football. Chelsea have a really strong defensive line and experienced players. They don;t have the pressure of playing at home, but they know how badly Roman Abromovich wants this trophy. My score prediction in 120 min is 2-2. Bayern wins on penalties.
Logically, Bayern should win. They play better football, have better players, a better coach and have better unity within the squad. But... in Spain we will never forget the 2002 Copa del Rey final, on the centenary day of Real Madrid, when Deportivo La Coruna won 2-1 at the Bernabeu. The Madrid fans thought i twas a forgone conclusion and underestimated a very good Depor team. This feels like a similar game. It will be much tighter than people expect. I never win bets, but I will predict a draw, with Chelsea winning on penalties.
If you forget the German Cup final, where Bayern defended terribly, this is a green light for Munich: they are at home, they have more talent and more attacking options. They were better than Real Madrid in the semi-finals and have been less badly affected by suspensions. But a final is not an ordinary match and Chelsea seem to be writing their own script in the Champions League this season - one of survival. It is this team's last chance together, and that could be the X-factor. Let's say 55%-45% for Chelsea. It could be like a rugby match - discipline will be key.
Russia - Igor Zelenitsyn
On one hand, Bayern played much more attractive football in the semis and are playing the final at home, and Chelsea are missing some top players. Despite that, I am betting on the Blues. They are used to playing as underdogs and thrive under pressure - not just against Barcelona, but also in the FA Cup final where they scored with their first two shots on targets. They have ready-made replacements for the suspended players except at right-back where Bosingwa looks vulnerable against Ribery. Even so, I think Chelsea will win.
Drogba ready for final