Champions League - Inter v Bayern: Key battles

Eurosport - Sat, 22 May 08:00:00 2010

Five head-to-head battles to watch out for in Saturday's Champions League final between Internazionale and Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu.

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1. Julio Cesar v Hans-Jorg Butt

Inter's Brazilian goalkeeper has been inspired throughout the campaign and produced a string of fine saves in the semi-final against Barcelona. The Brazilian has 47 caps for his country and Inter have won the Serie A title every year he has been between the posts.

Butt, who spent much of his career behind Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehmann in the pecking order for Germany, has enjoyed a distinguished season for the Bundesliga champions. However, the 35-year-old looked hesitant in the quarter-final tie with Manchester United, and was not overly tested against Lyon in the last four.

2. Lucio v Ivica Olic

The Brazilian defender has been imperious in Inter's run to the final, and has forged a very assured partnership with Walter Samuel at the heart of Jose Mourinho's defence. With Maicon and Javier Zanetti either side of him, Lucio will be supremely confident of keeping his former side at bay.

Olic has been a very prominent factor in Bayern reaching the Madrid showpiece, and the feisty Croat clearly revels on the big stage. The forward has netted seven times in nine appearances, including crucial goals in both legs against Manchester United at the quarter-final stage.

3. Arjen Robben v Javier Zanetti

Robben (pictured) has been many people's player of the tournament, and the Dutch winger counts a vital strike against United and a screamer to send Fiorentina packing among his four goals in the campaign. In the absence of fellow winger Franck Ribery, Robben will harbour the hopes of all Bayern fans going into the final.

In Zanetti, Inter possess a captain of consummate professionalism and composure. The Argentine has proved his enduring class throughout the tournament, particularly against Barcelona in stifling the runs of compatriot Lionel Messi, and will be on his guard once more in an attempt to thwart Robben.

4. Wesley Sneijder v Mark van Bommel

Sneijder is the jewel in Inter's midfield and the Dutchman has been in inspired form, executing the crucial role in behind Diego Milito and sitting on opposing playmakers. Three goals and five assists have seen the former Real Madrid maestro excel under Mourinho's stewardship, and he will be particularly keen to impress on his return to the Bernabeu.

Van Bommel's contribution to Bayern's progression has been largely underplayed, but the curly-haired midfield 'bomber' unleashed one of his trademark strikes to send his side through when under the cosh against Fiorentina. The skipper adds steel and resilience to complement the guile and pace of Robben et al.

5. Diego Milito v Daniel van Buyten

Samuel Eto'o was expected to lead the line for Inter this season, but the form and consistency of Milito has seen the Cameroonian confined to a starting berth out wide. The Argentine has netted four times and provided clinical finishes at opportune moments in Inter's campaign, while working tirelessly to force opposing back fours deep inside their half, with Eto'o flanking him along with Goran Pandev.

Van Buyten has been exposed on a couple of occasions so far in the competition, most notably against Fiorentina in the last 16, and the imposing defender will have to be at his most commanding to alleviate the danger of Milito and co. The ever-impressive Philip Lahm will be expected to provide generous cover from left-back if Louis Van Gaal's side are to prevail.


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