Head-to-head: Gomez v Drogba

Ahead of the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea, we examine the two clubs' star strikers, Mario Gomez and Didier Drogba.


With both sides expected to line up in 4-2-3-1 formations at Munich's own Allianz Arena, Gomez and Drogba will shoulder the brunt of the attacking burden as the two lone strikers on display.

Though two very different players, they are both firmly amongst Europe's most respected centre-forwards. But who will come out on top?

We canvassed the opinion of two of our experts and examined the statistics of both men across the 2011-12 season to try and find out...

MARIO GOMEZ (Fabian Kunze, Eurosport Germany)

Despite scoring 26 goals in 33 league matches, Gomez is not normally the player to decide games on his own. His strike-rate depends on how he links up with his team-mates. He always needs someone to assist him (unlike Franck Ribery or Arjen Robben, who can make the difference in every single match) - just like Philipp Lahm did during the 2-1 win against Real in Munich.

However, Gomez is very important for Bayern's style of play. He is the first player attacking opponents and putting pressure on the ball high up the pitch, so he gives his team-mates behind him the chance to intercept a poor pass. Gomez has also been working more and more on the defensive side of his game since Jupp Heynckes took charge at Bayern, so he is a precious part of Bayern's defensive game.

Aside from his qualities in working for the team, he's quite unpredictable within the box. In domestic club games he has scored 28 goals - 15 with his right foot and eight with his left foot, but he also scored five headers. His big strength is his quick reactions: he's at his best when he tries to score directly and decides against controlling the ball first. If Chelsea's defenders give him the chance to have a shot in the box, he will definitely take this chance.

His biggest weakness? How he links up with his team-mates. He only claimed three assists in the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal this season and you can always bet he'll try to go for goal when he has ball - sometimes it seems he is in a tunnel, only focused on the goal, not seeing anything else.

Even with his number of goals, Gomez was questioned when he failed to score for three matches in a row earlier in the season - then he came back with a hat-trick against Hoffenheim in March. That's normally his way to answer critics. Off the pitch and in interviews he's a good analyst of the game, who is not afraid of telling uncomfortable truths.

DIDER DROGBA (Tom Adams, British Eurosport)

If this does prove to be Didier Drogba's final season as a Chelsea player, it will be fitting if the 34-year-old takes his leave of the club having demonstrated one last time why he has been such a integral figure in the establishment of the Blues as a major European force during the Roman Abramovich years.

At first glance, his unimpressive league tally of just five goals for the 2011-12 season appears an aberration, but Drogba has never been the most prolific of Premier League centre-forwards - indeed he has hit the 20-goal mark only twice in eight seasons at Stamford Bridge.

Instead, it is his physical strength, his ominous presence and the fear he strikes into cowering opposition defenders, coupled with an unerring ability to rise to the occasion, that have seen him carve out a place as one of the most effective and devastating strikers of modern times in the English game.

Though Andre Villas-Boas seemed to prefer Fernando Torres in the lone striking role before his abrupt departure in March, Roberto Di Matteo quickly restored Drogba to a position of prominence and the Ivory Coast star rewarded the caretaker manager with a goal in the FA Cup final victory over Liverpool, continuing his fine record of scoring in big games at Wembley.

Drogba has unfinished business with the Champions League having been dismissed in Chelsea's defeat to Manchester United in the Moscow final of 2008, as well as exiting in disgrace when Barcelona knocked them out at the semi-final stage the following year and, with his contract expiring at the end of the season, is aiming to depart Stamford Bridge having scored the most important goal in the club's 107-year history to cement his status as a Chelsea great.


Our infographic below shows that Gomez is by far the more prolific of the two players yet, as explained above, Drogba has a more intangible ability to perform on the big occasion.

Who do you think is the better player? Let us know in the comments section below.

View photo


View comments (0)