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Champions League Final 2012 - Chelsea 1 (4) - (3) 1 Bayern Munich


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There's a dilemma for me. Drogba can outmuscle anybody in the world, so second rate defenders should be no problem, but van Buyten has all the speed and agility of an oil tanker, so perhaps a smaller, more agile player could really wreak havoc?

At any rate I think we are favourites going into this one. Their three big attacking players are suspect, as I've said before, Scarface and Robben absolutely hate each other with a passion so consuming that it hopefully disturbs their ability, and Gomez only delivers on the big occasion rarely. Cahill and Luiz are in fantastic form, and Cech recently has been playing well enough for him to join Neuer at the top of the goalkeeper's list. Cole can shut down Scarface or Robben, the problem will be right back. We'll probably lose the midfield battle and concede 55-60% possession, but I'm still confident that their defensive losses will prove decisive in the tie and Drogba shall go out on a high.

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Bayern will miss 3 players due to yellow cards:

Badstuber, Gustavo, and Alaba.

Gustavo is one of 3 excellent defensive midfielders playing for Bayern. The other 2 are Schweinsteiger (who is almost fully back in form) and Kroos. Gustavo missing means that Kroos and Schweinsteiger will be the 2 DMs in Bayern's 4-2-3-1. However, Kroos is Bayern's prefered #1 in the center behind the striker Gomez. Thomas Mueller, who was a sub in the RM games, will fill that role as the CAM behind Gomez. This means that the 2 defensive midfielders will still be first choice, and the CAM will be a second choice (but a good one at that), so overall Bayern's attack and midfield will get very slightly weaker for the final.

Their D is another story. Badstuber and Alaba form half of their backline, which is good, but very thin on the bench. Watching my fair share of Bundesliga and Bayern this year, it seems that Rafinha might be sub choice #1 and van Buyten would be after him. This would mean playing Phillip Lahm on the left, where he is slightly less effective. Buyten is prone to errors if pressed and Rafinha is mediocre at best. Alternatively, if Lahm is kept on the right, we may see Contento or even Breno (who is terrible) hit the pitch.

Either way, Bayern's defence, which is their weakness even at full strength, will be considerably weaker for this match. That is good news for us, as we are missing some key players of our own. However I believe our team is the deeper one, and this will make the difference. We may be missing 4 players to their 3 due to cards, but we have the superior replacements.

Gustavo's yellow will be no problem as we can use Anatoliy Tymoshchuk as a DM, Kroos can still start in his normal position,

the problem is Badstuber's yellow,van Buyten and Breno are out, well actually, van Buyten just started training, so hopefully, he could be fit by than, I hope to see Contento play, as him and Ribery have a history of a left flank partnership tomorrow.

I hope to see this

-Neuer-

-Lahm-Boateng-van Buyten-Contento-

-Tymoshchuk-Schweinsteiger-

-Robben-Kroos-Ribery-

-Gomez-

Bayern are still strong on the right flank, but the left flank has now been weakened.

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Gustavo's yellow will be no problem as we can use Anatoliy Tymoshchuk as a DM, Kroos can still start in his normal position,

the problem is Badstuber's yellow,van Buyten and Breno are out, well actually, van Buyten just started training, so hopefully, he could be fit by than, I hope to see Contento play, as him and Ribery have a history of a left flank partnership tomorrow.

I hope to see this

-Neuer-

-Lahm-Boateng-van Buyten-Contento-

-Tymoshchuk-Schweinsteiger-

-Robben-Kroos-Ribery-

-Gomez-

Bayern are still strong on the right flank, but the left flank has now been weakened.

How good is Boateng? Kroos and Schweinsteiger are absolute class, Tymoschuk was pretty good when he was younger as well. I think Bayern will comfortably control the midfield because we're missing two of our best harassers in Meireles and Ramires, Mikel doesn't quite cut it as that style of midfielder.

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Gustavo's yellow will be no problem as we can use Anatoliy Tymoshchuk as a DM, Kroos can still start in his normal position,

the problem is Badstuber's yellow,van Buyten and Breno are out, well actually, van Buyten just started training, so hopefully, he could be fit by than, I hope to see Contento play, as him and Ribery have a history of a left flank partnership tomorrow.

I hope to see this

-Neuer-

-Lahm-Boateng-van Buyten-Contento-

-Tymoshchuk-Schweinsteiger-

-Robben-Kroos-Ribery-

-Gomez-

Bayern are still strong on the right flank, but the left flank has now been weakened.

Good thinking, and that might be what Heynckes goes with.

What about a backline such as this:

Rafinha-Boateng-van Buyten-Lahm

I think that is the strongest they could do under the circumstances (niether flank is a glaring weakness). And starting Kroos up front means Tymo will play. Tymo is not a liability, but he is not top quality like the other 3 DMs. I think with your lineup, both the DM positions and the defence are weakened. Kroos plays a lot as DM for the German NT so some might argue that this is indeed his natural position.

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How good is Boateng? Kroos and Schweinsteiger are absolute class, Tymoschuk was pretty good when he was younger as well. I think Bayern will comfortably control the midfield because we're missing two of our best harassers in Meireles and Ramires, Mikel doesn't quite cut it as that style of midfielder.

Boateng was a bit mediocre in the beginning of the season, lately he has stepped up and formed a good partnership with Badstuber and has become world class, to bad Badstuber will miss the final :(

Tymoschuck could step up during big games, and he has a great partnership with Schweinsteiger!

My only fear is van Buytens return, I hope he is fit by this weekend, otherwise, it would look foolish to play him in the final, after being injured for four months.

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How good is Boateng? Kroos and Schweinsteiger are absolute class, Tymoschuk was pretty good when he was younger as well. I think Bayern will comfortably control the midfield because we're missing two of our best harassers in Meireles and Ramires, Mikel doesn't quite cut it as that style of midfielder.

Not spectacular, but a good tackler and a very physical specimen. He starts for the German NT. Overall I rate him as a very good CB. Definitely several levels above a player like van Buyten.

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Good thinking, and that might be what Heynckes goes with.

What about a backline such as this:

Rafinha-Boateng-van Buyten-

Lahm

I think that is the strongest they could do under the circumstances (niether flank is a glaring weakness). And starting Kroos up front means Tymo will play. Tymo is not a liability, but he is not top quality like the other 3 DMs. I think with your lineup, both the DM positions and the defence are weakened. Kroos plays a lot as DM for the German NT so some might argue that this is indeed his natural position.

The Schweinsteiger-Kroos partnership will never work, Kroos is just never as defensive as Gustavo or Tymo are. The Schweini-Tymo partnership works well together, Tymo helps defend, allowing Schweini to attack more.

I wouldn't trust Rafinha as a LB, his usual position is at RB, and I have never recalled seeing him player there, not even at Genoa. I wouldn't trust him there.

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The Schweinsteiger-Kroos partnership will never work, Kroos is just never as defensive as Gustavo or Tymo are. The Schweini-Tymo partnership works well together, Tymo helps defend, allowing Schweini to attack more.

I wouldn't trust Rafinha as a LB, his usual position is at RB, and I have never recalled seeing him player there, not even at Genoa. I wouldn't trust him there.

Right, swap Lahm with Rafinha then, it works even better?

And Kroos-Schweinsteiger has been tried at the NT level, Kroos cannot defend well its true, but Schweinsteiger can. He is bumped to a more defensive role whereas Kroos is usually the one to kick start the offence from the DM pairing (like he has done with Khedira at the NT during Schweinsteiger's injury).

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Right, swap Lahm with Rafinha then, it works even better?

And Kroos-Schweinsteiger has been tried at the NT level, Kroos cannot defend well its true, but Schweinsteiger can. He is bumped to a more defensive role whereas Kroos is usually the one to kick start the offence from the DM pairing (like he has done with Khedira at the NT during Schweinsteiger's injury).

I wouldn't put Lahm back to being a LB, he just adjusted as a RB, and the worst thing we can do is move him back to being a LB, Contento works well with Ribery, so that is no worry.

Well the thing is, you can not play Mueller, Schweinsteiger, or Kroos at the same time. Every game where that has been attempted, it has failed.

What is Chelsea's lineup going to be like? Will Luiz be fit by the time he returns?

What will Chelsea's lineup be like?

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I wouldn't put Lahm back to being a LB, he just adjusted as a RB, and the worst thing we can do is move him back to being a LB, Contento works well with Ribery, so that is no worry.

Well the thing is, you can not play Mueller, Schweinsteiger, or Kroos at the same time. Every game where that has been attempted, it has failed.

What is Chelsea's lineup going to be like? Will Luiz be fit by the time he returns?

What will Chelsea's lineup be like?

It's nearly a month away, I think Luiz and Cahill will be fine. If we are at full strength it will most likely be something like this:

390110_Chelsea.jpg

There are a few things that can be different though. Essien may not play at all, so it would be Kalou-Mata-Sturridge and Lampard partnering Mikel; or the same thing except with Malouda instead of Essien. Also, Paulo Ferreira may play instead of Bosingwa.

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How well is the Mikel-Essien partnership in the midfield? Has it been used before?

Also, how well do Cahill-Luiz work together?

It looks to me that both sides defenses have fallen apart. At least nothing happened to the offensive sides.

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How well is the Mikel-Essien partnership in the midfield? Has it been used before?

Also, how well do Cahill-Luiz work together?

It looks to me that both sides defenses have fallen apart. At least nothing happened to the offensive sides.

I think our defence will be just fine. And I'm sure the pairings will be tested thoroughly in the coming weeks.

The only liablity will come where Bosingwa is concerned. Both him and Ferreira are mediocre. The give Robben a huge chance to secure himself some CL glory, against our right flank.

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The amount of luck we've had against Barca compared to all the bad luck we've had in previous years, you just get the feeling that this is our year & we're destined to win the CL.

Luck? couple of balls hitting the bar is luck?

You know what luck is?

Goal given that never was.

Turning 5 stonewall penalties down.

Player slipping on the wet pitch and misses the winning penalty kick.

Refereeing decisions going your way is Luck.

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How well is the Mikel-Essien partnership in the midfield? Has it been used before?

Also, how well do Cahill-Luiz work together?

It looks to me that both sides defenses have fallen apart. At least nothing happened to the offensive sides.

First off, I doubt you have to worry about the Essien-Mikel partnership. Mata will most likely play as CAM meaning it will be a Mikel-Lampard partnership in DM. The Lampard-Mikel partnership has been high class. Mikel has become a good holding player and Lampard has re-invented himself in a deeper role. It will be a solid partnership.

I don't know about your defence, but ours is definitely in good shape. Luiz-Cahill partnership has been very good and Solid. We can cope without JT just fine. He got sent of against Barcelona and we defended just as well.

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The amount of luck we've had against Barca compared to all the bad luck we've had in previous years, you just get the feeling that this is our year & we're destined to win the CL.

I think so, as well the stars have aligned for us. Some say we've been lucky this year, but some credit must go to our defence for forcing the opposition to miscue their shots just slightly enough for the post/Cech to bail us out.

This contrasts with Moscow when I was thinking more along the lines of the stars being aligned for United.

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I think our defence will be just fine. And I'm sure the pairings will be tested thoroughly in the coming weeks.

The only liablity will come where Bosingwa is concerned. Both him and Ferreira are mediocre. The give Robben a huge chance to secure himself some CL glory, against our right flank.

Bosingwa has a great record against the best wingers around. He lifts his game several notches when he's up against them, shame he's not arsed when he's facing the Victor Moses' of the world.

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