Champions League betting: Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea
It’s the Super Bowl of European soccer – not to be confused with the World Cup of European soccer, the upcoming Euro 2012 – when Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga faces Chelsea of the English Premier League in the Champions League final on Saturday. Bayern, which is the first club to ever play a Champions final in its home stadium, is a -135 betting favorite on WagerWeb.com.
Neither team was expected to be here. Bayern, which won Group A, upset Spanish La Liga champion Real Madrid on the two-game semifinals, advancing on penalty kicks after the teams tied at 3-3 in goals aggregate. Bayern finished second to Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga this year and was just beaten by that club 5-2 in the German Cup final on May 12.
Arjen Robben, one of Bayern’s star wingers, says defeats against Dortmund have only served to motivate the side even more than usual ahead of the “match of our lives.”
Mario Gomez is the best player on Bayern and is second among all players in this year’s Champions League scoring with 12 goals. Being at home should be a huge advantage as Bayern has won all seven of their European matches there this season, including a 2-0 group-stage victory against Premier League champions Manchester City.
Chelsea, meanwhile, upset the other Spanish power and defending Champions League winner Barcelona in the semis on aggregate. Chelsea did win the FA Cup early in May but finished a distant sixth in the EPL standings. Didier Drogba headlines Chelsea’s attack with five Champions League goals.
Bayern Munich is in its ninth Champions League final overall and first since losing in 2009 to Internazionale. Bayern has four titles to its credit. Chelsea has reached the final just once, losing to Manchester United four years ago.
It’s rare to approach a game of the magnitude of Saturday’s Champions League final with so many massive questions about the lineups of both sides.
Four Chelsea players — defenders John Terry (the captain) and Branislav Ivanovic, and midfielders Ramires and Raul Meireles — will be suspended for the final. But Chelsea will welcome back center-backs David Luiz and Gary Cahill, who both trained this week for the first time following respective hamstring injuries.
Bayern Munich will be without three suspended players: defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo, along with defenders Holger Badstuber and David Alaba.
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has revealed he had the Champions League final in mind when he paired Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres in Chelsea’s win over Blackburn this past weekend. Drogba and Torres both came off the bench in the Blues’ last Premier League game of the season, linking up for the final 21 minutes of the 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.
Di Matteo has never started the strikers in tandem since taking charge just over two months ago but confirmed he had been looking at potential options for this weekend’s showdown with Bayern Munich. The general feeling that they do not work as a duo, with neither having found the net in five starts together or on the 19 other occasions they have been on the pitch at the same time.