Football

Bayern’s humiliation could aid underdogs Chelsea

Bayern may be questioning themselves (©GettyImages)
Bayern may be questioning themselves (©GettyImages).

Roberto di Matteo put on a brave face when he answered questions about the state of the Chelsea squad ahead of the Champions League final.

 

After an under-par league season for the Stamford Bridge side, the meeting with Bayern Munich has come as an unexpected chance to save themselves from the draining drudgery of a Europa League campaign.

 

They have been tagged as underdogs leading up to the game for a number of reasons. From the game being played at Bayern’s home ground, to the suspension of key players, the Blues won't exactly be in rude health.

 

On the face of it, deeming the Bundesliga side favourites is not that great a stretch, but they will be going into the game licking the wounds inflicted from a severe mauling at the hands of German champions Borussia Dortmund.

 

Berlin’s Olympiastadion was the setting for the German Cup final on Saturday and the Bundesliga holders put Jupp Heynckes' side to the sword in a 5-2 victory.

 

Shinji Kagawa opened the scoring after just three minutes, but Arjen Robben levelled from the spot after Mario Gomez was brought down by Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.

 

The champions went ahead once more four minutes before half-time with a Mats Hummels penalty and top-scorer Robert Lewandowski added a third in first-half injury time.

 

Bayern were stunned and could not recover as Lewandowski completed his hat-trick in the second half either side of a delightful Franck Ribery strike.

 

It was clearly a blow to Bayern and marked their biggest ever defeat in a final; reactions from the players were all about trying to forget an almost harrowing experience ahead of their final chance to capture a title.

 

“We have to stand as one and show what we're made of,” said Bastian Schweinsteiger, whereas club captain Philipp Lahm told his teammates: “We have to dust ourselves down and forget the Dortmund game quickly.”

 

A year with no silverware is a something that is not usually tolerated at the Bavarian club and the Champions League provides the only chance left to avoid such a scenario.

 

Chelsea have cultivated the appearance of an underdog for the game, though a lot of it has been down to the suspensions they picked up in their unlikely defeat of Barcelona in the last round.

 

Raul Meireles, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and, probably most importantly, captain John Terry will be absent due to disciplinary action.

 

Added to this are the doubts over the fitness of central defensive pair David Luiz and Gary Cahill, who have only returned to training this week after they both picked up hamstring injuries in recent weeks.

 

Florent Malouda is another name added to the list of doubts for the game that takes place on Saturday evening.

 

Hearing the extent of Chelsea’s injuries and suspensions, added to the venue of the game, saying Bayern should probably win is a bit of an understatement.

 

But how badly has their cup final defeat damaged them? The way in which they were despatched by Jurgen Klopp’s young side cannot be underestimated and was further evidence of a neurosis on the part of Germany’s traditionally dominant side.

 

It was the fifth loss in a row to BVB, but the previous four defeats were much closer and the last two were won by a single goal.

 

This one was a comprehensive whooping and the players looked dejected at the final whistle.

 

It was Borussia’s first ever league and cup double, an historic moment they greeted with creative freedom and dynamism – there was no tightening up in the face of cementing the side’s legendary status in the history of the club, not with the players safe in the cocoon of Klopp’s tactical mastery.

 

There will be desperation in the air at the Allianz Arena as Bayern try and salvage some modicum of positivity from a season that could be seeing the beginning of a dynasty in North Rhine-Westphalia.

 

BVB have already convinced exciting young German talent Marco Reus to join them over the side from Munich, Mats Hummels – a former Bayern player – has resisted their advances to return to Bavaria and now Bayern have been brushed aside in the cup showpiece.

 

Chelsea and Roberto di Matteo have their own problems to think about, but they will be facing a team who are damaged and vulnerable.

 

It could be that Dortmund are not only beating Bayern regularly, but also now helping them to beat themselves.

Topics:
European News
Football
Chelsea
UEFA Champions League

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