Chelsea ’s season and future hangs in the balance as the club prepares to face Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final at the Allianz Arena on May 19.
Fourth place and Champions League qualification via the league are now impossible after the Blues were demolished at Anfield by Liverpool 4-1.
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo made several changes to the team that saw off Liverpool on Saturday to win the FA Cup.
The Italian will not have been impressed with some of the performances he saw Tuesday. Michael Essien, Oriol Romeu and Paulo Ferreira did little for their chances of being including in Di Matteo’s squad for the final.
The one thing Chelsea do have in its favor is the fact the team have flourished in Europe, especially under Di Matteo. The Blues have tripped over every hurdle in the Premier League this season but look a different class in the Champions League since that dreadful February night in Naples.
Everyone at Chelsea knows the final will define their legacy at the club and shape the future of the Blues.
Chelsea can overcome Bayern Munich in the final, however, the team is going to need to improve. Here are the four things the team must do better in the final.
oal scorers and creators
You would have to say that Bayern have the edge in this department, as Mario Gomez has racked up 12 goals in the competition compared to just five for Chelsea’s top scorer Didier Drobga. Gomez is just two goals behind leading scorer Lionel Messi, so the Golden Boot will be his if he racks up a hat-trick in the final. Wing wonders Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery have scored seven between them, while the Blues’ Fernando Torres and Frank Lampard have three a piece.
As far as assists go, Ribery stands head and shoulders above anyone in either team with five to his name. That probably explains why he is such a marked man: the Frenchman has suffered more fouls, 42, than anyone in the tournament. The next most fouled is Lionel Messi on just 26.
12 – Mario Gomez
4 – Arjen Robben
3 – Frank Ribery
5 – Didier Drogba
3 – Fernando Torres
3 – Frank Lampard
5 – Franck Ribery
2 – Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben, Holger Badstuber and Toni Kroos
3 – Frank Lampard
2 – Florent Malouda
The sides have met just once before in the UEFA Champions League, a 2004/05 quarterfinal tie that produced no less than 11 goals over the two legs. Chelsea advanced 6-5 on aggregate. Neutrals will certainly hope to see a similar goal return in Munich on May 19…
The Blues also have a pretty good record against German teams in the competition, with seven wins from 13 matches, while Bayern’s record against English teams has seen them pick up 13 wins from 35 matches.
The last time the Bavarians faced English opposition in the final of the Champions League was back in 1999 when Manchester United famously scored two late goals to secure a dramatic 2-1 win in Barcelona.
2004/05 UEFA Champions League quarterfinal:
1st leg: Chelsea 4-2 Bayern (J Cole 4, Lampard 60 70, Drogba 80; Schweinsteiger 52, Ballack 90 pen)
2nd leg: Bayern 3-2 Chelsea (Lampard 30, Drogba 80; Pizarro 65, Guerrero 90, Scholl 90+5)
Chelsea won 6-5 on aggregate
Bayern v English sides
P W D L
35 13 12 10
Chelsea v German sides
P W D L
13 7 2 4
There’s no question that Bayern have the superior heritage in the competition, winning it four times from eight appearances in the final, the most recent of which was in 2010 when they lost Jose Mourinho’s all-conquering Inter Milan. Chelsea, in contrast, are making just their second appearance in the final after 2008’s heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to Manchester United in Moscow.
Finals/wins 8/4 1/0
Bayern: Winners1974, 1975, 1976, 2001 / runners-up 1982, 1987, 1999, 2010
Chelsea: Runners-up 2008