Champions League final Part# 1
Bayern’s journey to the final
Bayern Munich had trouble getting out of their group, just like Inter. They eliminated Juventus in the last group match to progress to the round of 16. They were lucky to eliminate Fiorentina through a clear offside goal. First leg ended 2-1 in Munich and the 2nd leg ended 3-2 in Florence. They faced Manchester United in the Quarter-final. Bayern were outplayed for most part of the first leg yet they took a slender lead of 2-1 to Manchester through and injury time goal. The 2nd leg seemed headed towards a blowout with United scoring 3 first half goals. A wonder strike from Robben in the 2nd half broke the hearts of the Old Trafford faithful.
Bayern dispatched another surprise of the tournament Olympique Lyon with ease winning both legs.
Keys to Bayern
Ribery on the left wing and Robben on the right wing have been the keys to success of the Bavarians. The tireless and opportunistic Croat striker Ivica Olic is the unsung hero of this team. There is nothing flashy in his approach but very effective. The backline is very dodgy yet they have been able to overcome the defects with grit and the flashes of brilliance on their wings. Louis Van Gaal had a tough time early in the season and was about to be fired. But the win in Turin over Juventus started the turnaround and now they are gunning for the treble having already bagged the German Cup and the Bundesliga title.
Keys to the final
There are no big surprises here. Bayern will miss Ribery and Inter will miss Motta through suspension. Bayern will use Robben on the right wing to draw the defenders and open space for Ivica Olic, Muller in the middle. Inter will try to shield out Robben to cut the supply to the Bayern strikers.
Inter will start in their 4-3-3 (or 4-3-2-1) formation with Etoo-Milito-Pandev trident in front supported by Cambiasso, Stankovic and Sneijder playing the linking with strikers and playing between the lines. Bayern has to come up with a good scheme to stop these guys. The central defenders of Bayern, De Michelis and Van Buyten are not very mobile. Philip Lahm, Scheinsteiger, Altintop will have to help out in defence to keep out the dangerous forwards of Inter. I believe this aspect will decide the game.
Inter will win 3-1, provided they start with a positive and attacking line-up. I cannot see the Bayern defence holding up to the threat of Inter forwards. However if they start with a more defensive lineup, with a holding midfielder in place of Goran Pandev, they will play into the hands of Bayern and I can see this go into extra-time.