Months of qualifying, group stage and knockout ties have lead to one last match. Bayern Munich, the Titans of the Bundesliga and winners of four European championships, face off against the The Blues of Chelsea, who are seeking their first European championship.
Storylines to watch for:
- Bayern is participating in its second UCL final in three years. Two years ago, Bayern fell to Inter Milan. Bayern has been able to exact some measure of revenge, as it defeated Real manager Jose Mourinho in the UCL semifinals. Mourinho managed Inter Milan in 2010 against Bayern.
- Chelsea is back in the UCL final for the first time since 2008. The Blues fell to Manchester United in a particular bitter fashion as John Terry, "Mr. Chelsea", slipped and missed a penalty shot that would have clinched the club's first European championship. Deja vu for Chelsea faithful, as Terry will miss this final as well due to receiving a red card for a ill-advised knee to Alexis Sanchez.
- Bayern is the first de facto home team in the history of the UCL, as Munich was chosen as a neutral site for the final. This gives Bayern a decided advantage in the final, although Chelsea veterans are likely to point to their stout draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou as a rebuttal.
- Both sides are missing key back line players. Bayern will be without David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luiz Gustavo. Chelsea will be without Terry, Raul Meireles, Ramires and Branislav Ivanovic.
- Both sides are also unlikely adversaries, after pundits gleefully awaited a Real-Barcelona matchup. Both Bayern and Chelsea have the momentum of the underdog going for them, as they both faced dire straits in their respective semifinal second legs and persevered onto advancement.
But before the comments are let loose, a look at how the two sides got to Munich (figuratively, for Bayern especially).
Fußball-Club Bayern München
Group stage (Bayern won Group A on points)
Round of 16 (Bayern def Basel 7-1 on aggregate)
Holger Badstuber holds off a challenge from Basel.
Quarterfinals (Bayern def Marseille 4-0 on aggregate)
Frank Ribery dribbles against a Marseille defender.
Semifinals (Bayern def Real Madrid on penalties 3-1)
Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates his clinching penalty shot against Real Madrid.
Chelsea Football Club
Group stage (Chelsea won Group E on points)
Ramires and David Luiz celebrate a Ramires goal against Genk.
Round of 16 (Chelsea def Napoli 5-4 on aggregate)
Didier Drogba celebrates his goal against Napoli at Stamford Bridge.
Quarterfinals (Chelsea def Benfica 3-1 on aggregate)
Frank Lampard fires off a penalty kick against Benfica.
Semifinals (Chelsea def Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate)
Fernando Torres maneuvers around Victor Valdes to equalize against Barcelona.
And, as always, a poll.