Friday, May 21, 2010

Champions League Final Preview

The 18th Champions league final will take place from the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid, Spain between Italian champions Inter Milan and German champs Bayern Munich. This is an unlikely match up as neither team were expected to make it as far as they have. Both teams stared off slow in the tournament, especially Bayern who were a game away from not even making it out of the group stages.

This game also provides an interesting match up between the managers, José Mourinho and Louis van Gaal. The Latter was the formers mentor during their time at Barcelona when Van Gaal was manager. Their friendship runs deep however and it will be interesting to see how the two teams line up on Saturday. Each of the managers know how each other thinks about the game. They both know each others tactics, as Van Gaal relies on wingers and Mourinho loves to pack the midfield.

Overall the match favours Inter based on the battle of that very same midfield Mourinho loves. The play of Wesley Sneijder, Sulley Muntari and Thiago Motta has been outstanding during the tournament. They can carry the play to the forwards like Samuel Eto'o and Diego Milito. With Sneijder going forward it allows Muntari and Motta to cover any of the possible counter attacking play. It was one of the big reasons they were able to see of Barcelona in the semi finals.

For Bayern, the key will be to hold at the back four and try to counter via the wings. Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben will have to play wide in order to create chances for the strikers. Robben in particular has been in white hot form during the tournament. He could be the difference maker in the match as he was during the Quarter final tie against Manchester United. Robben and Schweinsteiger will have to raise their games to another level as influential playmaker Franck Ribéry will be suspended for the final.

My final prediction is that Inter Milan will walk away from Madrid with their first European Cup in 45 years, and will complete a historic Treble for Italy.

Enjoy the match and I'll post after the match.


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