Hey! How have you been?
Oh, you know, keeping on. I guess you want another guide?
Guide to what?
Well, the Champions League final, obviously.
So, it’s Real Madrid vs. Barcelona? El Clasico? The Football Game That Will Live In Infamy?
Actually… no. That last round turned out to be kind of a surprise. Chelsea, a team that finished sixth in its domestic league and won’t be back to the Champions League tournament next year, offed the mighty Barcelona. And Bayern Munich pulled off a slightly less stunning but still upset-y upset when they beat the Galacticos, a.k.a. Real Madrid and its coterie of good-looking, super-athletic megastars.
Don’t let it get you down! We’ve still got a pretty cool final in store, mostly because these teams have absolutely nothing to lose. They’re soccer zombies, not so much alive as still moving after the destruction of every other team out there. All they want is BRAINS.
Mmmm… brains. Because this is the only trophy they’ve got a shot at?
More or less. Chelsea won the FA Cup a couple weeks ago by beating Liverpool, but that’s not even close to a Champions League title. Bayern finished runner-up to Borussia Dortmund, who also beat them 5-2 in the DFB-Pokal tournament final. Bayern’s guaranteed a spot in the Champions League next year, but Chelsea will be watching from home unless they win this year. So if they can’t do the job tomorrow, their next shot will be 2014 at the earliest.
Plus, the way that the EPL has changed — Manchester City looks to be a perennial power from here on out — means that competition for those top four spots is even tougher than it used to be.
Enough with the preamble-ing: tell me what to watch for.
You always get weirdly pushy. Well, Chelsea is Chelsea: Drogba’s great up top, and Petr Cech makes saves like this, and they have some random 41-year-old Swiss fella managing them.
With Bayern, you want to keep an eye on the sides of the field: their pairing of wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery might form the best outside-in attack in the world. They also have Bastian Schweinsteiger, one of the top non-Messi players in the sport and a Bayern lifer.
Who’s going to win?
Bayern is the better squad, but Chelsea’s desperation seems to have propelled them to new heights, and, according to the Washington Post, missing the Champions League next year would cost them $63 million. That kind of hit can push a team pretty hard. And you don’t want to make Roman Abramovich angry.
Also, everyone hates Chelsea. Go Bayern.