Hassan Chamas

What: 2009/10 UEFA Champions League final
Who: Bayern Munich (Germany) vs Internazionale (Italy)
When: Saturday 22nd May, 2010, at 20:45 CET
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain

Treble Winners

It’s that time of year again as Europe prepares itself for the Champions League final, with the last fixture of the competition holding two surprise names in German and Italian champions Bayern Munich and Internazionale, respectively.

The war of words and mind games has already begun between both clubs, with Bayern coach Louis van Gaal taking the first shot at his Saturday opponent Jose Mourinho. A former understudy of his at Barcelona, van Gaal bashed the Portuguese tactician for his obsession with winning matches, without playing beautiful football.

One special note concerning this match is that either winner will accomplish a season trophy treble, with both teams having already accomplished the domestic double this year. The bookies might favour Inter to come up with the trophy, especially with Bayern feeling the absence of star man Franck Ribery, but Die Roten nonetheless possess the means to cover for the Frenchman’s suspension, with talents such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ivica Olic, and deadly wing threat Arjen Robben.

New Stomping Grounds?

Inter reach the final showdown of this campaign’s Champions League after a 38-year wait. The last time the Nerazzurri were finalists was in 1972, when they lost to Johan Cruyff’s Ajax. Since then, Massimo Moratti’s team has failed to shine on the continental front, needing a competition expert such as Mourinho to guide them all the way to the final.

Particularly, the match itself will be very exceptional for the “Special One”. With the talk that the former Porto manager will be the next Real Madrid coach growing ever louder, Mourinho could very well get a sneak preview of the turf that he will possibly call home for next season.

Mourinho will have the luxury of calling upon his best starting eleven for this final, except for midfielder Thiago Motta, who will serve a suspension. As Bayern forward Arjen Robben stated earlier this week, it is unlikely that the Beneamata will employ tactics similar to those utilised at the Camp Nou against Barcelona, leaving the Santiago Bernabeu stadium serving as a battlefield for two of the continent’s most powerful attacking forces.

Route to the final

Bayern Munich:
Second place in Group A (Group stage)
Defeated Fiorentina on away goals, 4-4 on aggregate (Round of 16)
Defeated Manchester United on away goals, 4-4 on aggregate  (Quarter-final)
Defeated Olympique Lyonnais 4-0 on aggregate (Semi-final)

Second place in Group F (Group stage)
Defeated Chelsea 3-1 on aggregate (Round of 16)
Defeated CSKA Moscow 2-0 on aggregate (Quarter-final)
Defeated Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate (Semi-final)

Key absences

Bayern Munich: Franck Ribery (suspension)

Internazionale: Davide Santon; Ivan Cordoba (doubt); Thiago Motta (suspension)

Players to watch

Bayern Munich – Arjen Robben: A very distinctive encounter for the Dutch wing wizard, who comes back to the Spanish capital nearly nine months after his unceremonious exit from Real Madrid. The former Chelsea star has been the Bundesliga’s signing of the season, and will certainly be the Bavarians’ biggest threat on the night, as former coach Jose Mourinho will well appreciate. With no Franck Ribery the pressure will be on Robben more than ever to deliver Bayern's dreams.

Inter – Lucio: The Brazil captain will also meet some old faces as he comes up against the team he left this past summer. An impenetrable fortress all year long, Lucio has been the finest central defender in all of Italy, if not Europe. The 2002 tournament finalist has conquered big names such as Didier Drogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in earlier rounds and will be looking to do the same against Bayern’s attackers. Lucio will also pose a threat from set pieces, meaning he could well inflict a double blow on his previous employers.

Match prediction

Not the final that everybody expected, both teams nonetheless deserve to be here after knocking out some big names along the way. After a disastrous start to the season, Bayern Munich have managed to come back in brilliant fashion, while Inter are finally 90 minutes away from reaching their long-awaited holy grail. Bayern might have pulled out some surprise results on their way to the final, but the Milanese club have simply been sublime all year long under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, and could prove to be too much for FC Hollywood. Expect the Interistas to complete a season treble with a 3-1 or 3-2 scoreline.

Inside Futbol will be providing online coverage of this match via our twitter account – twitter.com/insidefutbol – and don't forget: If you fancy a bet on this exciting game, you can find and compare the prices of all major online bookmakers at tip-ex.com.


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