Two time European champions Inter Milan take on four time winner’s Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium tomorrow night in a Uefa Champions League final that is expected to be the ultimate showdown between two of the continents biggest clubs.
Bayern Munich last tasted success of this magnitude a good nine years ago, not too long if you consider their opponents 45 year wait for European glory. Inter Milan last won this trophy way back in 1965 when it was still referred to as the European Cup and recapturing the title tomorrow will spark mad celebrations like never seen before.
The odds are largely in favour of the Nerazzurri however, Bayern are prepared to fight tooth and nail for European supremacy. The road to this year’s final has been surprising to say the least and if anyone told me back in September that Bayern would go all the way, i definitely would have laughed them off.
Bayern came up against tough opposition in the form of Bordeaux, Juventus, Fiorentina, Manchester United and Olympique Lyonnais to make it through to the final. Their did not have a rosy path either as they had to deal with reigning European champs Barcelona in the group stages and the semis, CSKA Moscow, Rubin Kazan and Chelsea.
The last 5 games for the Bundesliga champions have resulted in 4 wins and a draw while Inter’s last five games has seen them win 4 and lose to Barcelona. So as you can see there is no nothing to separate these 2 sides.
Both Luis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have successfully won the Champions League as coaches so they now how to prepare their sides for a game of such magnitude. Van Gaal won the Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and 9 years later Mourinho led the unfancied Porto to a similar victory.
The highlight of this game no doubt is the facing of Dutch play makers Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder. Inter coach Jose Mourinho will probably opt to field a 4-3-3 attacking formation comprising of: Cesar, Maicon, Samuel, Lucio, Zanetti, Stankovic or Motta, Sneijder, Cambiasso, Eto’o, Milito, Pandev.
With Ribery out of tomorrow’s game, Van Gaal has included Turkish international Hamit Altintop in his place. Playing in a 4-4-2 formation, Van Gaal’s probable line up will include: Butt, Lahm, Van Buyten, Demichelis, Badstuber, Robben, Schweinsteiger, Van Bommel, Altintop, Mueller and Olic.
Now to the hard part, my prediction. Well, this will be a very hard match to call but i see it ended in either a barren or a 1-1 draw. If the match goes to penalties like i suspect it will, then Inter will win majorly because they do have a strong goalie in Julio Cesar. However, i could be wrong.
Photo credit: from Gilyo