This is football. You win some, you lose some. Typically, your losses stay in memory much longer than the wins. That’s because the club/players/fans think it’s normal for us to win and do expect us to win. Every time you lose, you want to come back stronger. You take every defeat personally and come back with a desire to prove a point, if you don’t have to. That’s how it works.
‘Moscow’ is a taboo right now among the Chelsea fans. No one wants to talk about it. No one wants those nightmarish thoughts right now. Fact is, that defeat taught us so much in football. One spot kick away from the first champions league trophy of the club. And it was at Moscow! What better way of thanking Roman than winning the champions league in his backyard. The script was there to be executed. Still there was one last twist in the tale that had to happen.
Isn’t that what happened in the premier league this season. Man Utd were two minutes away from winning their 20th premier league title. It would have been such a big statement from Fergie. By the time the final whistle was blown at the Stadium of Lights, Man Utd were winning the title. Two minutes later, they’d lost it. What Man Utd had done to Bayern in 1999 and to Chelsea in 2008 had come back to haunt them.
This champions league final is very intriguing. Some say it’s Chelsea’s destiny to win it. Some say it’s Bayern’s destiny to win it. The time has come for Chelsea because the squad would undergo massive changes next season. As the cliche goes this is the last chance for a number of Chelsea stars to leave Chelsea on the highest possible note.
Bayern lost to Man Utd in 1999 in incredible fashion. But they came back and won it in 2001. Milan lost to Liverpool in 2005 in an unbelievable turn of events. They came back and won it in 2009 and they had the opportunity to even beat Liverpool in the final. Freak things do happen in football – such as the stoppage time goals in ’99, such as the comeback in 2005 – but when given a second chance, it’s more likely that the aggrieved team will make amends for their unforgettable past. They would have grown stronger mentally and would wait for an opportunity to get it right.
This Chelsea team is certainly an old team. Or at least a team that relies heavily on its older players. This Chelsea team is not pacy by any interpretation of the word and hence it’s no match to Bayern on that front. With the senior players, what we lack in pace, we make it up with experience – what to anticipate, how to keep calm, how not to get overawed, how to calm things down, how to exploit the opponent’s weakness and what to do and what not to do in a champions league final.
Petr Cech, John Terry (though not in the playing team now), Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien, Ashley Cole – have all experienced what it means to be in the champions league final. They know what to do.
While playing at home is considered to be an advantage, I’d say in this instance, it can be such a burden. This crop of talented Bayern (except a few) have not played in a stage as big as champions league final, let alone playing it at home. The expectation is immense and that drives the pressure. The thought of ‘what if we miss this great opportunity in front of our home fans’ will not let them sleep. You’ve to be blessed to get such an opportunity. Ask how the France national team felt when they won the world cup in France. And ask how Portugal felt when they lost the Euro final at home to underdogs Greece. Playing this game at home, if you have experienced players, is a massive advantage. Otherwise, it is such a tremendous burden and responsibility. So, I’d say playing Bayern at Allianz Arena might even give a slight advantage to Chelsea.
Who wants to win this more – Chelsea or Bayern? Who would play like there’s no tomorrow? More often, this is what separates champions and runner-ups. Here again, Chelsea have an advantage. Of course Bayern had lost a final to Inter a few seasons back. They may not want any less to win this final at home. But this is still a very young team. They’re hungry all right but try would know they have long careers ahead and they might get another opportunity. You can’t say that about most of the Chelsea team. It’s now or never. It’s been like that for many seasons but with contracts coming to a close and still not tied up, it surely looks like it’s now or never.
This champions league final has a lot of significance for Chelsea. Right from the champions league spot to managerial appointment to transfers in/out and even to the Samsung sponsorship. I’d like to not think or talk about any of those things at this moment. Let’s go and win this football match for what it is. We will have all the time in the world to talk about consequences and other things.
A result for either sides will confirm that the romance in football still exists. Both teams are capable of winning this final. Being a Chelsea supporter, I hope it’s another win for the blues and another defeat for the reds. But expectations aren’t really high. My hope is. But my expectation is not. Is a Chelsea defeat possible? Yes. Would Chelsea miss another chance at the final hurdle? Quite possible. But let’s keep in mind that this has been a brilliant season and this Chelsea team just showed what they are capable of when they get their act together.
If we win, I will celebrate like mad. If we don’t I will start looking forward to the next season already. For me, the fact that we kicked out the Barscum at Camp Nou with a stoppage time goal after giving them hope by going 2 goals and a man down, is more than enough. In my mind, we won a trophy there.
I’m extremely happy for us to have reached the final of the champions league again (twice in five years). Yes, not winning the final would mean Europa cup. Yes, not winning would mean the last possible chance for the Chelsea greats would be gone. It’s an achievement to reach the champions league final by eliminating the defending champions at their backyard.
I don’t mean to sound defeatist. Make no mistake – Chelsea are more than capable of beating Bayern at Allianz Arena. If just trying to put things in perspective the other possibility. I strongly feel Chelsea would be the Champions of Europe this weekend. I really really hope so. And I also know life will move on otherwise. This is football. You win some, you lose some.
Remember, there are lives and careers beyond this result! Enjoy the game! May the best team win! May that be Chelsea FC! KTBFFH!