I am disappointed Barcelona did not make it to the Champions League final, but I think Bayern Munich and Inter Milan will play an exciting final. Since it’s a single game, Inter will have to change their strategy completely. The semi-final was over two legs, helping Inter concentrate on their attack in the first game—they scored three goals past Barcelona at Milan, where they had the home advantage. Then they just sat back and soaked up all the attacking pressure in the second leg, where they did not have to score at all. In the final, Inter will have to play an open game, and Bayern will do the same, because there’s no second chance.
Inter Milan—Mourinho and his men
Inter is famous for its stingy, clockwork defence, but that’s not the complete picture. They have scored 14 times in 12 matches of the Champions League, which is a great attacking record.
Winged feet: Arjen Robben (in red, left) is Bayern’s main weapon. Reuters
Inter’s success this season is largely due to their coach José Mourinho. The club has always had world-class players—that’s why they have been winning the Serie A non-stop since 2005. But Mourinho is so strong tactically that he is taking the team a step above that. The Italian giants haven’t played in a Champions League final since 1972 , and now they have a shot at completing a historic treble (they have already won the Serie A and the Italian Cup this season). Mourinho was at his tactical best against Barcelona in the semi-final, and obviously will go all out in the final.
Bayern Munich—Robben, the key player
Bayern too is fighting for a treble (they have already won the Bundesliga and German Cup) which makes the final so much more interesting, since no club from Italy or Germany has ever achieved this. Bayern too has had a brilliant season, and again, coach Louis van Gaal has played a big role in this revival. Bayern, a team with a great deal of history and pedigree, would love to be crowned European champions again. Arjen Robben will have a big role to play—he has already made a massive impact in the tournament, and can completely change a game. He is definitely Bayern’s main weapon in the final. Bayern will miss winger Franck Ribery, who is suspended, but both teams have made it to the final because of fantastic teamwork rather than individual brilliance. So they will work around any injuries or suspensions.
As told to Rudraneil Sengupta
Inter Milan will play Bayern Munich in the Uefa Champions League final on Saturday at the Bernabéu Stadium, Madrid. Live on Ten Sports from 10.30pm