Chelsea and Bayern Munich contest the Champions League Final on Saturday night, and rarely has there been so much at stake for both teams.
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For Chelsea, a season's work is on the line. A campaign of controversy does not excuse or accept an FA Cup winners medal and a sixth place Premier League finish, they need more to call this term a success. Roberto Di Matteo has stabilised and balanced the Blues in life after André Villas-Boas, but he needs to bring home the European Cup to prove his credentials to its long-term obsessive, Roman Abramovich.
Elsewhere, Bayern Munich are no longer the kings of German football, summed up by a trouncing in the domestic cup final last weekend, by back-to-back league Champions Borussia Dortmund. Bayern need a big trophy to prove they still have the steel for life at top, and to reap the rewards of their multi-talented and mostly home grown squad.
With such powerful, tactical approaches to the game, it's hard to imagine the final being anything other than a tight affair. History tell us that, when either of these sides crumble, they usually implode, but whilst there may be a few goals in the end, this fixture will most likely be decided by one or more moments of magic. As such, here are six to keep an eye on as potential goalscorers.
Mario Gómez (2.3)
In a season when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have taken all the plaudits for their goalscoring exploits, Gómez has kept up, scoring 41 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions, including 12 goals in 11 Champions League matches. Tall, powerful and lively in the box, his home form has been particularly impressive, with 11 of his 12 goals coming in just six matches at the Allianz Arena, the venue for the final. So it's no surprise to find him at 2.3 to find the net, especially given Chelsea's makeshift defence.
Arjen Robben (2.8)
Talented? Certainly. Predictable? Perhaps? Frustrating? Sometimes, but Robben is one of Bayern's key men. After a spell at Chelsea and via Real Madrid, a mature and re-energised Dutchman will grace his former side this weekend. You know what to expect from Robben: pace, skill, direction and a desire to cut in from the right onto his left foot. But stopping him is another matter. With 18 goals in total this term, and three in his last four, there isn't much value at 2.8, but as he is one of the hardest players to defend against, it's not that surprising that his price is relatively short.
Franck Ribéry (3.4)
Ribéry is one of European football's true entertainers, and after 12 months of patchy form and off-field issues, he is back to his brilliant best. Nowadays more of goal maker than goal taker, the Frenchman is currently enjoying a good run in front of goal, having scored three times in his last five matches. Those include efforts against Dortmund and Real Madrid, and prove he can make the difference in tight fixtures. There looks to be some value in Ribery at 3.4.
Didier Drogba (3.9)
Love him or hate him, when Didier Drogba plays in a big game, he influences it. After stupid sending off in his last Champions League final appearance, we've seen the best of the beast this term, with five goals in six starts, helping fire the Blues to another final. Drogba is likely to be deployed in a target man role against Bayern, where he will hold the ball and run the channels, and allow Chelsea's more fluid attackers room to create chances. Still, the big man loves a big occasion, and with Bayern sloppy on set pieces, at [3.9 he's not badly placed to find the net.
Juan Mata (6.3)
Mata has proved to be Chelsea's most refreshing signing in years. Small, agile and with a delicious passing range, he is custom built for European football. Bayern are missing defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo, and as such, are lacking real cover in front of the back four. Dortmund exposed this with midfield runners to great effect last weekend, and Mata promises to do the same. He's only scored 12 times this season, and twice in the Champions League, but with the way Bayern play, it could all be set up for him to pop up with a vital goal at6.3
Frank Lampard (4.0)
If there's one thing Frank Lampard gives you, it's goals. In a season when many said he was finished, he will lead Chelsea out in Munich having scored 16 times this term, despite being forced into a bit-part role earlier in the season. Lampard hasn't scored for six games, but with fouls set to be high on the agenda, he will relish free-kick opportunities. As mentioned with Mata, with Bayern lacking a disciplined shield in front of the back four, there will be chances for players who run from deep. That suits Lampard perfectly, he's 4.0.
Overall, expect a tight affair. This is a game likely to be decided by a mistake, with both sides having a history of losing concentration when defensively overloaded. Mata's illusive style looks good, but Drogba is a big game player, and given he'll tire and frustrate Bayern, he's the solid choice at 3.9. Yet for me, the best value is with Robben at 2.8. He's bang in form, has a point to prove against his former side and can make something out of nothing. That's the hallmark of a top player, and with all eyes on Gómez, Chelsea may well leave him a little too much room to drift inside.