If Chelsea need any reminding what they are up against when they play Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on
Clinical in German execution. Precise in technique. Composed under pressure. The ruthless strike of a winner.
Schweinsteiger supplies the power and energy and much of the inspiration in a Bayern midfield team which also includes the dribbling skills of
Bayern is a formidable side who has the added bonus of home advantage, with the final being played at its own Allianz Arena in
Quite how UEFA can allow such a scenario in the most prestigious match in club football is a mystery only football bureaucrats could seek to justify.
It is plainly unfair and a situation which could easily be remedied by choosing the final venue only once the semi-finalists were known, which would allow six weeks at least to arrange proceedings.
So Chelsea has Bayern and the odds stacked against them, but this Champions League final is by no means a foregone conclusion.
Big football matches, in many ways, are like heavyweight boxing contests. It can all be decided on whether one style suits another. On shape and formation as well as who possesses the best players.
The fact is Bayern's style might just suit Chelsea.
Bayern, especially considering it is at home, will be anxious to take the game to its opponent. In all likelihood it will press forward, its attacking instincts dictating the pace and the ebb and flow of the match.
Against dangerous and quality opposition Chelsea are more cautious. It likes to sit and soak up the pressure before bursting out in lightning-quick counter attacks. Rarely has it performed such tactics as successfully as against Barcelona in both legs of their Champion League semi-final, Didier Drogba scoring the only goal from a breakaway at Stamford Bridge and
It may not prove to be as pronounced against Bayern, who will not enjoy as much possession as Barcelona, but expect Chelsea to be tight and compact in the Allianz Arena.
It is doubtful Chelsea will win friends among football aficionados but it just might give them a chance of winning the first European Cup in its history.
The chances are that Drogba once more will be utilised as a lone raider up front, using his physical presence to punch holes in a Bayern defence which is the team's weak point.
The loss of Ramires through suspension, however, is a big blow for Chelsea.
Ramires has blossomed this season at Stamford Bridge. At 25 the Brazilian, who was derided as a waste of £18million ($A28.5 million) by some after his first few matches, has begun to show the pace and the dynamic midfield thrusts which mark him out as a world-class talent.
His chipped goal against Barcelona was a moment of footballing grandeur, which is why he will be missed in
Almost certainly Chelsea will miss its absentees more than Bayern, whom will miss the similarly suspended
Chelsea, however, still has power and experience. It is a match for
It is a match for
Most of all, it is a game for Drogba to prove why his love affair with Chelsea has been so enduring with another lone raider performance to rank with those that helped to overcome Barcelona in the semi-final.
If all that happens then
The old guard would still have to be replaced. Chelsea would still require rejuvenation and another thick wad of Abramovich's cash.
The dream, however, would have been realised. It is a long shot because Bayern carry goal threats from all over the pitch. They are ruthless finishers. They possess the winning German mentality.
But Chelsea has an uncanny knack of overcoming superior odds. They have a way of finding how to win, even if it were denied by the width of a post when Terry missed the fateful penalty in the final in 2008. My hunch in a game so tight to call is that this time it might just work out for them.
Borussia Dortmund has confirmed Mario Gotze will miss the Champions League final against Bayern Munich at Wembley on Sunday (AEST).