Champions League Final Preview

Saturday night sees the biggest night in European soccer as the eyes of the football world will focus on the Bernebeu stadium in Madrid.

The intriguing Champions League final will be between two sides, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, that are both going for the treble of league title success, domestic cup success and Champions League victory.

Both clubs enjoy domestic success

Never in the history of the competition has the final been contested by two sides who have won so much in one season. Inter completed the Italian league and cup double at the weekend, a 1-0 win at Siena giving them their fifth successive Serie A title.

Also, earlier this month, they travelled to the Stadio Olympico to face Roma on their own ground in the Coppa Italian final and came away with a hugely impressive 1-0 victory thanks to Diego Milito’s strike.

Bayern Munich recovered from a somewhat disappointing start to the Bundesliga season to really hit their stride at the turn of the year.

Since then Louis Van Gaal’s men have been imperious in German football and lost only four times all season long to claim the Bundesliga title by five points.

In the German Cup, the DFB Pokal, they strolled to a 4-0 victory over Werder Bremen to confirm themselves clearly as the best side in Germany.

And now both sides will fight it out on Saturday to decide which of them is the best team in Europe.

Sneijder to bet fit, but Ribery’s appeal fails

Jose Mourinho should have a fully fit squad to pick from for the final, though Thiago Motta will miss the game as a direct result of his sending off in the semi final against Barcelona.

Wesley Sneijder should recover from the injury which saw him worryingly limp off after just five minutes of the Coppa Italia final and his presence in the team will be a big boost to the Italians.

Bayern however will be hit by the news that the Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld the 3 match ban handed to Franck Ribery for his dismal tackle on Lyon striker Lisandro Lopez in the semi final.

The resulting red card (pictured) and three match ban means that Bayern will start the game without their energetic Frenchman.

It caps a miserable season for Ribery who began the season with tendonitis in his knee and ends it being banned from the final of European football’s biggest competition and accused of sleeping with an underage French prostitute.

Probable teams

Inter : Cesar, Maicon, Zanetti, Samuel, Lucio, Cambiasso, Sneijder, Stankovic, Eto’o, Pandev, Milito

Bayern Munich : Butt, Lahm, Badstuber, Demichelis, Van Buyten, Van Bommel, Schweinsteiger, Muller, Robben, Olic, Altintop

So such a huge game demands a great tip for the final but this is too close to call for me with any great conviction.

Both sides have often been the underdogs at times during their Champions League campaign, Bayern against Manchester United and Inter against Chelsea and Barcelona and both have come through each test, which made the bookmakers happy.

Inter start the final as slight favourites but there is little between the sides.

A tempting bet for me would be to back Arjen Robben to score a goal for Bayern.

The Dutchman has been in superb form throughout the latter stages of the Champions League and a goal on his former home ground looks a nice bet to me. Currently he is 2.9 with William Hill.

As for the outright winner, it is a tough one to call.

I just feel Bayern will miss Ribery more than Inter will Motta and for that reason alone, I am edging towards the Italians who are currently 2.3 with William Hill for the win, though more tempting for me would be a 2-1 Inter victory which is currently 9.0.

Whatever the result, it looks like being an intriguing final this coming Saturday