Date: 19th May 2012 at 12:36pm
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Chelsea have defied the odds all the way to the Champions League final and will have to do so again by beating Bayern Munich in their backyard. As the clock counts down towards kick-off the nerves are increasing, but which Chelsea XI should Roberto Di Matteo field to win the jewel of European club football?

John Terry, Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles will all be sitting this one out as they’re suspended, so I imagine Di Matteo has done a lot more head scratching than he usually would when it comes to team selection. I think Ramires will be the biggest miss as his pace could exploit their fullbacks, but let’s hope the man who replaces him can do the job.

The team I’d pick:

P. Cech

J. Bosingwa – G. Cahill – D. Luiz – A. Cole

J. Mikel  – F. Lampard (c)

M. Essien    –    J. Mata    –    S. Kalou

D. Drogba

The goalkeeper and back four pick themselves, but it’s the midfield and attack that is the hardest to call.

Didier Drogba is our main dangerman and could cause all sorts of trouble for Jerome Boateng and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk. Juan Mata is also one of our biggest weapons and should be played behind Drogba in the number 10 role to get the best from him.

Many of you may be unsure of my inclusion of Michael Essien on the right, where Ramires would normally be, but there’s a reason I’ve put him in there. Ok, so we all know he’s not the player he was after his many injury problems but he has a big game in him. I was going to opt for Fernando Torres to play on that side as he could tie Diego Contento (makes Jose Bosingwa look competent) in knots and someone will Daniel Sturridge’s or Salomon Kalou’s pace could cause his problems also. However, Bosingwa will need a helping hand when it comes to defending against Franck Ribery and Essien could be the best man for the job.

With Florent Malouda a slight injury doubt, I would start Kalou on the left as Philip Lahm, as good as he is, leaves a lot of space in behind him which is something we could exploit. At the very least having a player with Kalou’s pace there could help pin him back and make it more difficult for him to support Arjen Robben, who along with Ribery is Bayern’s main threat.

Who would be in your Chelsea XI in tonight’s Champions League final v Bayern Munich?

Keep the Blue Flag Flying High