Shortly after Bayern got thumped by Dortmund this past weekend 5-2 in the German cup final Jupp Heynckes
I knew of the history between the clubs, and that Barcelona always have a difficult time when they meet. And, in that final phase of the second leg, Barça were not this ‘fresh force’ we have come to know. They seemed knackered, and [Lionel] Messi was not himself. But that does not diminish Chelsea’s performance.
I have watched and coached in the Spanish League. I know how hard it is to beat Barcelona. And now I’m left to wonder if Barça can’t beat Chelsea, how can we?
They are a team on that same high level. If you look at their recent history in the European Cup, they have always progressed into the latter stages. They competed with Barcelona [in 2009], and were unfortunate on penalties against Manchester United [in 2008]. Perhaps this season, after their change of manager, the side has become closer together as a unit and are now playing completely as a team. Maybe they see this as their last chance together to try and win the Champions League: for Lampard, Drogba, Cech …
They are strong, and I have been very impressed by the way Roberto Di Matteo acts beside the pitch. He is very relaxed and seems in control. That shows his team are close together, fighting towards one goal. The philosophy has changed recently. That is the psychological feeling he has achieved at the club.”
Isn’t that an interesting quote, “I’m left to wonder if Barca can’t beat Chelsea, how can we?” and Chelsea really should take heart from it. You will read all sorts of comments coming out of Munich this week from their players and again from their manager but that sentence right there for me, gives an insight into the doubt that will be in the back of every single one of their players minds.
I have played football myself for years to a good standard and can relate like many of you who have done the same, to situations where you are only too aware of how good the opposition is, or the perception about them before you take to the pitch.
It’s that perception which is the key and affects you whether you like it or not while you go up against them. You hold back because you are aware of the fact that they can hurt you, you play within yourselves and more often than not, come away from the game, feeling as though your style of play has been hampered by the fact that you have given them too much respect.
I really feel that SOME of the Bayern players will have that same problem against us on Saturday night, and it’s all because of that result against Barcelona.
Bayern deserves more credit for beating Real Madrid, and taking their place in the final but if you asked 100 football fans who the best club side in the world is, they will say Barcelona.
We all hold Barcelona in that regard, there is no one better and what we have seen from them has been immense over the recent seasons. The problem for Bayern and for the rest of Europe is that no one imagined that Chelsea would survive over two legs, let alone in the second after being down to ten men, two nil down, and with BOTH our regular centre backs off the pitch.
The final will be decided by whoever turns up on the day, who performs and who can deal with the pressure of the occasion.
There are bound to be nerves on that pitch but somewhere lurking in the back of Bayern’s minds will be the fact that Chelsea never give up, will fight to the death and have beaten the greatest club side of recent seasons.
Published with permission from CHELSEADAFT - A Chelsea fans blog..