UEFA Champions League live: Final build-up

Saturday 19 May 2012, 19.14CET
The UEFA club season concludes tonight in Munich with the UEFA Champions League final between FC Bayern München and Chelsea FC. UEFA.com's team of reporters bring you build-up.

rate galleryrate photo
  • loading...
Published: Saturday 19 May 2012, 19.14CET

UEFA Champions League live: Final build-up

The UEFA club season concludes tonight in Munich with the UEFA Champions League final between FC Bayern München and Chelsea FC. UEFA.com's team of reporters bring you build-up.

The UEFA club season concludes tonight in Munich with the UEFA Champions League final between FC Bayern München and Chelsea FC. UEFA.com's team of reporters in the stadium, the city and beyond bring you build-up, comment and news ahead of the showpiece, which gets under way at 20.45CET – and our MatchCentre goes live 90 minutes before.

Saturday 19:14, UEFA.com London newsdesk
That is it as far as the blog is concerned for today. Make sure you check out the UEFA.com MatchCentre for coverage of tonight's eagerly awaited UEFA Champions League final, which is less than two hours away. 

Saturday 19:12, Graham Hunter, Fußball Arena München
PSV Eindhoven and Rangers FC legend Arthur Numan is at the game tonight and feels that while Bayern are legitimate favourites, they have to be careful how they treat their home 'advantage'. He told UEFA.com "I think that Chelsea have a chance because Bayern playing at home could actually be their downfall if they are not careful. Bayern will feel the need to make all the pressure and Chelsea are an exceptional team on the break. Bayern need to be careful not to be sucked in by Chelsea's tactics."

Saturday 19:06, Graham Hunter, Fußball Arena München
The loyalty of football fans knows few boundaries. Savas (23) and Mario (19) are two Greek Chelsea fans who live in Poland and have driven the 600 kilometres from Bolleslawiec in Poland where they live in order to watch their heroes. The Mam Marzenie foundation bought Mario his ticket but it's his older brother who is the spokesman. "We don't like Bayern very much and I'm sure that Chelsea will beat them, 2-0, with Didier Drogba scoring both goals."

Saturday 19:02, Graham Hunter, Fußball Arena München
Franz Beckenbauer, possibly Bayern's most legendary figure caused a stir when he arrived a moment or two ago to fulfil some media duties on the touchline. One of the most eager to see the great man was 11-year-old Lukas from Landshut who, with his father, took his seat as soon as the stadium opened. Naturally enough the youngster sees the evening clearly: "Bayern are better, Bayern will win and Franck Ribéry will be the most important player."

Saturday 18:55, Philip Röber, Fußball Arena München
Throughout the stadium you can find screens which are showing content about the final. Right now, they've switched to a live feed showing Chelsea's bus transfer from a helicopter. They're certainly not taking the straight route as that's expected to be packed with fans and people heading out to various public screening events, but just in case there are three police cars leading the two buses from the hotel to the stadium.

Saturday 18:43, Andrew Haslam, Fußball Arena München
Chelsea opened their UEFA Champions League campaign with a 2-0 home win against Bayer 04 Leverkusen thanks to second-half goals from David Luiz and Juan Mata, but then lost 2-1 in Germany on matchday five, conceding twice in the final 20 minutes after taking a 48th-minute lead through Didier Drogba. That means Chelsea have lost on three of their last four visits to Bundesliga clubs and overall have managed one win - 1-0 at VfB Stuttgart in the 2004/05 round of 16 thanks to a Fernando Meira own goal - and four losses in their six trips.

Saturday 18:26, Graham Hunter, Fußball Arena München
Juan Mata, featured on the cover of this month's Champions magazine as 'The Special Juan', stands to become the second consecutive Asturian to score in a UEFA Champions League final following David Villa's glorious strike for FC Barcelona against Manchester United FC at Wembley last year. Regardless of whether he does or not the Chelsea fans' player of the year is also going to be rewarded for his debut season in England with the prize for the Asturian Sportsman of the Year 2012 awarded on Monday night in the Teatro de La Laboral in Gijon.

Saturday 18:08, Andy James, Munich city centre
Chelsea fans may be considerably outnumbered in Munich city centre, but there was a sizeable Blues contingent outside the 'Paulaner' brewery near Marienplatz. I managed to speak to Matt and Patrick, who were enjoying a beer in the sunshine having travelled all the way from Vancouver, Canada, to be at tonight's game.

"We've travelled all night, but it's worth whatever we paid," said Matt. "I think whatever happens, we can leave here with our heads held high. We wanted to come here and enjoy the game. Obviously we don't want to go out with a whimper but it's a tall order with all our suspensions. It's not going to be our regular starting 11, but if we can keep a clean sheet and nick a first goal, I think we've got half a chance."

Saturday 17:55, Andrew Haslam, Fußball Arena München
Both teams have already faced clubs from their opponents' country in this season's competition. Bayern beat Manchester City FC 2-0 on matchday two - Mario Gomez scoring both goals - before, with progress and first place assured, a much-changed side went down by the same scoreline in Manchester on matchday six. Overall Bayern have won 13 of their 35 games against English opponents with 12 draws and ten defeats; at home they have recorded ten victories, five draws and a single defeat, against Norwich City FC in the 1993/94 UEFA Cup second round.

Saturday 17:38, Graham Hunter, Fußball Arena München
A revealing quote from Fernando Torres in today's Spanish media. His goal sealed beyond doubt the fact that Chelsea would eliminate the competition holders FC Barcelona in the semi-final second leg and while he profiles as a likely substitute today his impact on the game could yet be crucial, as at the Camp Nou. Torres told AS newspaper: "Chelsea's ambition to win the Champions League was born from Roman Abramovich but then spread throughout the club. One of the main reasons which persuaded me to sign for Chelsea is their permanent ambition to conquer this competition."

Saturday 17:25, Andy James, UEFA Champions Festival, Olympiapark
The Festival is completely packed and the sun is beating down as the live band warms up the crowds for later on. Bayern fans David, Marvin and Yannick are going to watch the game on the big screen at the Olympiastadion later on and reckon Bayern are bound to win "because they're the best team in the world," according to David. The trio also enjoyed the Ultimate Champions match earlier, involving a World XI and a Bayern All-Stars team.

"It was great to see some old Bayern stars, like Giovane Elber, Roy Makaay and Paul Breitner," said Marvin. "It was just a shame Breitner missed the penalty, but he was up against Edwin van der Sar."

Yannick, meanwhile, revealed his superstition ahead of the big game: "I had the Bayern home kit on for [the DFB Cup final] against Dortmund and they lost, so I'm wearing the Champions League away kit today. I'm confident, though. Bayern have played well in Europe all season, so they just need to do the same against tonight."

Saturday 16.50, UEFA.com London newsdesk
The Champions Festival has been a huge success in Olympiapark, and you can relive Friday's festivities on futsal day.

Saturday 16.37, UEFA.com Munich reporting team
Here's the report from the Ultimate Champions match earlier as we hear from Steve McManaman and Giovane Elber.

Saturday 16.30, UEFA.com London newsdesk
Our Ford Classics feature looks back at great UEFA Champions League games of the past, with memories from those that took part, and includes some nights perhaps Bayern would rather forget, not least the 1999 final. However, Chelsea may equally like to put behind them the equally dramatic loss to Manchester United FC in the 2008 final.

Saturday 16.22, Andrew Haslam, Fußball Arena München
Perhaps surprisingly for two of Europe’s biggest clubs, the teams have met only once before, in the 2004/05 quarter-finals. The first leg at Stamford Bridge finished 4-2 to José Mourinho's Chelsea. After Joe Cole's opener (4), Chelsea responded to Bastian Schweinsteiger's equaliser (52) through further strikes from Frank Lampard (60, 70) and Didier Drogba (80). Michael Ballack (90) – who would join Chelsea in 2006 – gave Bayern late hope from the penalty spot.

The lineups for that fixture on 6 April 2005 were:
Chelsea: Čech, Johnson (Huth 65), Carvalho, Terry, Gallas, Cole (Tiago 82), Lampard, Makelele, Duff, Gudjohnsen, Drogba (Forssell 89).
Bayern: Kahn, Sagnol, Lúcio, Kovač, Lizarazu, Salihamidžić (Schweinsteiger 46), Frings, Ballack, Hargreaves, Zé Roberto (Scholl 73), Guerrero.

Lampard (30) and Drogba (80) struck again in the second leg, either side of a Claudio Pizarro (65) goal. Bayern won 3-2 on the night through late goals from Paolo Guerrero (90) and Mehmet Scholl (90+5) but still went out 6-5 on aggregate.

The teams for that 12 April encounter at the Olympiastadion were:
Bayern: Kahn, Sagnol, Lúcio, Kovač, Lizarazu (Salihamidžić 78), Schweinsteiger, Demichelis (Scholl 52), Ballack, Zé Roberto, Pizarro, Makaay (Guerrero 73).
Chelsea: Čech, Carvalho, Huth, Terry, Gallas, Cole (Nuno Morais 90), Makelele, Lampard, Duff (Tiago 71), Drogba, Gudjohnsen (Geremi 88).

Saturday 16.08, UEFA.com London newsdesk
The UEFA Champions League final opening ceremony at the Fußball Arena München tonight will feature singer Jonas Kaufmann performing a new version of the official UEFA Champions League theme – a version was written specially for the event by Matt Clifford from Tony Britton's famous original.

Huge Bayern fan Kaufmann will be lip-synching to a pre-recorded vocal performance because of a medical condition, but he was still keen to play his part. The UEFA Champions League theme has been incorporated into a new piece which reflects both the host city and the European nature of the competition.

Saturday 15.57, UEFA.com Munich reporting team
Scorer of the opening goal in the Ultimate Champions match, Samuel Eto'o had a great time at the Olympiastadion and told UEFA.com: "This is what makes football beautiful. The older players here inspired us to play football. Today we are playing with them. It is always a family, and it is getting bigger every time."

Saturday 15.43, Jürgen Baumgartner, Fußball Arena München
In front of the stadium I met Bayern fan Stefan Brandl, who cannot wait until the kick-off like everyone else who has one of the coveted tickets. He told me: "Usually I travel with my supporters club, called Red Tigers Hatting, to Bayern matches, like in the semi-final against Real Madrid as we had 30 tickets. That was a really stunning night. But today I am the only lucky guy from our club who has a ticket, the others have to watch the game in our favourite pub. In any case I will make noise for 30 people and shout Bayern to the title."

Saturday 15.28, Berend Scholten, Diest
Former Belgium and Bayern keeper Jean-Marie Pfaff is a guest of honour of his ex-club today and expressed his everlasting love for them in La Derniere Heure newspaper. "I want Bayern to win, because they are the most beautiful club in Europe," said Pfaff, who played for Bayern from 1982 until 1988, and lost the 1987 European Champion Clubs' Cup final against FC Porto. "They are a club who slowly have grown into what they have become now – they do not need billions from one owner."

As for the match, Pfaff mused: "Chances are 50-50. I am especially worried about Drogba. And Bayern are vulnerable in defence. They conceded five in the cup final."

To that end, Pfaff would like to see experienced Belgian defender Daniel Van Buyten start. "I would lineup Van Buyten in the defence. He may lack game time, but he has the experience. I was at Bayern for six years and won three titles and two cups. It is also Van Buyten's sixth year. Hats off!"

Saturday 15.15, Boaz Goren, Tel Aviv
Israel captain Yossi Benayoun has made it clear where his loyalties lie despite having been loaned out by Chelsea to Arsenal FC this season. "Champions League final. Fingers crossed for Chelsea to win. Good luck."

Saturday 15.09, Jürgen Baumgartner, Fußball Arena München
The local newspaper Münchner Merkur has asked tennis legend Boris Becker what he thinks about the final tonight. "In the final I am a red one,"  he said. "After 30 years as a fan and a former member of the Bayern financial advisory committee that is self-evident, despite all the sympathy I feel for Chelsea. The Bayern players will say: 'It is for our club, for our city. And it is for Germany. This time it is more than only a football game.'"

Saturday 15.00, UEFA.com London newsdesk
The Guardian's veteran columnist David Lacey today looked back at the history of Anglo-German European Cup finals, which in contrast to the national-team encounters is led 4-1 by the English. The most recent, of course, was Manchester United FC's improbable comeback to beat Bayern in 1999, and Lacey points out: "The odds must favour Bayern now, given home advantage and Chelsea's defensive weaknesses, but they should remember that they lost in 1999 after [Teddy] Sheringham had spotted several of the opposition making celebratory gestures to the German fans before the final whistle."

Saturday 14.45, UEFA.com London newsdesk
Six hours to kick-off and our UEFA.com team in Munich are setting the scene not just here but also on Twitter. Follow @UEFAcom, @UEFAcomKevinA, @UEFAcomAndrewH, @UEFAcomAndyJ, @UEFAcomGrahamH, @UEFAcomJoshH and @TrainingGround. Their hashtag of choice is #ChampionsLeague.

Saturday 14.30, UEFA.com London newsdesk
In honour of one of the victorious World All-Stars, here is Giovanni van Bronckhorst's UEFA Training Ground corners masterclass.

Saturday 14.25, Graham Hunter, Ultimate Champions match, Olympiastadion
Niko Kovač also won the Bundesliga with Bayern and strolled through his part in the Ultimate Champions match. His view is slightly more restrained than Thon's but the 40 year old remains optimistic of a home win tonight. "Chelsea are very dangerous as they showed in Barcelona but I think Bayern have slightly the better of the situation caused by the suspensions.

"Because Bayern have lost defenders and because Chelsea saw them losing five goals in the German Cup final last week I'm sure that Chelsea will attack. But Bayern are very good and quick on the counter and I think that will be very important. Despite the defenders absent on both sides I don't think it will be a free-scoring match. "Perhaps 2-0 or 2-1 ... in favour of Bayern I hope!"

Saturday 14.20, Graham Hunter, Ultimate Champions match, Olympiastadion
Olaf Thon played for six years with FC Bayern München, twice winning the German title and he is extremely confident about his former team's chances tonight against Chelsea FC. Speaking to UEFA.com after losing the Ultimate Champions match 3-2 to the World All-Stars, Thon said: "Bayern are the big favourites tonight. "I'd say that they are 70-30 to win." When asked why he simply said: "Robben! Ribéry! Schweinsteiger! And Bayern have the better midfield."

Saturday 14.00, Peter Bruun, Copenhagen
Former Danish international Jesper Grønkjær, who played for Chelsea among others, believes his former club will win the final.

"I still support Chelsea, because I have played with some of their players who will be playing tonight but I also believe that Chelsea will win because of the extreme pragmatism they showed in their semi-finals against FC Barcelona," said Gronkjær who is now working as a commentator for the Danish TV network Viasat.

Saturday 13.45, Andrew Haslam, Fußball Arena München
We've just arrived at the ground and there's still more than seven hours to go until kick-off, but you wouldn't know it from the number of supporters gathering outside already. Large numbers of Chelsea and Bayern fans are attempting to out-sing each other, swapping scarves and shirts and indulging in some gentle teasing about tonight's outcome. The mood is very jovial with no sign of any tension from any supporters – let’s hope the players are feeling equally relaxed.

Saturday 13.35, Josh Hershmann, Ultimate Champions match, Olympiastadion
I spoke to a few of the players to ask for their predictions for tonight...

Jamie Carragher: "The way Chelsea have got here in terms of their route to the final you just think it might be their year. Their run reminds me a bit of how we [Liverpool FC] got to Istanbul in 2005."

Ruud Gullit: "I think it's going to be a great game and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm a Chelsea fan, which everybody knows, so hopefully Chelsea will win. I think it will be 1-0 to Chelsea but I don't care who scores. For me Drogba should start. As long as Chelsea win I'll be a happy chappy!"

Gianfranco Zola: "It's great to be here for the cup final. What Chelsea have done this year is quite incredible so I wouldn't be surprised to see them lift the cup."

Saturday 13.28, UEFA.com Munich reporting team
The De Boer goal settled things in the World All-Stars' favour, and UEFA.com will have report and reaction a bit later.

But now let's go through what we have ahead of today's 'other' match in Munich... From yesterday's press conference there's the preview, Philipp Lahn and Bastian Schweinsteiger's rallying cry and Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba on the desire to go one better than 2008.

We've got exclusive behind the scenes photos, stars like Willy Sagnol have been answering your tweets, and you can watch exclusive interviews from the likes of referee Pedro Proença, David Luiz and Philipp Lahm, Arjen Robben and coach Jupp Heynckes among much else.

Saturday 13.20, UEFA.com London newsdesk
Perhaps we are nosy but we'd like to know: where are you watching the final tonight?

Saturday 13.12, UEFA.com Munich reporting team
AFC Ajax coach Frank de Boer has just scored a fine goal in the Ultimate Champions match live on UEFA.com four days after his 42nd birthday to please the World All-Stars boss, his former Netherlands team-mate Ruud Gullit; they now lead Bayern & Friends 3-2.

Saturday 12.57, Paolo Menicucci, UEFA.com Italian newsdesk
SportWeek, the weekly magazine of Gazzetta dello Sport, features a long interview with Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo, who also the cover star of the paper under the headline "Mister Di Matteo". The coach recalled the great achievement of eliminating FC Barcelona in the semi-finals. "I was having a team meeting before the match and as usual I was indicating the most dangerous opponents. Usually I'm talking about a forward with 15-18 goals and some assists. On the screen appeared the picture of Lionel Messi under which was written 61 goals and 20 assists. The whole team started to laugh, I think it helped to take some tension away."

Di Matteo also revealed his favourite quotation: "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence," by former American president Calvin Coolidge. "Talent, geniality, education; nothing is more important than persistence." He will need it against Bayern.

Saturday 12.40, UEFA.com Munich reporting team
It's 2-2 at half-time in the Ultimate Champions match live on UEFA.com. Samuel Eto'o put the World All-Stars ahead but they needed a Predrag Mijatović volley to level after Giovane Elber and Roy Makaay struck for Bayern & Friends.

Saturday 12.24, Kevin Ashby, Ultimate Champions match, Olympiastadion
Famous players and pop stars have taken time out to speak to UEFA.com this week, and we can now add the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, to the roll of honour. The Jamaican sprinter got the Ultimate Champions match under way at the Olympiastadion and can't wait to attend tonight's final at the Fußball Arena München.

"I'm thrilled to be here and wish I was playing," Bolt said. "I'm a big football fan and support Manchester United, and as they're not here I'm supporting Bayern tonight. It should be an interesting game, especially as Chelsea need to win to be in it again next year and Bayern are at home. It should be a tense match." And what about a prediction for the Ultimate Champions match? "I can't call it but it's going to be great and I'm looking forward to seeing it."

Saturday 12.22, Pedro Gonçalves, UEFA.com Portuguese newsdesk
The Portuguese press did not forget about the UEFA Champions League final today, and naturally the focus is on tonight's referee, Pedro Proença. A Bola highlights Proença's comments to UEFA.com: "I hope this will be a spectacle," is the title of an extended article.

As for O Jogo, the newspaper turns its attention to the Portuguese players at Chelsea, especially two defenders. "After today Bosingwa and Paulo Ferreira can become part of a select group of Portuguese players with two victories in the most important European club competition. Both were part of the FC Porto squad that won the Champions League in 2003/04 against Monaco, 3-0. Paulo Ferreira played the whole match in the final while Bosingwa was unused substitute in José Mourinho's team. Today it should be the opposite, as Bosingwa should start the match on the right side of the defence while Paulo Ferreira will be a substitute."

Saturday 12.08, Delfín Ramírez, UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk
Sports daily AS highlights Spanish duo Juan Mata and Fernando Torres looking for their first UEFA Champions League titles, while also considering how the final will go. "Today's game is marked by defensive absences in both sides, first-team players like Alaba, Luiz Gustavo and Badstuber in the German side, and others like Terry, Ramires, Meireles and Ivanović in the other, turning the lineup in an debating point but the tactics will change very little. Bayern will seek to take the initiative and find holes in a Chelsea side who could not defend well against Napoli, not against Benfica and less so against Barcelona."

Meanwhile, the national newspaper El Pais speaks about the final under this idea: "Bayern defends the weight of its history against a Chelsea chasing Abramovich's dream," to which they add: "The tradition continues and Bayern use their roaring 70s, when they were European champions three times (1974, 75 and 76), to impose the weight of their history. On their bench, curiously, Jupp Heynckes, one of the main domestic rivals to that Bayern side as forward in an unforgettable Borussia Mönchengladbach team. Meanwhile, from his arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2003, the Russian owner of Chelsea, Roman Abramovich, has invested about €800m in signings to provide nights like this, his second final in those nine years, after losing in 2008 against Manchester United."

Saturday 11.57, UEFA.com London newsdesk
Our stream of the Ultimate Champions match has begun, watch it here.

Saturday 11.47, Andy James, Ultimate Champions match, Olympiastadion
Starting up front for the Bayern All-Stars & Friends is Roy Makaay, who netted twice in Bayern's final Bundesliga match at the Olympiastadion in May 2005, an incredible 6-3 victory against Bavarian rivals 1. FC Nürnberg. Let's hope there are a similar number of goals this afternoon!

Saturday 11.40, Graham Hunter, Ultimate Champions match, Olympiastadion
The squad includes last year's Wembley finalist Edwin van der Sar who admits that this is a far more relaxed way to prepare for UEFA Champions League final day and that it's "how my friends have been enjoying their football for the last 20 or so years while I'm tucked up in bed preparing for the big games". Samuel Eto'o, a victor with FC Barcelona in both 2009 and 2006, is also on the bus as is FIFA World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro. But as the bus sets off from the team hotel it is Gianfranco Zola, Chelsea FC legend, who causes the autograph hunters to surge forward en masse. Typically he signs every last request. 

Saturday 11.34, Kevin Ashby, Ultimate Champions match, Olympiastadion
With a little under 30 minutes to go until kick-off in the Ultimate Champions match there's a lovely atmosphere building inside the Olympiastadion. Bayern last played a league match here in 2005, and their supporters are eager to revisit their much-loved former home.

Saturday 11.32, Graham Hunter, Ultimate Champions match, Olympiastadion
The team bus to the match at the Olympiastadion couldn't be more relaxed with loads of laughter, sons and fathers of the legendary players on the trip frmo the hotel and the meeting up of old friends. However the fact that Arthur Antunes Coimbra, aka Zico, is tucked away in the corner of the back row is causing a buzz even amongst the star-studded squad which includes multiple UEFA Champions League winners

Saturday 11.25, Elvir Islamović, Zagreb
"Uh, it's crazy here in Munich. Everywhere you can feel that the match is the only thing important to everyone, on the streets, in bars, shops.... Everyone are asking me about my prediction. But, we are relaxed, we are totally focused to win this. I really want to lift the trophy. I am talking about the match with my kids too. They are old enough to understand the importance of this..." Croatian forward Ivica Olić described the atmosphere to 24sata.

Saturday 11.20, Andy James, Champions Festival, Olympiapark
spoke to Bayern's UEFA Champions League heroes of 2001, several of whom offered personal words of encouragement to the latest generation of players hoping to add to the club's already-impressive list of four European crowns.

Samuel Kuffour, the tragic figure of Bayern's dramatic final defeat against Manchester United FC, reckons his old club will win tonight's decider "2-1 with goals from Robben and Müller".

Legendary left-back Bixente Lizarazu says that Bayern "have the chance to make themselves unforgettable. They simply have to win this final in the Arena. I'll be crossing all my fingers. Come on Bayern – you can do it! Get the title!"

Saturday 11.05, Andy James, Champions Festival, Olympiapark
It's impossible to avoid the UEFA Champions League final here in Munich and unsurprisingly the German papers are crammed with build-up to what will be an historic night for FC Bayern, whatever the outcome. Ahead of the game, the four-time competition winners have written an open letter to their supporters and football fans in general, signed by all players and coaching staff and published by Bild:

Dear Bayern fans,

Dear football fans throughout Germany,

The day is finally upon us. We're all looking forward to what will be an incredible 'Finale dahoam' ('home final'). The eyes of the world are on Munich […] and we are there!

We promise to do our utmost to make our collective dream come true. We'll give our all, just like we know you all will be, whether in the stadium, at public viewing events or at home.

We have a dream. Let's make it come true.

Team & coaching staff, your FC Bayern München
19 May 2012

Saturday 11.00, Munich reporting team
An hour to go until UEFA.com stream the Ultimate Champions match and as he prepares to get it under way Usain Bolt says: "I'm looking forward to the kick-off of the Ultimate Champions Match at the Olympiastadion. I'll be watching from the sidelines but I'll be passing on some tips to the legends on how to quicken their pace."

Saturday 10.46, Christian Châtelet, UEFA.com French newsdesk
Huge celebration pictures of Ribéry and Drogba, two of the Francophone stars of tonight, are the front page splash of L'Équipe this morning, as the sports newspaper focusing on Munich despite Ligue 1 interest ending in the quarter-finals. Just like their Greek counterparts, the paper's headline on Ribéry and Drogba claims "Their destiny at stake" and editors inside tip Bayern as "favourites for their fifth crown".

Saturday 10.35, Vassiliki Papantonopoulou from Athens
One day before the final matches in the Greek Super League play-offs, the local sport press shifts its attention to the UEFA Champions League final, predicting a battle royale in Munich.

Under the headline "More than a final", newspaper SportDay (with a six-page supplement about Bayern v Chelsea) focus on Franck Ribéry and Didier Drogba, saying: "It's now or never for the two superstars. They have gone through a lot and they have done even more in order to claim this cup for themselves tonight." The newspaper also analyses the probable lineups under the header "Extreme makeover" due to the total of seven suspensions.

Newspaper GoalNews speaks about: "The trophy of redemption. The European title will be able to heal the wounds of a domestic season gone sour for both finalists."

Saturday 10.26, Philip Röber, Fußball Arena München
Bayern's official website has released detailed information on the team's schedule running up to kick-off. Wake-up call was between 08.00 and 10.00, players could choose when to get up and eat breakfast but they had better be ready by 11.00, when there will be a light training session at the club's headquarters in the Säbener Strasse.

There will be two more meals at 13.30 and 17.30, followed by the final team meeting where coach Heynckes will inform his players about the lineup. Departure for the stadium is around two hours prior to kick-off, it's a ride that usually takes no more than 30 minutes but Bayern fans might be expected to crowd the streets and cheer the team on.

Saturday 10.17, UEFA.com London newsdesk
With four Chelsea suspensions, there is much speculation in the English press as to tonight's lineup. Ryan Bertrand is at the centre of the intrigue as the Daily Mirror reports. "England Under-21 man Bertrand has made just 12 starts for Chelsea's first team, only half of those in the Premier League, and hasn't played a single minute of European club football," the paper writes. "But with [Roberto] Di Matteo fearful of the threat posed down Bayern's right, with full-back and skipper Philipp Lahm doubling up with former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben, he is ready to put his faith in the youth-team product."

The predicted XI according to the Mirror is Čech; Bosingwa, Luiz, Cahill, Cole; Lampard, Mikel, Bertrand, Mata, Kalou; Drogba.

Saturday 10.00, Kevin Ashby, UEFA Champions Festival
Speaking to UEFA.com, Luís Figo gave his prediction for tonight's final. "It's going to be tactical initially because both teams will respect each other," said the former Portugal winger. "Bayern are probably the slight favourites because they play at home but sometimes in football that doesn't help you because of the additional pressure. I just hope it's a nice final and that the best team takes the trophy."

Saturday 09.50, UEFA.com London newsdesk
The lineups for the Ultimate Champions match – Bayern & Friends v Rest of the World – at the Olympiastadion, to be kicked off at 12.00 by 100m and 200m world record-holder Usain Bolt – have been confirmed, and you can watch it live on UEFA.com.

Saturday 09.45, UEFA.com London newsdesk
Before the day's business gets under way, a gentle reminder that there are a number of ways to win great prizes with UEFA.com, including Predictor, Player Rater, and Classics. For now, though, UEFA.com's match background and final press kit provide all the facts, records and history you need.


Last updated: 05/12/13 5.08CET