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When any list of the all-time Chelsea FC greats is prepared both Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba will feature prominently yet the pair are clear that they want to make history rather than be weighed down by it – which requires them to defeat FC Bayern München.
The four years since Chelsea dramatically lost the 2008 UEFA Champions League final in Moscow to Manchester United FC have been packed with incident and triumph for the club. But in the moments when the English midfielder and the rampaging Ivorian striker were asked to recall leaving Russia without the trophy, it was as if the defeat was yesterday.
Lampard, Chelsea's goalscorer on that rainy night four years ago, explained: "The experience in Moscow isn't something which is traumatic every day. As a footballer you learn you can't win everything but you have to learn to take positives from defeat. In Moscow we went through a feeling of real disappointment and we have to use that to inspire us to win this year. You saw the way we celebrated in Barcelona [after the semi-final second leg] – that was because we are so pleased to have another opportunity to win this tournament."
Drogba's burden from Moscow was perhaps even heavier after his dismissal late in extra time, meaning he was a helpless onlooker for the ensuing penalty shoot-out. "That was a difficult moment for me and for the club," he said. "It's a memory I can't forget, but it's the past. I am only looking at tomorrow and I'm very happy to be in a Champions League final again. We learned a lot from the first final. I hope this one is going to be great for us."
The last time these sides met, in the 2005 quarter-finals, Chelsea prevailed 6-5 on aggregate with Drogba and Lampard both scoring in a 4-2 first-leg triumph at Stamford Bridge and then in the 3-2 Olympiastadion reverse. Perhaps that offers hope to a side who face the first team to contest a UEFA Champions League final in its home stadium, although Lampard, who will captain Chelsea in place of the suspended John Terry, is unconcerned about the additional test that poses.
"The atmosphere has already been amazing as we travelled from the airport to our hotel and then to training," the midfielder said. "[Bayern] have an advantage, to play on the pitch they are used to, to change in the same dressing room as always and to have the city behind them. You can play about with exactly how much of an advantage it is but I think it's brilliant for us. If you are an underdog that's a motivation and if you really believe in yourself it can be a great boost."
The affection in which Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich holds the competition is no secret, although Lampard revealed the Russian had not yet been in touch. "The general message is always there," he said. "Without everything he's put into the club, we wouldn't be here.
We need to win to qualify for next season's tournament but there are not many times you get to a final and the whole idea is simply to win it."
Chelsea have come back strongly since Roberto Di Matteo replaced André Villas-Boas at the start of March, although Drogba is realistic to know that how the campaign will be perceived depends largely on the result in Munich. "
It has been a difficult season but if we win everyone will say it's a fantastic one. They'll only remember that we won the cup."
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