- Associated Press - Thursday, May 17, 2012

MUNICH — Bayern Munich heads into the Champions League final against Chelsea at its own stadium as a strong favorite to win a fifth European Cup, a title that could make up for its failures in domestic competitions.

Chelsea won the FA Cup but had a disappointing Premier League season. It is missing four important players through suspension and is guided by a temporary manager.

Its best hope of turning the tables on Bayern is striker Didier Drogba, who could benefit from the fact that three regular Bayern defenders are also suspended for Saturday’s final at Allianz Arena.

“It’s only the second time we’ve reached a final for Chelsea, so we’re going to do everything to go there and give everything,” Drogba said.

Bayern is the first team to contest a Champions League final at its stadium, and even Chelsea’s players acknowledge that’s a massive advantage for the German club.

“We are not the favorites of the game, we are playing away,” Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech said. “It is very rare when you have the home team playing in the home stadium, using the home dressing room, so I think the advantage goes to Bayern Munich because of that. But we know we have a chance and we will fight for it.”

Under the old Champions Cup format, Real Madrid won at home in 1957, Inter Milan won at home in 1965, and AS Roma lost at home in 1984.

Franck Ribery doesn’t even want to entertain the idea of Bayern losing in front of its home fans. After a long and taxing season, he said the team will muster every last bit of energy to win.

“Lose? That’s not possible. And if we are dead after the game, then we are dead,” the Bayern winger said.

But Bayern must regroup after a humiliating 5-2 loss in the German Cup final to Borussia Dortmund, the team that also snatched the Bundesliga title.

A loss in the final game of the season would leave Bayern without a trophy for the second straight year.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide