UEFA Champions League Final
Bayern vs Chelsea 19:00 SS3
MUNICH – Jupp Heynckes believes Bayern Munich have a “little advantage” as UEFA Champions League final hosts but is equally aware of the threat of a “dangerous” Chelsea side.
In terms of coaching experience, there is hardly any comparison – when Jupp Heynckes began his first spell in charge of Bayern, Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo had yet to even make his professional debut as a player.
Heynckes has achieved so much since then, most notably steering Real Madrid CF to their first European Cup in 32 years in 1998, but, despite the clear disparity in coaching pedigree, the 67-year-old has been impressed with Chelsea since Di Matteo took over in March.
And, as Bayern prepare to tackle their English rivals at the Fußball Arena München on Saturday, the veteran knows not to take anything for granted on the tactical front.
“You can see that Chelsea can play different systems,” said Heynckes, aiming to become only the fourth coach to win the trophy with different clubs.
“They played completely differently against Benfica [in the quarter-finals] than they did against Barcelona [in the last four]. I expect Chelsea to be a bit different than against Barcelona. The team has been going through a really good period in the last weeks, and they’re playing better, more successful football.”
The former West Germany striker, who took the Bayern reins for the third time last summer, also has plenty of respect for the men at Di Matteo’s command.
“They have a lot of experienced players in their team and it’s clear that the veterans, the players who’ve been playing at Chelsea for many years, want to win something big. And that’s very dangerous for us”. The match will be open and the chances are 50-50, but it might be a little advantage to play here at home.”
As well as an advantage, Heynckes knows that contesting the showpiece on home soil represents an opportunity to write a new chapter in the history of the club he led to consecutive Bundesliga titles in 1988/89 and 1989/90.
After all, no side has triumphed on their own turf in the UEFA Champions League era. “It’s something special to play the final in your own stadium,” he said. “It’s something extraordinary, something that’s never happened [since 1965], something historic. So, of course, it would be massive to win the final.”