WORDS ON: BAYERN MUNICH

Undoubtedly many Chelsea fans watched Bayern Munich intently as they overcame Real Madrid the day after we had knocked out Spanish opposition to reach the Champions League final. Some will also have made a point of watching the German Cup Final at the weekend when the Bavarian side lost heavily to rivals from the north in the shape of Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund.

There will be other Chelsea supporters who caught Bayern Munich games throughout the season but for those who didn't, the official Chelsea website spoke to someone who has been keeping a close eye on our opponents this Saturday - our former sporting director Frank Arnesen who has spent this season in a similar role in Germany at Hamburg.

Arnesen began by emphasising Bayern's status in German football.

'Financially they are way ahead of anybody else in the Bundesliga and they are one of the few clubs who can compete with the biggest clubs in England,' he says.

'Over the last 40 years they are always up there and always buying players, and unusually for Germany they buy players for 20 million or 30 million euros once in a while.

'They are the only club doing that and there is a lot of pressure on them to be the champions which they have done half the seasons in the last 30 years, so they are used to winning big games.'

Arnesen (pictured below) reveals Bayern's current manager, Jupp Heynckes, has continued on with the playing style developed under his predecessor Louis van Gaal which took the team to a domestic double and the Champions League Final two seasons ago. Heynckes is in his third stint in charge, his second coming immediately prior to Van Gaal.

Arnesen


'They play with wingers and the second striker is a midfield player playing behind,' Arnesen describes.

'They have two players in front of the defence and one has licence to go forward all the time. In the last few years they have signed some very good young talent who have grown up to be very good players, and that is one of the reasons why the national team of Germany has been doing so well.

'But in defence on Saturday they will have problems.'

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is already known to Chelsea from our 2007 meetings with Schalke - a 2-0 home win and 0-0 draw away. Full-back Philipp Lahm was in the Stuttgart side we defeated four seasons earlier.

'Neuer was only 19 years old when he made his debut for Schalke and Bayern signed him for a lot of money, over 20 million euros last summer,' notes Arnesen

'He is number one in the German national team, he can use his feet very well and is very good coming for crosses. He is agile but tall so is a very good talent.

'The captain Lahm was previously leftfull-back but they had problems and they put him on the right and he stayed there because he had done very well, particularly with Arjen Robben on that side.

'Lahm is small and can be compared a little bit with Ashley Cole but right-footed. He is good with the ball and even though he is small physically he can defend well like Ashley.

'In central defence, Holger Badstuber is an international who is suspended and also at left back, their new big talent, David Alaba, who is only 19 years old will not be there either.

'They still have Jerome Boateng in central defence who people will know from Manchester City but Daniel Van Buyten who has played there before is out for a long time with injury.

'So they could play Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, a midfield player from Ukraine, further back in defence and at left-back Diego Contento who came on in the Cup Final. So this is the weak part because they are not used to playing together, and Chelsea are good going forward, so this is the chance for Chelsea.'

In midfield Bayern have lost defensive player Luiz Gustavo to suspension but Arnesen still sees plenty of strength in that area. Bastian Schweinsteiger, the only player remaining from when Bayern were defeat in the quarter-final by Chelsea in 2005, will line up with Toni Kroos. Thomas Muller is expected to be the attacking midfield player behind striker Mario Gomez.

'Their midfield is very good going forward altogether,' says Arnesen, ' but maybe lacking a little bit defensively so they have to count on Schweinsteiger a lot in this department.

'Up front they have a lot of quality. Robben I don't need to introduce to anybody at Chelsea. He plays on the right side and has had an up-and-down season this year but against Real Madrid when it counted he had a great game, and one against one he is always very dangerous.

'On the left side Franck Ribery (pictured below) has had a very good season. He is making more goals than Robben, and Robben is scoring more goals.

Ribery

'They do switch wings once in a while, such as when they take corners , but Ribery has a little more licence to go inside and play like Juan Mata when he is on the left for Chelsea, often going and playing in the hole in between the defenders and the midfield players. You see him do that more than Robben. Without the ball you will see Ribery not switching sides but coming inside more to give a man extra in midfield.

'Gomez is a huge 6ft 3in striker who was second topscorer in Germany this season. He is very good with the head, is physically strong and his feet are not bad either.'

Before too much is read into Bayern's Cup Final defeat at the weekend when they played their suspended players, Arnesen rates Borussia Dortmund as a young emerging force in European football who under-performed in the Champions League this season, but adds:

'When you get beaten 5-2 the week before the Champions League Final, that is never good for confidence, especially when you know you will be missing three players.

'Chelsea will miss four players but have very good replacements so I think they can cope and I hope more so than Bayern will with the loss of Badstuber and Alaba.

'Many people, including myself, were expecting a Final between Barcelona and Real Madrid but this is what makes football great. I am very happy to see Chelsea in the Final and I will be there supporting them. It will be very difficult to beat Bayern Munich in Munich but I give Chelsea a chance.'