The clash of the continents is only hours away. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton complete their world view…
European champions Chelsea aim to be crowned kings of the world. We look at how they might achieve that coronation.
Corinthians completed their 2012 Brazilian Serie A campaign earlier this month with a 1-3 defeat at the hands of fierce local rivals São Paulo, having taken an early lead through striker Paolo Guerrero. The loss meant they slipped to a final place of sixth - their worst finish in three years.
One of the Brazilians' standout players was overlapping right-back Alessandro. He may lack the dynamism of a Dani Alvés but caused the Egyptians' defence great problems on Wednesday.
On the same flank (but usually a centre-forward) Emerson Sheik may be carrying an injury. He is something of a wild character - as well as scoring twice in the Copa Libertadores final he bit a Boca Juniors defender on the hand. Ashley Cole could be in for an interesting encounter and will need plenty of support from whoever is playing in midfield on Chelsea's left. Corinthians also switch wingers during games.
At the apex in attack against Al-Ahly was Paolo Guerrero (pictured below), the man who notched the winner. He faced Chelsea twice in a spell at Bayern Munich, in April 2005. He played the whole of the quarter-final first leg at the Bridge, a 4-2 win for the Blues. During the return in Germany he came off the bench to replace first-choice forward Roy Makaay and scored in stoppage time from a Bastian Schweinsteiger pass. Bayern won 3-2 on the night.
Rafael Benítez handed David Luíz his first start as a deep-lying midfielder in the win over Monterrey. The Brazilian, who has made no secret of his childhood dream to win this competition, excelled, mixing up tidy defence with probing long passes and driving runs through the Mexicans' centre. Frank Lampard continued his return from injury in assured fashion and went close with a characteristic edge-of-box strike.
For Corinthians, Paulinho is a powerful midfield presence who appeared to play within himself in Wednesday's semi-final against Al-Ahly.
Under normal circumstances he can be dangerously elusive, arriving unnoticed in dangerous areas in and around the box. Chelsea's propensity to switch off, evident again in Monterrey's consolation goal on Thursday, will have encouraged the Lampard-esque no.8.
Timão won the Copa Libertadores with best defensive record ever. They are well organised defensively and know how to compress a game: the system that swiftly forms a front four can also form banks of four or a back six.
Against the Egyptians they conceded possession for periods of the second half without serious concerns. However, their back four became stretched and switched off at times, allowing Al-Ahly's ultimately wasteful forwards to be picked out in good positions with surprising ease.
Chelsea will aim to test Corinthians' vulnerability to direct forward passes and swift interplay of the sort brilliantly displayed at times by Eden Hazard, Oscar, Fernando Torres and opening goalscorer Juan Mata, who has hit the net in four successive games. Torres now has five goals in three matches.
The Al-Ahly-Corinthians match was notably slower than a typical Premier League or even Champions League match. A high tempo is surely something the Blues must impose on the game to unsettle our opponents, especially one that's just completed a 38-game league campaign.
Benitez rested Ramires and Ryan Bertrand entirely and, to lesser degrees Lampard and Victor Moses, of his recent regulars. He has already shown himself a manager prepared to tweak his team to obtain the right result in each match.
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Rafael Benitez won the FIFA Club World Cup in 2010 with Inter Milan. Carlo Ancelotti also won the trophy while at AC Milan in 2007.
The Blues qualified the FIFA Club World Cup by beating Bayern Munich in the Champions League final 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw after extra time.
There have been 35 goals scored in our eight matches this season against foreign opposition.
|2011/12 UEFA Champions League group stage|
|Sep 13||Bayer Leverkusen (h)||W 2-0|
|Sep 28||Valencia (a)||D 1-1|
|Oct 19||KRC Genk (h)||W 5-0|
|Nov 1||KRC Genk (a)||D 1-1|
|Nov 23||Bayer Leverkusen (a)||L 1-2|
|Dec 6||Valencia (h)||W 3-0|
|Champions League Group E table|
|2011/12 UEFA Champions League knockout stage|
|Feb 21||Napoli (Round of 16 a)||L 1-3|
|Mar 14||Napoli (Round of 16 h)||W 4-1|
|Mar 27||Benfica (Quarter-final a)||W 1-0|
|Apr 4||Benfica (Quarter-final h)||W 2-1|
|Apr 18||Barcelona (Semi-final h)||W 1-0|
|Apr 24||Barcelona (Semi-final a)||D 2-2|
|May 19||Bayern Munich (Final, Munich)||D 1-1*|
We lined up 4-2-3-1: Cech; Bosingwa, Cahill, D Luiz, Cole; Mikel, Lampard (c); Kalou (Torres 83), Mata, Bertrand (Malouda 73); Drogba.
Scorer: Drogba (88). Shoot out scorers: D Luiz, Lampard, Cole, Drogba.
Penalty save: Cech. Shoot-out saves: Cech 2
Chelsea have won three of our last five penalty shoot-outs, the last being at the Allianz Arena for the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
|Last six results|