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Battered Bayern Faces Chelsea in UEFA League Final

18 May 2012

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Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery (L) walks past coach, Jupp Heynckes

AP

Franck Ribery refuses to even entertain the idea of Bayern Munich losing before its home fans in the Champions League final against Chelsea.

After a long and taxing season, he insists the team will muster every last bit of energy Saturday to bring home a trophy that may have seemed destined for Bayern since its stadium was chosen as the venue for the final, reports The Associated Press.

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

Bayern is the first team to contest the final at its own stadium, and even Chelsea's players are willing to acknowledge that's a massive advantage.

''We are not the favourites 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.''

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

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

Arjen Robben, Bayern's other star winger, said the losses against Dortmund have only served as further motivation for the ''match of our lives.''

Robben and Ribery spoke Thursday, one month after their locker-room clash at halftime of the home semi-final against Real Madrid. Ribery punched Robben in an argument over who should have taken a free kick.

The feud was reportedly settled, Bayern went on to eliminate Real in Madrid on penalty kicks in the second leg and Robben extended his contract with Bayern.

''We can only win together,'' Ribery said.

Since this is their only chance to end the season with a trophy, Robben said his teammates were more motivated than in 2010, when the club lost the final to Inter Milan.

''Then, we had a successful season behind us,'' Robben said. ''We had two titles and we were in a good mood. Now, this is the only thing we can win. That's more of a stimulant. We have to win the title.''

Ribery was equally determined.

''We must not even think about it (defeat),'' he said. ''If we win the Champions League, then we can forget about not winning the league or the cup. Nobody will care about that.''

Bayern will be looking for its fifth European Cup title without three suspended defenders - David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luiz Gustavo.

''I hope we can win because then they can forget that they couldn't play,'' said Ribery, who was suspended for the 2010 final.

As it seeks its first title, Chelsea will be without four key suspended players – captain, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles.

While Bayern has won 14 of its last 15 Champions League matches, including seven straight at home, and Chelsea has only one win on the road this season, the London club will be full of confidence after eliminating defending champion Barcelona in the semi-finals and then winning the FA Cup trophy.

''It's nice to know that we beat Barcelona. But we're clever enough to know that if you lose the final people quickly forget who you beat in the semi-finals,'' midfielder Frank Lampard said. ''For Chelsea it would be the greatest achievement for sure.''

Tags: Sports, World, Bayern, CHELSEA, UEFA League

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