Bayern Munich in last chance saloon against Chelsea

Kit Holden
allianz arena 300x225 Bayern Munich in last chance saloon against Chelsea

A view of the Allianz Arena, which hosts this weekend's final

Uli Hoeneß, it emerged this week, has spent 53,000 Euros on a box in the Allianz Arena for the workers at his family’s Nuremberg Bratwurst factory. A perfectly constructed act of Bavarian gallantry spoiled only by the Bayern President’s later admission to regret at having spent so much money.

The regret will be far greater if his more notable employees, those at FC Bayern München, do not win on Saturday evening. The talk in the German media is of a Bayern side, if not in crisis, then most certainly in last chance saloon. Last Saturday saw them squander a second domestic trophy to Borussia Dortmund in a truly disastrous display of defensive coordination; a defeat which means that the game against Chelsea is, definitively, an all or nothing scenario for Bayern. If they lose, it will be the first time in nearly two decades that the club has gone successive seasons without winning a single piece of silverware.

This Final, however, has a wider significance than merely fulfilling their own uniquely high expectations of success. Even if Bayern already had a domestic double under their belt this season, it would be impossible to overestimate the importance of winning on Saturday. Now more than ever, Bayern are FC Uli Hoeneß, and this is the Uli Hoeneß Final.

He is perhaps one of the most divisive figures in European football. A man who has directed his often vicious tongue towards everyone from Christoph Daum to Roman Abramovich, from left wing politician Gregor Gysi to Victoria Beckham. A man who has, almost single handedly, created the modern FC Bayern.

“We’re playing the Final for FC Bayern Munich, but Uli Hoeneß made FC Bayern Munich”, said Bastian Schweinsteiger, “so I hope that on Saturday, he’s not sitting in the stands with a red face.”

Not only did Bayern make Uli Hoeneß but, in the last twenty years at least, Uli Hoeneß has made FC Bayern. In the case of the Allianz Arena, it was Hoeneß who planned and oversaw its construction. It was Hoeneß who allowed Munich to host the Final this year. And it is, primarily, Hoeneß’ dream to see his beloved club become the first to win the Champions League on home soil.

Despite his dreams, the Bayern President remains a realist. He gives his side only the slenderest of advantages going into the game, saying they have a 51% chance of winning to Chelsea’s 49. It is a modest assertion, given that many commentators in both England and Germany have named Bayern as strong favourites.

There is certainly a case to be made in that respect. Not only do Bayern have the extra incentive of being at home, they also have a stronger attacking line up, suspensions of a less significant nature, and a manager who has experience of winning the Champions League under immense pressure.

Jupp Heynckes knows Hoeneß better than most, in fact and has expressed doubts over his nerves at the business end of this year’s European journey. He does not doubt, moreover, that his employer will be living every moment of the Final as if he were on the pitch: “Uli is an emotional person, and is someone who can articulate his feelings. In any direction.”

Hoeneß has experienced enough finals in his footballing career, however, to know that, more often than not, it comes down to which team has more guts on the day. He is fully aware that Chelsea are perfectly capable of ruining the dream, and should they do so, then look out for Schweinsteiger’s prediction of a scarlet face when the camera pans up to the stands. If the dream is to be realised, however, it will be the perfect crowning of Uli Hoeneß’ truly remarkable involvement with FC Bayern München.

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  • Neutral Observer

    Robben and Riebery will open up the can and Bayern will win

  • Jean-Luc Coq

    In English the standard practice is to replace the scharfes s with “ss”. So it’s Uli Hoeness. Odd that the correspondent doesn’t know this.

  • vanzetti

    Been watching the match tonight and greatly amused by the anguish on chelsea supporters’ faces – Chelsea,  this quintessentially ENGLISH team followed by masses of Londoner white van persons…this great English institution, owned by a Russian oligarch, sporting a first team with less than 20% english/british players, and hey, managed by an Italian.. and yet its supporters would slice you wide open  for questioning their team’s pedigree….
    Chelsea FC has as much to do with England and Englishness as my  verrucas – precisely nothing!

  • cityrule57

    So true. You could also add Man City with an Italian manager, arab owner with essentially foreign star players and Arsenal with French manager, foreign players etc…

    Why do people still support teams that now have little to do with their locality? is this not insane. You may as well support Sainsburys v Tesco or Morrisons v Waitrose etc. Get my drift?  

  • Ed McCabe

     But his name isn’t English, it’s German. So to change it to ’ss’ is surely incorrect?

  • Dant3

    Vanzetti, this is such an ignorant comment to make and it shows a lack of football knowledge but I will forgive you as I know it’s a comment born out of hart break and disappointment or your simply a Chelsea hater.

    Let me educate you …. The DNA or make up of a football club, the history and culture (or as you put it “the pedigree”) has nothing to do with the personnel (players), management  or ownership of the team. Players, managers and owners will always come and go …. The history and culture (“the pedigree”) of any team has always and will always stem from the supporters who follow and support the team through thick and thin, the bad and good times, generation after generation.

    I don’t know what the situation is at your team, maybe it’s the reverse and the pedigree of your club is dictated by the players and management, good luck to you.

    Chelsea FC has been in existence since 1905, long before the less than 20% English/British players, the Italian manager or Russian oligarch owner and will continue to exist after they are long gone.

    So what if the Chelsea’s first team has less than 20% English player, who cares, it is not the English national team but rather a football club from London (the most multi national and multi cultural city in the world), so it depicts all that is true about London.

    Chelsea FC is what it is, Chelsea FC from Chelsea, West London ……… not England FC, with players and supporters from all over the world but the DNA, history and culture of Chelsea will continue to be carried on from generation to generation and this triumph will add to that history and pedigree of the club.

    So stop being a sore loser :-(

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