Bayern Munich will be looking for their fifth Champions League title when they host the 2008 runner-ups, Chelsea today at the Allianz Arena in Munich.
“One month ago everyone was expecting a final between Real Madrid and Barcelona, but here we are with Bayern Munich and Chelsea, they deserved to be in the final, they played very well in the semifinals” said the Spanish star in an exclusive interview to Doha-based Al Jazeera Sport News Channel.
Raúl, who joined the Qatari Club last week in a 2-year deal after his contract with German Club Schalke 04 expired, agreed that the German team might have the home advantage but refused to put the Blues out of contention for the title, “We will see a great final, Bayern playing the final in their home stadium for the first time, will surely boost the players’ morale, but do not forget that half of the stadium will be filled by Chelsea fans, I think it will all be decided through little details” he said.
The Spanish star also talked about the two coaches, “Juup Heynckes is a good coach, and a great personality, in most of his training sessions he focuses on ball possession and playing in the opponent’s half, the team used these tactics in the semis and they reached the final” he said.
“In Santiago Bernabeu they were two goals down, but were able to come back from behind, they did not panic and were in control for most of the second half, and that shows the quality of this team” he added.
Heynckes coached Real Madrid in the 1997-98 season, and despite leading them to what was their seventh Champions League title and their first since 32 years, he was sacked at the end of the season.
Raúl was only 20-year-old at that time but he was already one of the stars of the team. He later won two more Champions League titles with the Spanish giants.
The legendary number “7” praised Chelsea Italian coach Roberto Di Matteo “He is doing a great job with Chelsea, it was a chance for him to prove himself, he did very well, and you cannot ask for more from him, they reached the final and improved very much in the Champions league despite their fluctuating league from for most of the season he said.
The UEFA Champions League Final will kick off today at 21:45 Doha Time. The match will be broadcasted for the Middle East live and exclusive on Al Jazeera Sport Channel. You can follow an English language special coverage of the event on Al Jazeera Sport +3 (Nilesat 102 Satellite-Frequency 12284 & Arabsat Satellite-Frequency 12379).