Nothing is certain. A sentence that can be applied to any cup final but tonight, at the Bernabeu, one team will reign over the rest of Europe with the unexpected and intensified joy of having not been fancied at the start of the season.
However many times Richard Key’s waxes lyrical about his chum Jose, nobody predicted, at the start of the season, that Inter Milan would reach the final. As for Van Gaal’s team, most people hadn’t even heard of Holger Badstuber! Each side reached momentum at about the right time after almost being eliminated in the group stages. Wesley Sneijder’s injury time goal against Dynamo Kiev and Hans-Jorg Butt’s late penalty against Juventus meant the two teams clung onto Champions Leage football.
All things considered and with the apparent “Jose” factor, if you watch Sky that is, Inter have to be considered favourites for tonight’s grand prize. But NBOP disagrees with the musings of Andy Grey and co by predicting that ol’ big ears will be heading down to Bavaria later tonight.
The key man for the the Bavarians will be that pesky little Olic fellow. Like Carlos Tevez on speed the Croat is relentless in his hastling and harryin of defenders and may not win the physical battle against the battle scarred Lucio and Samuel but he may just win the mental battle. The central defensive pairing will know that any error of judgement, any bad touch and any hesitation will be punished by the striker who’s pestering made Michael Carrick’s touch look more like Michael Brown’s in the quarter final at OT.
The little Croat recently said in an ESPN soccernet interview:
My recipe for success has been the same since I was a kid. Always come off the field with the feeling you’ve given every last drop of effort and will. My game is based on my mobility, energy and sharpness. I’d like to think I can be on the move for the whole game and stay mentally fresh as well. I’m not one to get tired and things have happened for me in the Champions League this season. Hopefully it happens again in the final game.
Indeed it may Ivica! If the Croat does go on to play a major part in tonight’s final you heard it hear first. Well probably not, lets just pretend.
Happy reading, happy viewing and love to your Mothers.
p.s Charlie Adam has a delicious left foot