Munich: UEFA president Michel Platini insists that Bayern Munich and Chelsea are worthy Champions League finalists, claiming that they were both full value for their respective semi-final wins over Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Live coverage » I Bayern Munich’s road to final » I Interesting facts » I Lampard on CL final » I Mata on CL final » I Hamann on CL final »
Many pundits predicted a Clasico for the Allianz Arena but Bayern edged out Madrid on penalties, the night after defending champions Barcelona had been sensationally dumped out of competition after being held at home by 10-man Chelsea.
Some have suggested that it is a shame that the Blancos and the Blaugrana did not make the tournament decider, given they are widely regarded as the two strongest sides in the world, but Platini has pointed out that they failed to prove themselves on the pitch.
“They could be [the best teams in the world] but the final is there - it`s Bayern Munich against Chelsea," the former France international told CNN.
“I didn`t see Barcelona be better than Chelsea and I didn`t see Real Madrid be better than Bayern in these games.
“But then, everything was surprising [this season]: the non-qualification of some of the English teams to the second round; the fact that Chelsea and Bayern were not favourites for the semi-finals and they beat Barcelona and Real Madrid.
“It has been incredible year for the legend of the cup."
Reflecting on finals gone by, Platini admitted that, as far as he is concerned, two encounters stick out above all others.
"Istanbul was an incredible game for Liverpool against Milan and last year`s final between Barcelona and Manchester United was a great, great game with a great atmosphere at the stadium [Wembley]," he enthused.
This year`s edition kicks off at 20.45CET at the Allianz Arena.
First Published: Saturday, May 19, 2012, 10:44