MIDFIELDER Frank Lampard has warned his Chelsea team-mates they will be facing an iron-willed Bayern Munich side in Saturday’s Champions League final.
Lampard’s youth is littered with memories of English heartbreak at the hands of German opposition, with the national team beaten by their European neighbours on penalties in semi-final shootouts in Italia 90 and Euro 96.
Fourteen years after Gareth Southgate’s miss at Wembley, Lampard was himself left distraught in England colours as he was denied a perfectly good goal against the Germans at the 2010 World Cup in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
“I grew up being frustrated by them as an England fan because you knew how tough they were in certain situations,” he said.
“I worked closely here with Michael Ballack and he was so determined, self-confident and he wanted to win – I think that’s a trait. Other German teams I’ve played against seem to have that, and individually as players I sense that they’ve got that.”
This weekend the Blues veteran, who turns 34 next month, is presented with another opportunity for redemption as he leads out Chelsea in the Allianz Arena to take on a Bayern side with home advantage.
Lampard watched Bayern’s demoralising 5-2 defeat against Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup final last Saturday, however the experienced central midfielder is not underestimating the Bavarians.
“I watched them play at the weekend against Dortmund,” he added. In [Bastian] Schweinsteiger and [Toni] Kroos they’ve got two fantastic midfield players. Kroos has really come on and impressed me this season and then they’ve got [Thomas] Müller who can play behind the frontman. It’s going to be a battleground.
“[Mario] Gómez is a powerhouse. His goal record has been amazing; he’s strong, a good finisher and he’s got good all-round ability. It’s a massive challenge [for the back four] but in terms of Gary [Cahill] looking like they’re going to be fit, I think we’ve got good cover [for the suspended John Terry].
“A lot of teams would lose their two centre-halves and not be so confident, but I’m confident in them and Ashley Cole and whoever plays at right-back.”
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