BREMEN, GERMANY - APRIL 21: Bastian Schweinsteiger of Muenchen controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between SV Werder Bremen and FC Bayern Muenchen at Weser Stadium on April 21, 2012 in Bremen, Germany. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images)
I think we can all admit that on paper, Bayern Munich are a better team than Chelsea. There's not much shame in that, because Bayern Munich are really rather good. Oh, and we get to play them in the Champions League final* nine days from now. At the Allianz Arena, which is their home ground. Super.
*Holy [fun] you guys we're totally playing in the Champions League final!
One of the reasons that Bayern have been such a strong team of late is the presence of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who's basically the only box to box midfielder who could compete with the good version of Michael Essien (boy, if we had the good version of Michael Essien around that would be helpful). However, Schweinsteiger's been in and out of the side with injuries this year, and he may not be 100% fit for the final:
You have days when you notice the problem is still there and not yet fully recovered. The injury is fading away, but there is something still not quite right.
It's pretty obvious that he's not at his best when you see him play these days, and while I absolutely adore him as a player and am sad he's having a rough year, Bayern's loss is clearly Chelsea's gain here. If Schweinsteiger plays at less than full fitness in the pivot, Juan Mata should have a good day (their other starting central midfielder is Luis Gustavo, who is suspended for this match, which means Anatoly Tymoshchuk is expected to play instead).
If Schweinsteiger can't play at all, that means Toni Kroos will have to be pulled back as cover*, meaning Thomas Mueller in the hole. That might sound terrifying if you haven't been paying to the Bundesliga this season, but Mueller's having a very rough time of things and Kroos has been excellent, so that'd almost certainly be a net positive as far as Chelsea are concerned.
*Assuming Danijel Pranjic doesn't start, which would be strange.
Chelsea, of course, are dealing with injury problems of their own - we still don't know what our back line will look like on the 19th. But it's slightly comforting to know that things aren't all rosy for our opponents, either.