Without doubt, the calmest man in the maelstrom stew of nerves and emotions on the touchline of the Allianz Arena tomorrow night will be Roberto Di Matteo. That slight smile that gives him the appearance of a Bond villain will play across his lips as he walks out with his Chelsea team; enigmatic, inscrutable, unperturbed. Someone really should give him a white cat to stroke as he sits in the dug out.
It is quite a trick he pulls off given the pressure he must be under. This is Chelsea, the biggest vanity project in football, the vehicle that is supposed to deliver status and meaning to the capricious billionaire who bankrolls them. This is Chelsea, where even winning the domestic double is not sufficient to insulate a manager from his boss's ambition. This is Chelsea, where solely the lifting the biggest trophy in club football will slake the owner's thirst. And then only temporarily.
But if that reality is exerting pressure - and look what it did to Avram Grant; he looked like Hugh Grant before he took the job - you'd never know it from Di Matteo's countenance. He appears more relaxed than most coaches would be overseeing a pre-season friendly. Frankly, he looks more relaxed than any boss of an under-nines team you will encounter in the park this weekend.
His ability not to flinch under pressure has been noted by those who have been in the game much longer than him. Jupp Heynckes, his counterpart tomorrow, reflected from his Bayern Munich training camp the other day that Di Matteo deports himself in such a calm manner it can only communicate positive messages to his players. The last thing a footballer needs in a big game is his manager evidently cracking up on the touchline. You'll never get that from the Italian/Swiss.
This tranquility has taken Chelsea to the brink of European domination this season. After the edgy, fidgety reign of Andre Villas-Boas, Di Matteo's calm acted as a healing balm in the Stamford Bridge dressing room. Tension lifted, fractured morale repaired itself, suddenly it was fun again to pull on a blue shirt. Together with the core of experience in the side, it has carried Chelsea from a point of apparent internal self-destruction already to the point of already lifting one trophy this season and to within an ace of another.
Still, tomorrow the weight of requirement will be enormous. The immediate well-being of the enterprise is dependent on this game. It is not so much financial reasons that Di Matteo is expected to win this game and thus gain the only route to lucrative Champions League selection next season - Chelsea long ago parted company with the normal profit and loss rules of business. It is to do with the club's sense of itself. Chelsea now regard themselves as a Champions league club; not being there next season will severely damage their owner's personal prestige. And he doesn't like that.
Despite this, Di Matteo is not flustered. Nor, as a consequence of his lead, will his players be.
The irony is, part of the reason he can be so sanguine about the appointment is that he knows whatever the outcome, he won't be involved next year. In his pre-match interviews he hinted that tomorrow will be the last engagement he undertakes as Chelsea manager. The club's hierarchy have apparently indicated to him that his role is solely that of caretaker and that they have eyes elsewhere for a permanent custodian. Though obviously, this being Chelsea, permanent is a relative term.
And in a sense, that is the best possible news for Di Matteo. He will know that what he has done this season is largely to surf the last hurrah of a dying team. Drogba, Cole, Lampard: these old war horses have given him amazing support. His evident public trust in them has been manifestly returned. But the fact remains the rebuilding job Villas-Boas rather clumsily attempted to start back in August still requires doing. If Di Matteo were given the job full time, it would be beholden to him to ease out the legends. And perhaps more trickily find replacements for them. How much less daunting to be the man to encourage one last great performance out of them rather than to be the man to hand them their P45. How much less daunting to know you will leave the club a hero, your reputation soaring rather than holed below the water line, your place in history assured. And what a fantastic opportunity is there in Munich for his own personal legend: Roberto Di Matteo, the man who won the European Cup at last for Chelsea and then walked away.