Champions League - Lampard eyes finest hour

Fri, 18 May 15:56:00 2012

Chelsea vice-captain Frank Lampard says beating Bayern Munich on Saturday would be the finest achievement in the club's history..

Frank Lampard - 0

Speaking to the media in a wide-ranging interview this week, the man who will lead Chelsea out in the absence of the suspended John Terry also spoke of his memories of losing the 2008 final to Manchester United, and the challenge of facing a German club in the showpiece event.

Have you thought about this game a lot since the FA Cup final? Is it something you think about every minute of the day?

Not quite every minute of the day, but it has occupied my mind and I am sure everyone's mind because we have seen this season that we were pretty unfancied to get this far at different stages. On the way out to Napoli and then against Barcelona no one fancied us. It's not that we have surprised ourselves, but when you don't see it coming the fact that you are there is even more enjoyable in a way. Obviously you want to go and win it, but it has been a nice thought in the past couple of weeks.

What did you feel about the team's prospects when you were watching them getting turned over in Naples?

We were struggling. It took a big effort in the weeks between the two Napoli games to turn things around, but the home game was a massive turning point in our season - was the major turning point in our season.

Did you sense then that things might be changing?

A little bit. You know from experience that football can change in two seconds: you can go from the worst to the best in a second and the other way round quickly as well. That is the nature of the game. I think we always knew we had the quality. It was disappointing because we were losing points in the league as well at that point but we knew we were better than that and it took a big effort from everyone at the club: the staff, the players, we all had to improve at that stage.

You have taken that on yourself as well, haven't you? You have become instrumental in how things have turned around so quickly in the group...

Yeah, I have been back in playing more regularly and I feel better. I am enjoying my football again more and I think everybody here would say the same. Didier [Drogba] has been absolutely huge in that run as well because of the important goals he has scored.

When you look at the history your team has had in the Champions League, does it feel like it is all building towards Sunday and a climax?

I don't know really. Not to write us off in future years, but there is no mistake: every year we get the same questions around the knockout stage. Is this the year? And every year we have failed them, we haven't done it. There is only destiny if you make it yourself and we are one step closer to making it. It does feel every year that we want to do it even more.

Drogba braced for final

In the circumstances, given the players who are missing, would it be the greatest achievement of the squad and the club to win?

For Chelsea it would be the best achievement, for sure. We have got four players out who played in our best performance of the season [away in Barcelona] so it would be a huge achievement. I think every step has been a huge achievement: the Barcelona games and the turnaround from Napoli were huge achievements for everybody, so if we were to finish and win it, I think it would certainly be Chelsea's best ever feat.

You have scored in a Champions League final and you have scored a penalty in a Champions League final shoot-out. You have been so close. Do you still think about that?

A little bit. Things move on, but I think about all my successes and failures and often the failures stick in your head as much as the successes. They are in your mind and you do move on but I have nice memories of Moscow. Obviously not the end memory but the occasion itself. So it would be nice to go back and win it this time.

With John Terry suspended you will be captain. How will you go about the role?

As I always do, and as I tried to be in Barcelona. I was probably more vocal in Barcelona than I have been ever, it was such a backs-to-the-wall situation. I will try and be vocal, I will try and play by example and I know the players and I have been here long enough. I will feel pride to take on the responsibility to try and lead a little bit. We have got leaders.

How big a challenge is it for your back four with the absence of John?

A huge challenge. They have fantastic talent up front. As I have said I have watched them a few times and at the weekend. It wasn't the greatest game for them, they lost, but you could see the talent Mario Gomez has as a player. He has been amazing with his all-round game and finishing and we know all about him.

If you don't win the match on Saturday you are not back in the competition next season. Does that add to the pressure and give it an extra dimension for you?

It is a sideshow; it is in the back of our minds. It certainly doesn't become the overall issue. I think the game in itself and what it means on the day is the first goal, but obviously for the club it becomes more prominent now we are out of the top four.

What do you think about facing a German club in the final?

I have huge respect for them. I grew up being frustrated by them as an England fan. You knew how tough they were in certain situations. I worked with Michael Ballack for a number of years and he was one of those players - you could probably take it the wrong way at times - who was so determined, so self-confident. The players in the team generally have that, the players from the past.

What do you have to do to beat Bayern Munich on Saturday?

It can only be a team effort at the same level that we have been putting in in the Champions League. The spirit we showed in Barcelona... hopefully we can have more of the ball - Barcelona dominated possession - but if we have that spirit then we have the ability in individuals to win the game.

Bayern are missing Luiz Gustavo in midfield due to suspension. How will that affect the game?

That remains to be seen. I watched them play against Dortmund at the weekend and Gustavo played. But in Schweinsteiger and Kroos they have two fantastic midfield players anyway. I can't speak highly enough about the pair of them actually; I have been very impressed with them this season. They play one behind the front man if they want to be more attacking, or they can have someone in the holding role. Either way it is going to be a battleground.

Do you think that having beaten Barcelona, you have already beaten probably the best team in the competition?

It certainly doesn't work that way. We've enjoyed the feeling of beating the best. Barcelona are the best team. I don't whether they are still or not but they have been the best team for a long time and we have enjoyed that. But we are clever enough to know that if we lose to Bayern people will quickly forget the semis and the quarters and the other games.

Predicted line-ups:

Chelsea vice-captain Frank Lampard says beating Bayern Munich on Saturday would be the finest achievement in the club's history. - 2

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  1. I hope the thieves at the Allianz Arena in Munich don’t­ steal Chelsea FC team playing kits (boots, etc) as they­ did with Real Madrid FC in the first leg semi final at­ the Allianz Stadium dressing room. CHELSEA FC &­ UEFA SHOULD BE WARY OF THIS SITUATION AND MAKE SURE­ THERE IS GOOD SECURITY AROUND THE DRESSING ROOM!!!

    From k, on Sat 19 May 7:45
  2. RDM personality is so positive. Cmon Chelsea, we­ want your brilliant ending of this controversial­ season. COIG fan.

    From Roxana, on Sat 19 May 5:13
  3. Win or lose, you've impressed me extensively this­ season, Chelsea. Couldn't have wished for more­ after the WBA away game. Up the blues!

    From SW6, on Sat 19 May 1:59
  4. Chelsea are not scared of Bayern, Gomez is a giant, but­ then so is Peter Crouch. Our players aready know all­ there is to know about Robben, so no mysteries there. I­ trust Robbie di Matteo, he's made excellent­ tactical decisions and substitutions thus far.

    From Michaelmus, on Sat 19 May 0:53
  5. I think here are mainly Chelsea fans,thats why there­ are more unlikes on comments. I want to say that­ Chelsea fans don't realize how impossible is to win­ against Bayern ON ALLIANZ ARENA! We'll see that­ bayern win that match 2-0

    From Gio, on Fri 18 May 23:56
  6. Chelsea are the underdogs know doubt about it. But they­ have proved the doubters wrong in this competition. I­ think sometimes your name is just meant to be on the­ trophy and this just could be the stage that the likes­ of Lampard and Drogba thrive. Hope it's a classic.­ A red card; a missed penalty and plenty of goals.­ Fingers crossed!

    From Mike Lennard, on Fri 18 May 22:05
  7. I wish you good luck Chelsea, but I really cant see it,­ a cat has 9 lives-I think Chelsea have used more than­ that already.

    From Peter, on Fri 18 May 20:57
  8. Big Dave sounds like a Spurs fan

    From Dave, on Fri 18 May 20:43
  9. He who lives by the bus .... !!

    From Fat Tony, on Fri 18 May 20:14
  10. Parking the bus will NOT work for Chelsea this time .­ Time for Plan B !!

    From Fat Tony, on Fri 18 May 20:08
  11. If it goes to penalty after extra time, then forget it­ Chelsea !!

    From ock-hi, on Fri 18 May 19:52
  12. Champions league to be played by fringe players. Please­ don't expect a classic or pure football. This is­ going to be long balls all day to Chelsea's­ ballerina, Drogba. Drogba by now would have tested the­ grass to make sure it's soft and comfortable as­ that where he's going to be spending the evening.

    From Solomon, on Fri 18 May 19:44
  13. Chelsea can win the final,,,

    From Nastytackle, on Fri 18 May 19:42
  14. In the last nine years Chelsea have been in six­ champions league semi-finals and have yet to win the­ compitition, Barca six semi-finals 3 wins, AC Milan 3­ semi-finals 2 wins,Man Utd 3 semi-finals 1 win,­ Liverpool, 3 semi-finals 1 win, Inter Milan 2­ semi-finals 1 win. NO TEAM HAS BEEN AS CONSISTANT AS­ CHELSEA IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AND NOT WON IT.­ CHEALSEA DESERVE TO WIN IT FOR THIS CONSISTANCY. Thank­ you for all the messages of support from non Chelsea­ fans it is greatly appreciated, to all the jealous­ haters out there try to remember you are supposed to be­ a football fan first but just happen to support­ whichever team you do, I can't believe so many­ Arsenal fans want tottenham to qualify for next years­ champions league just so they can be the first london­ team to win the compitition and don't get me­ started on the liverpool fans who thought there team­ was going to win the league last season because they­ didn't have the distraction of europe.Both are­ delirious

    From Jason, on Fri 18 May 19:40
  15. ro mybusiness bet you couldn't see Chelsea coming­ back from 2-0 down and 10 men at the camp nue either­ but we DID. Wish our downfall all you want, cmon you­ blues!!!!!

    From Richard Ellis, on Fri 18 May 19:23
  16. SO PUT THE DAMN BALL IN THE GOAL TONIGHT OR YOU'LL­ BE FIRED... FERNANDO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    From Himiko, on Fri 18 May 19:21
  17. cant see chelsea beating bayern in their own­ staium..its just not going to happen

    From We Do What We Want, on Fri 18 May 19:04
  18. I agree with you Richard Ellis. Super Frank is the only­ player in premiership history to score 10 or more­ league goals in a season for nine consecutive years­ playing in midfield. Add these to all his cup goals and­ that will take some beating.

    From Helen, on Fri 18 May 19:01
  19. on saturday 19 may...in munchen's allianz­ arena...BLUE WILL BE THE COLOUR...lead the way­ frank...c'mon the blues

    From Himiko, on Fri 18 May 18:58
  20. Damo Damo number 11 the biggest scumbag on earth.­ Chelsea for life. If you don't like it go and hide­ under the table.

    From austin n, on Fri 18 May 18:57
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