London: Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech believes that their opponents in the Champions League final on Saturday - Bayern Munich - "must be the favourites" because of the advantage of the match being staged at the Allianz Arena, their home stadium. The west London side knocked out tournament favourites Barcelona in the semi-finals, but Cech believes that will not be the crucial factor going into the showdown.
"No matter what we have done so far, we are playing away," he said, speaking at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground. "We are playing at their own stadium. They will use their own dressing room before the game. So, basically, they are playing at home. They must be the favourites. Anybody who is playing at home is always the favourite."
Cech does not expect Chelsea’s experience of the big occasion to prove decisive against such equally proven opponents. "It is always good when you have big-game experience, no matter whether you win them or lose them," the goalkeeper explained. "You know how much pressure to expect and you know what to do in a game. It's the theory. In big games you never know what's going to happen. The experience is important, but let's not forget that Bayern Munich were in the final two years ago and Germany did very well in the World Cup as well a few years ago. They have a lot of experience too."
Chelsea will be missing the suspended quartet of John Terry, Ramires, Raul Meireles and Branislav Ivanovic in Munich, but Cech believes their contribution should not be forgotten should the club win their first European Cup. He said: "Let's see if we can do it without them and I hope we can do it without them. It would be great for them to be part of the team who wins the Champions League. They helped us all the way through to the final and they deserve in the same way to be the winners. It is always a bit disappointing to miss a Champions League final. For any player, it is a massive game in their career. So obviously they will be disappointed not to be involved."
Asked about the influence of caretaker manager Di Matteo, whose long-term future is in doubt, Cech replied: "He has done a very good job. He took us to winning the FA Cup. He also took us to the Champions League final, so he has done well."