Lahm sees Ribery as key man
Franck Ribery could be the key to ending Bayern Munich's 11-year wait for Champions League glory, according to their captain Philipp Lahm.
The German club were close to succeeding two years ago when they were beaten by Inter Milan in the Madrid final, but unlike on that night when Ribery was suspended, the Frenchman will be available to face Chelsea on Saturday night.
That, according to Lahm, is the biggest difference between then and now.
"He is an excellent footballer and he is a player who can decide games, we all know that," said Lahm.
"He missed out two years ago so will be particularly motivated. He has already proven many times how important he is to us.
"We all have the hunger to win this cup and it will be a difficult task and Franck will make his contribution for us to win."
Those words were echoed by Bayern's vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has further questioned the suspension ruling which deprives his side of Luiz Gustavo, Holger Badstuber and David Alaba for Saturday's final while Chelsea have to make do without Branislav Ivanovic, Raul Meireles and Ramires, who also picked up second yellow cards in the semi-final.
"I think it can be decisive that Ribery, who was suspended back then, will be back," said the 27-year-old.
"For me personally, he is an excellent player who can make the difference.
"I personally think it would have been better if all the players, both for Chelsea and for us, were on board.
"Sadly the rules are such that these players are suspended in the final.
"I think it is not optimal, but both teams have the same number of suspended players so it is the same for both sides."
What certainly will not be the same for both sides is the familiarity of the venue, with Chelsea entering uncharted waters for them - their last visit to Munich in 2005 was the last European fixture at the Olympiastadion - while Bayern enjoy the hitherto unique opportunity of vying for the biggest prize in club football in their own back yard.
For Lahm, being involved in a Champions League final just a stone's throw from where he took his first footballing steps as a six-year-old with FT Gern is further motivation.
"I was born in Munich, I grew up in Munich, Bayern is my home-town team and I joined the club as an 11 year old, so I am really at home here," he said.
"It is being called the final at home, and for me it really is at home."
The pre-match build-up will also be particularly familiar to Bayern.
"We can stay in our usual hotel, where we stay every week or every few days," added Lahm.
"We know the dressing rooms, we are basically at our own home and we will have the same preparation for this game as we have had for any other Champions League game."
That preparation will include the usual detailed analysis of the opponents, but Lahm does not need to be told too much about Didier Drogba, who was on target when the sides met at the Olympiastadion seven years ago.
"We all know that Drogba is an absolutely sensational player," he said.
"We know of his physical strength and that it is going to be a physical game, but we are a strong team and I cannot see there being any problems."
Lahm did identify one potential problem in the desire of Chelsea's elder statesman to take what could be their last shot at Champions League glory.
"Chelsea have also been in the final before and some of their players have already played in it, and for many from Chelsea's point of view, it could be their last chance to win this," he said.
"We are all in our best footballing prime and can play together for a few more years."
Pressure did not seem to be particularly manifest, though, as Schweinsteiger and Lahm cut very relaxed figures on the eve of one of the most important games of their careers.
"I was thinking that we should just go for a walk in the city centre and mingle among the fans," said Schweinsteiger, who added without a hint of modesty: "I read the paper a lot, I like to read about myself, it is quite amusing.
"We know how to deal with such situations as we have played in them before.
"We just have to concentrate on the 90 minutes. These 90 minutes on the field will be decisive.
"We have got to be focused because you can't influence the things goings on around you."