I went into this match hoping Inter would win because they actually deserved to be in the final (unlike Bayern who got there with 2 away goals victories in the knock out stages, both thanks to Arjen Robben wonder goals).
Inter went with an expectedly defensive formation: 4-2-1-3. It was always going to be very difficult to score against them not only because of the extremely strong defensive line of Samuel, Chivu, Lucio and Maicon but also because of (not one) two excellent defensive midfielders in Zanetti and Cambiasso.
Bayern went with the conventional 4-4-2.
From the start Inter looked the better team. Their passing was crisp and accurate. Even though they relied entirely on only 4 players for their attack, they seemed to be making better progress and in general making better use of the ball in the final third. Bayern on the other hand kept position largely in their own half and found it very difficult to make their way forward especially against Inter’s practically 6 man defence.
The first goal from Milito was sublime. Three touches from one end to the other and a goal. Great composure. Great finish. Most of the first half followed the same pattern: Bayern try to go forward and Inter crowd out the final third and take them on the break. Bayern’s strategy was simple: Pass it to Robben. He seemed to be the only player who could actually get past the Inter defence. Chivu, I have to say, did not mark him well.
The second half started with 2 chances in the first minute itself. A very bad miss from Altintop (IIRC): At that level hitting at the body of the keeper from 16 yards out is inexcusable, and a nice effort from Pandev with a nicer save to deny him from Butt.
For a moment it seemed Bayern had figured out something in the halftime break, but they quickly disproved this supposition. They kept trying to score with the same strategy that hadn’t worked at all throughout the first half. Inter kept crowding out their end of the field and Bayern could barely put a string of passes together.
Altintop missed a few chances to at least trouble Bayern by going for the near post on both occasions, which Julio Cesar had covered quite comfortably. Arjen Robben forced a great save from Cesar. There were some excellent defensive moments for Inter, especially the clearance off Muller’s shot.
Then came the second goal, out of nowhere really. A moment of magic from Milito.
A few thoughts:
Mourinho showed, once again, that he plays for results and not for the entertainment of fans. The match was rather boring from a neutral point of view. Just my opinion, but I don’t think this is how football should be played.
That said, people are going overboard saying Mourinho won the Champs League on the same strategy as Herrera did 45 years ago. Mourinho was slightly negative in his tactics but nothing as bad as cattenachio.
Inter showed throughout the tournament that they were the team most capable of adapting themselves. Bayern on the other hand showed one dimensional approach, though I suspect that is more because of van Gaal than anything else.
All should note what an awesome match Wesley Snejder played. Being the sole link between attack and defence isn’t easy and he performed the job today with aplomb.
Bayern missed Ribery. Very badly.
Inter showed a master class of one touch, quick passing in the game. Something Bayern could never find their rhythm with.
And of course: It was very nice to see Bayern give the ball back to Inter even in the 89th minute when they put it out for Robben’s injury. Moments like these which make football the greatest game on Earth.