Chelsea's interim boss Roberto Di Matteo has done better than anybody could have ever expected, since taking over from dismissed Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas in February. The Italian oversaw a brief renaissance in the league and used the momentum from those performances to guide the Blues to a spot in the Champions League final, where they will face German giants Bayern Munich.
Saturday's game is one of epic proportions (read a full IBTimes UK preview here) for the London club for it represents the last chance, potentially, for the club's senior players like Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba to get their hands on the most prestigious piece of silverware in world club football.
Unfortunately for Di Matteo, his squad has some key players ruled out through suspensions and are fighting to get centre backs David Luiz and Gary Cahill 100 percent fit in time. The suspended players are Brazilian midfielder Ramires and centre backs John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic, leaving Di Matteo with a lot of tinkering to do ahead of the game.
According to a report in The Sun, the Italian manager could spring a surprise by including youngster Ryan Bertrand in the starting line-up.
Bertrand, a product of Chelsea's youth academy, is a left back by trade and, should he feature at all at the Allianz Arena, he will be making his Champions League debut. Di Matteo's decision to maybe field Bertrand on the left side of midfield could be aimed at providing left back Cole with support, given that one of either Arjen Robben or Franck Ribery are likely to bomb down that side all through the game.
However, the report also cautions that the manager will not make a final decision until the fitness of French winger Florent Malouda is resolved.
Meanwhile, a BBC report states Di Matteo is "very hopeful" of fielding both Luiz and Cahill from the outset, given the Blues will be woefully short of experienced defensive options in so important a game. Brazilian Luiz has not played since a hamstring injury in April and Cahill pulled up with a similar injury during the club's 2-2 draw in the second leg of their semi-final tie against Barcelona.