Madrid. I am here. I still can't believe I'm here, but I am.
And this is it. The Champions League final. Bayern Muenchen gegen Inter Milan. Wow.
I'm in a hazy frame of mind, due to a lack of horizontal sleep... and the utter incredulousness of it all. To say I'm astonished would be a gross understatement.
I've got two blogs left here this season: This one, and one in the near future. You know, the one that hopefully contains tears of joy and confetti, posted in bier-fueled ecstasy... from Munich.
But for now, the intriguing match-ups...
Much has been said about van Gaal and his student, Jose Mourinho, when they coached together at Barcelona. I've got to say I'm pleasantly surprised that the pre-match press has been relatively drama-free. Well, except for the fact that the Special One will probably be coaching Real Madrid next season; which had LVG joking that if he wins this match, he has to quit Bayern as there is nothing left to accomplish.
The two Argentines, Milito and Demichelis, will be battling for supremacy in the box. And, while I've handed it to Martin this season, he's been amazing when he has to. I'm looking for the man, unmasked (!), to hold it down at center-back; for Diego can hurt us in a variety of ways.
While Zanetti has corralled Messi and Drogba this Champions League season, he faces a new challenge in Arjen Robben. Can Arjen's patented cut-in move fool him? Zanetti will be playing with a chip on his shoulder; as he was not picked by Maradona for the Argentinian national squad.
And, an internal battle... van Gaal is almost certain to pick Badstuber as a starting wing-back over Contento. Personally, I think this is a mistake. Badstuber is a much more natural center, and his presence on the wing has been fully exploited this season; most notably by Manchester United. Barring injuries, look for Badstuber to be the first man deputised.
It comes to this. Now. Who knows how it will play out? Whatever the result, it's been a magical season. For me, the Estadio Bernabeu calls...
As always, auf geht's Bayern!