[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Inter Milan shut down Lionel Messi en route to its series victory over Barcelona. Now it must stop Arjen Robben, the hottest player after Messi in this spring's UEFA Champions League. How Inter does against the Dutch could go a long way toward determining who wins the first Saturday final in European Cup history.
Robben lauded fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal for his attacking philosophy that netted the German team two goals at Manchester United in the quarterfinals and three goals away to Lyon in the semifinals.
"Van Gaal is a coach who wants to play soccer," says Robben, who battled back from injuries to lead Bayern to the final. "He wants to play nice soccer."
But Robben also knows Inter coach Jose Mourinho from their days together at Chelsea -- where Robben never really fit in -- and he expects Mourinho to use the same defensive tactics that limited high-scoring Barca to single goals in each of the two semifinal legs.
"Mourinho is a purer winning coach," he said. "He has his tactics always ready. He doesn't think too much about playing nice soccer."
Robben's task will be made more difficult because of the suspension to French star Franck Ribery, but that didn't seem to stop Bayern in Lyons, where Ivica Olic scored a hat trick.
Thomas Mueller, picked for Germany's World Cup squad at the age of 20, will be the third member of the Bayern Munich attack.
Inter Milan certainly has the defense to execute the tactics Mourinho employs. Its back five of three Brazilians and two Argentines is one of the best in Europe.
For left back Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso, Saturday's final in Madrid will be their World Cup. They weren't picked for Argentina's team in South Africa.
Bayern Munich: 22-Hans-Joerg Butt; 21-Philipp Lahm, 5-Daniel van Buyten, 6-Martin Demichelis, 26-Diego Contento; 8-Hamit Altintop, 17-Mark van Bommel, 31-Bastian Schweinsteiger, 10-Arjen Robben; 11-Ivica Olic, 25-Thomas Mueller.
Inter Milan: 12-Julio Cesar; 13-Maicon, 25-Walter Samuel, 6-Lucio, 4-Javier Zanetti; 19-Esteban Cambiasso, 5-Dejan Stankovic; 10-Wesley Sneijder; 9-Samuel Eto’o, 22-Diego Milito, 27-Goran Pandev