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English Premiership

Bayern boss wary of ‘outstanding actor’ Drogba

MUNICH, Germany, May 18- Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has branded Chelsea striker Didier Drogba an “outstanding actor” to up the ante ahead of Saturday’s Champions League showdown.

Bayern host Premier League giants Chelsea at Munich’s Allianz Arena in the showcase final with the Blues bidding to win their first European title and Drogba set to lead the Chelsea attack.

The 34-year-old Ivory Coast striker underlined his reputation as a big game player by scoring his eighth goal in eight appearances at Wembley to help beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final earlier this month.

With a total of 33 Champions League goals to his credit, including the crucial winner in the semi-final first leg against Barcelona, Drogba knows how to put pressure on referees and Heynckes said his team must pay close attention to the powerful forward.

“Drogba, for so many years, has been one of the top strikers in the Premier League and he is definitely dangerous and can score at any moment,” said the 67-year-old Heynckes.

“Sometimes he over does it a bit, sometimes he is an outstanding actor on the pitch.” Heynckes said focusing solely on Drogba would be a mistake with plenty of talent packed into the Chelsea ranks.

The Blues will be without captain John Terry, midfielders Raul Meireles, Ramires and defender Branislav Ivanovic, who are all suspended, but Heynckes is wary of their replacements.

“The likes of (Juan) Mata, (Frank) Lampard, Daniel Sturridge and (Salomon) Kalou, all these players are at the top level, so it would be amiss to focus on just one player,” said Heynckes.

“(Spain striker Fernando) Torres too, he has improved enormously over the last few weeks, so it’s not just about Drogba.”

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Likewise, Bayern expect to have wing Arjen Robben fit, despite the Dutch winger only returning to training for 45 minutes on Thursday after struggling with a cold.

“I have had no negative news from his side, if there was anything negative to say I would know about it already, so he should be able to play from the start,” said Heynckes.

“He trained for 45 minutes yesterday and he should be able to play.” Bayern are bidding to become the first team since Inter Milan in 1965 to win the European title in their own stadium and Munich is a sea of red and white flags as the Bavarian capital eagerly awaits seeing their heroes in action.

“We have the chance, after 11 years in our own stadium, to win the Champions League,” said Heynckes after Bayern last won the Champions League title in 2001.

“I know clubs with a long tradition that are still waiting to win the trophy. This is another chance to do something which doesn’t come along often. “We may never have the chance to play the final in our own stadium again.

“I am considering driving the team bus through the city on the way to the stadium to see all the flags and support from the fans, it’s an obvious motivation.”

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