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Bayern lifted by home comforts - Lahm
Published : 18 May 2012 16:16:58
Philipp Lahm believes home advantage could tip Saturday's Champions League final in Bayern Munich's favour as they prepare to face Chelsea at their own Allianz Arena.
For the first time since AS Roma faced Liverpool at the Stadio Olimpico in 1984, European club football's showpiece match will see one of the finalists playing at their own stadium here Saturday.
Twenty-eight years ago, however, nerves got the better of Roma as Liverpool went on to clinch their fourth European crown on penalties.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has also questioned whether playing at home could heap more pressure on the Bundesliga giants on Saturday.
Bayern skipper Lahm however is adamant that his team can only benefit from their intimate knowledge of the venue.
"It has been our dream to make it to the final in our own stadium. And here we are," Lahm said. "It's great to be here on home turf. We're here every week, every couple of days we're at this stadium. It's our home, we're at home here."
Lahm meanwhile dismissed Di Matteo's comments suggesting Bayern could be overwhelmed by the pressure of playing at home.
"It's definitely a positive thing to play in our own stadium. We know everything here. So I think it will have a positive effect on us," he said.
Playing in Munich also has special emotional significance for Lahm, who supported Bayern as a schoolboy before joining the club's youth team.
"I was born in Munich, I grew up in Munich, FC Bayern is my home team, I joined the club at the age 11. So this is definitely my home," the 28-year-old Germany captain added.
It is also the second taste of a Munich Champions League final for Lahm -- he acted as a ballboy when Borussia Dortmund beat Juventus in the 1997 final held at Bayern's former home, the Olympic Stadium.
But Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes sounded a note of caution about the perceived advantage of playing at home.
"(Bayern Club president) Uli Hoeness said two years ago at our general meeting 'I have a dream' and this dream is to play the final of the Champions League in our own stadium, and we made it," Heynckes said.
"This is where I would like to limit these declarations ... we're playing tomorrow a team who have huge experience and fantastic organisation, with outstanding players.
"I don't share the euphoria that we are definitely the favourites. In a Champions League final there are no favourites. Certainly not against Chelsea."