By the time the UEFA Champions League semifinals are over, you could probably make a pretty good team out of the players who'll be suspended for the final in Munich. Confirmed finalists Chelsea will be missing John Terry, Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles. Whoever gets through out of Real Madrid and Barcelona is also expected to be missing some key names as well, because no fewer than eleven players from the two sides are a booking away from a ban.
Thanks to their depth, Madrid aren't as bad off as Bayern on this front, although Jose Mourinho will most assuredly not be happy if centre back Sergio Ramos contrives to see yellow on Wednesday. The other three Madridistas a booking away from suspension are Fabio Coentrao, Gonzalo Higuain and Xabi Alonso, all of whom are fantastic players. However, those three have more obvious backups than Ramos does, so I can't imagine it'd be overly worrying for Madrid should any of that trio miss out.
Although Bayern would have the advantage of hosting the final if they got through, they're looking at the potential of rather serious losses via suspension if they're able to get past what's sure to be a grueling fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu. No less than seven of their players are on their final yellow card, and it's not just bit-part guys that are on the edge of a ban. Philipp Lahm, Holger Badstuber, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Toni Kroos, Luiz Gustavo and Thomas Muller are all starting players, and should a significant fraction of them end up suspended, Bayern are in a world of trouble.
As for the game, I wouldn't be shocked if the cards flew. Both teams want this trophy, both know it's within reach against a weakened Chelsea and neither is averse to playing a physical game. Should be an interesting one.
We'll have pre-game and live game coverage in our Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and Bayern Munich blog Bavarian Football Works.