Bayern Munich were far and away the better side for the first 35 minutes of the UEFA Champions League final, but they failed to convert on their chances and they have let Chelsea back into the match. The score is locked up at 0-0 after 45 minutes of play, and the Bavarians will be very disappointed that they allowed Chelsea to get into the locker room and regroup without going down a goal.
It took until well into the half for either team to create chances, but there was an event in the second minute that could eventually make a huge impact on the game. Bastian Schweinsteiger picked up a yellow card for an intentional handball in the middle of the pitch, and it probably altered his game slightly.
Chelsea's defense looked shaky throughout the first half but it took a while for them to look in real danger. In the 19th minute, Frank Lampard almost gifted Bayern a goal with an ill-advised back pass after Mario Gomez failed to control a ball in the box. Jose Bosingwa -- who is having a bit of a nightmare game -- struggled to control it right by his own goal and the ball went out for a corner, that luckily for Chelsea amounted to nothing.
Bayern had an excellent chance in the 21st minute, but were denied by Petr Cech and the woodwork. Robben easily plowed through the Chelsea defense, nutmegging Bosingwa, then hitting a low shot at goal from 10 yards. Cech got his leg to the ball, but didn't save it cleanly and deflected it up onto the post. Once again, the ball went out for a corner and Bayern made nothing of it.
The Bavarians had another great chance in the 35th minute, but failed to convert. Diego Contento set up Thomas Müller with a great cross from the endline, cut back to the penalty spot, but Müller missed his volley attempt wide. This is essentially a microcosm of his entire season.
Chelsea started to look much better at this point and started to find lames to pass forward. Their best chance of the half came in the 37th minute on the end of a great passing move. Juan Mata started it with a ball sprayed out wide to Frank Lampard, who found Didier Drogba on the edge of the box. Most would have expected the big striker to take a touch and turn towards goal, but instead he touched the ball into the path of an unmarked Solomon Kalou. He hit a decent shot to the near post, but Manuel Neuer saved.
The story of the first half was Bayern's dominance, but lack of finishing prowess, and Mario Gomez provided the best example of this in the 42nd minute. He turned Cahill around and had an open shooting lane at the edge of the penalty area, but inexplicably skied his shot over the crossbar.
Chelsea were poor in just about every way for the first 35 minutes of the first half. They had trouble getting the ball from Bayern, they defended poorly, and their decision making going forward was poor. Still, even though Bayern has looked like the better side, the man of the match at this point is probably John Obi Mikel. His positioning in defense has been much better than his teammates and his short passing has been excellent. Without his work in possession for Chelsea, Bayern probably create even more clear chances in the first half.
We'll have live coverage and updates throughout the game in our 2012 UEFA Champions League Final StoryStream. For more on Bayern, head over to Bayern Munich blog Bavarian Football Works. For more on the Blues, check out Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.