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What's Really At Stake In The Champions League Final

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KIEV, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 30: Davor Suker during a press conference at the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour 2011 on September 30, 2011 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Andrew Kravchenko/Epsilon/Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 30: Davor Suker during a press conference at the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour 2011 on September 30, 2011 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Andrew Kravchenko/Epsilon/Getty Images)
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As it stands, Chelsea have not yet qualified for the Champions League for the 2012/13 season. They can qualify by winning a match on Saturday against Bayern Munich. They can also kick Tottenham Hotspur out of the competition. Qualifying for Europe's premier competition is a big deal, worth a lot of money. I think we all appreciate and understand that.

But why do we care about money? Sure, you need it to run a club effectively, to buy and pay the best players and managers, but that all comes down one thing: Winning matches and trophies. Chelsea cannot possibly stay as good as they have been for recent years forever, and thirty years down the line, will we care how much cash the club earned and lost? Clearly not. Instead, we'll be looking at the trophies we've won. And we've won a lot.

All but one major prize, in fact - Chelsea are missing the European Cup.

If we can beat Bayern Munich on Saturday, we'll have sealed the legacy of the current generation of Chelsea players. In a few years time, nobody will care whether or not we play in next year's competition, but they'll certainly care whether or not Chelsea win this year's. Champions League qualification is a transient concern. It's an important one, for sure, and it'll make Saturday more stressful, but what matters - what really, really matters - is that the Blues have a chance to win the whole thing.

Club football's greatest prize is not often within reach, even for the best clubs. It's there for us, right now. We need to take it.