German giants go head to head at Wembley in the Champions League Final.
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The home of English football will reverberate to the roar of German voices on Saturday when Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund collide at Wembley Stadium in the first all-Bundesliga final in Champions League history.
It is only two years since Barcelona confirmed their status as Europe’s pre-eminent side by outclassing Manchester United in the same arena to win the 2011 tournament, but the way that Bayern and Dortmund have torn through this season’s competition suggests a new continental order is asserting itself.
Bayern left Barca in ruins with an incredible 7-0 aggregate win in the semi-finals, while Dortmund’s 4-1 defeat of Real Madrid in the same round left the football world open-mouthed in amazement.
Irrespective of the result, it is certain to be a monumental evening for German football, but the two sides approach the game driven by very different motivations.
For Bayern, the game represents an opportunity to make amends for painful final defeats in 2010 and, in particular, 2012, when a heart-breaking penalty shoot-out loss to Chelsea was played out before a crowd of horrified and disbelieving fans at their own Allianz Arena.
Dortmund, the 1997 champions, yearn to inflict further misery upon Bayern, who have gravely undermined their opponents’ attempts to establish themselves as creditable long-term rivals by snatching away star playmaker Mario Goetze in a sensational 37 million euros (£31.7 million, $47.8 million) transfer.
A hamstring injury to Goetze has reduced the risk of diplomatic embarrassment on Saturday, but Bayern are also believed to lead the race for Dortmund’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who put Madrid to the sword with an extraordinary four-goal haul in the first leg of their semi-final.
Goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller has tried to downplay the significance of Goetze’s injury by pointing to the 2012 German Cup final, when Dortmund thrashed Bayern 5-2 in his absence.
“It goes without saying that with him we have a different quality,” he said. “But everything shouldn’t rest on him. In the DFB-Pokal final in 2012, Mario also didn’t play.”
After losing five times in a row to Dortmund during the Ruhr club’s back-to-back Bundesliga title successes in 2011 and 2012, Bayern have redressed the balance this season, avoiding defeat in all four of their most recent contests en route to a nigh-on flawless triumph in the German title race.
Saturday’s game will be the 101st competitive meeting between the sides and after seven encounters over the last two seasons, Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes believes there is little scope for sleight of hand.
“Both teams know each other very well, both trainers are fully informed about the opponent, so there are no secrets,” he said.
Heynckes can become only the fourth coach to win the competition with two different clubs, having previously led Madrid to their eighth Champions League title in 1998.
It will, however, be the 68-year-old’s final match in the dug-out.
He has announced his retirement after former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola was appointed to succeed him, despite a phenomenal campaign that could end with Bayern claiming their first ever treble of league, German Cup and Champions League honours.
“”We’ve taken a massive stride towards perfection, and we’re aiming for a perfect performance in the final,” said midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, whose side will tackle Stuttgart in the German Cup final on June 1. “If we play to our potential, it’s very hard for anyone to win against us.”
Nine years after almost going bust, Dortmund hope to repeat their shock 1997 success, when a young Lars Ricken, now the club’s youth team co-ordinator, came off the bench to seal a 3-1 win over Juventus at Munich’s Olympiastadion with an audacious 25-yard chip.
Juergen Klopp’s side have charmed neutrals with their breathless counter-attacking football over the last three seasons and the likeable 45-year-old Dortmund manager hopes their rise has not left the impartial observer unmoved.
“We are a club, not a company, but it depends on which kind of story the neutral fan wants to hear,” he told British newspaper The Guardian.
“If he respects the story of Bayern, and how much they have won since the 1970s, he can support them. But if he wants the new story, the special story, it must be Dortmund.”
Aside from Goetze’s confirmed absence, Dortmund also have concerns over the fitness of former Bayern centre-back Mats Hummels, who injured his ankle in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Hoffenheim.
Bayern are missing long-term injury victims Holger Badstuber and Toni Kroos, but unlike 12 months ago, when they were without Badstuber, David Alaba and Luiz Gustavo due to suspension against Chelsea, they are otherwise at full strength.
Borussia Dortmund playmaker Mario Gotze has been ruled out of the Champions League final against his future club Bayern Munich with a hamstring injury.
Gotze, 20, has not played since hurting his thigh in last month’s semi-final second-leg meeting with Real Madrid.
Dortmund right-back Lukasz Piszczek will play before he has hip surgery, while striker Robert Lewandowski, 24, may play his final game for the club.
Bayern are at full strength, with long-term absentee Holger Badstuber out.
Probable starting line-ups in the Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich at Wembley on Saturday:
Bayern Munich: (4-2-3-1)
Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm (c), Jerome Boateng, Dante, David Alaba; Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez; Arjen Robben, Thomas Mueller, Franck Ribery, Mario Mandzukic
Coach: Jupp Heynckes
Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1)
Roman Weidenfeller (c); Lukasz Piszczek, Neven Subotic, Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer; Sven Bender, Ilkay Gundogan; Jakub Blaszczykowski, Marco Reus, Kevin Grosskreutz; Robert Lewandowski.
Coach: Juergen Klopp
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)
Paths to Wembley
BORUSSIA DORTMUND (GER)
Group D (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points)
Borussia Dortmund 6 4 2 0 11 5 14
Real Madrid 6 3 2 1 15 9 11
Ajax Amsterdam 6 1 1 4 8 16 4
Manchester City 6 0 3 3 7 11 3
Round of 16
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) 2 (Srna 31, Douglas Costa 68) Borussia Dortmund 2 (Lewandowski 41, Hummels 87)
Borussia Dortmund 3 (Felipe Santana 31, Goetze 37, Blaszczykowski 59) Shakhtar Donetsk 0
Dortmund win 5-2 on aggregate
Malaga (ESP) 0 Borussia Dortmund 0
Borussia Dortmund 3 (Lewandowski 40, Reus 90+1, Felipe Santana 90+2) Malaga 2 (Joaquin 25, Eliseu 82)
Dortmund win 3-2 on aggregate
Borussia Dortmund 4 (Lewandowski 8, 50, 55, 67-pen) Real Madrid (ESP) (Ronaldo 43)
Real Madrid 2 (Benzema 82, Sergio Ramos 88) Borussia Dortmund 0
Dortmund win 4-3 on aggregate
BAYERN MUNICH (GER)
Group F (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points)
Bayern Munich 6 4 1 1 15 7 13
Valencia 6 4 1 1 12 5 13
BATE 6 2 0 4 9 15 6
Lille OSC 6 1 0 5 4 13 3
Round of 16
Arsenal (ENG) 1 (Podolski 55) Bayern Munich 3 (Kroos 7, Mueller 21, Mandzukic 77)
Bayern Munich 0 Arsenal 2 (Giroud 3, Koscielny 85)
Bayern go through on away goals
Bayern Munich 2 (Alaba 1, Mueller 63) Juventus (ITA) 0
Juventus 0 Bayern Munich 2 (Mandzukic 64, Pizarro 90+1)
Bayern win 4-0 on aggregate
Bayern Munich 4 (Mueller 25, 82, Gomez 49, Robben 73) Barcelona (ESP) 0
Barcelona 0 Bayern Munich 3 (Robben 48, Gique 72-og, Mueller 76)
Bayern win 7-0 on aggregate
Borussia Dortmund have won the Champions League on one previous occasion, beating Juventus 3-1 to claim the trophy in 1997.
Bayern Munich are seeking to win their fifth European Cup and join Liverpool as the joint-third most successful team in the competition’s history, behind AC Milan and Real Madrid.
The Bavarians are unbeaten against BVB in all four of the teams’ meeting this season, drawing 1-1 twice in the Bundesliga, and beating their rivals 2-1 and 1-0 in the Supercup and Pokal respectively.
The only previous all-German final in the history of European club competition was in the 1980 Uefa Cup final, when Eintracht Frankfurt beat Borussia Monchengladbach on away goals after recording a 3-3 draw over two legs.
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