Every season has it’s ups and downs in various top flight leagues like the Premier League, La Liga, Seri A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and so on. But when you talk about the prestigious UEFA Champions League, there’s only the upside to it. And this year, like every other in the past, has not failed to deliver on the promised action and fan support that these ‘many qualified teams’ have garnered. However, the stakes are higher than ever! A German battle. An English stadium. And a world stage viewing. The final couldn’t get any better than this. It has taken the fueling sense of rivalry going on between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and has just escalated tenfold. The only inevitable question remains, “Who’s gonna take home all the glory?”
Bayern Munich, Kings Of Defense
This world class football team from the past many years has constantly strived at improving, stepping up to the plate, and bringing out superstar display & extraordinary skill. Over the years, Munich has become more over-powering, offensive & always on the move and aggressive to keep their opponents quick on their feet to react to the constant rush of play. Surprisingly, most of the squad members have pitched in and scored, that too, in quite a fashion. A funny thing to add is that, almost 8 to 9 players are always positioned from the halfway line all the way down to the rivals’s goal post. No wonder we see a flurry of goals every time they take to the pitch.
Just take a look at Munich’s goal record for this year only. (includes all competitions from January onwards) 75 times, Bayern has found the back of the net. Some would ask, how many did they concede. The answer, ‘a stunning 15 goals only’. That gives us a ratio of 5:1, which is absolutely brilliant and out of this world. Phillip Lahm and his Bayern mates have done a good job of scoring! But they’ve done a great job of defending. Now, Dortmund will have a tough time to slip past this well placed Munich wall. Especially with standing defenders like Dante and Boateng there, it’s makes the task much more daunting.
Going up against a team like Dortmund, whom they’ve faced quite a number of times, will look to adopt a mixed type of play. Munich will be cautious to not slip up in defense and at the same time will always keep the ball moving towards the goal. A huge advantage to the 21 time Bundesliga Champions is that their future Dortmund asset, Goetze, has been ruled out of playing in the final, after suffering a hamstring injury in the UCL semi-final second leg against Real Madrid. This definitely weakens BVB’s squad and Jupp Heynckes will see to it that his team exploits this problem and uses it to their advantage. An emotional attachment also accompanies the game as it will be Heynckes last competitive match of being in charge of Munich. The players and staff will do whatever it takes to make him proud.
Borussia Dortmund, The Underdogs
Reigning Bundesliga champions have had their best run this season! Beating teams like Malaga and Real Madrid in nail-biting matches and proving to the world that they are a force to reckon with. With such a young and talented squad winning the league two times in a row already, they’re set for taking on the next challenge : UEFA Champions League! With players like Lewandowski, Reus, Gundogan ready to take them the Bavarian club on, it will surely be treat to football fans.
A huge blow to Dortmund at the moment is the ruling out of Goetze! His presence in the field as an attacking midfielder is the key to stringing all the plays together. He’s the kind of player who you rely on to get the job done. Since he’s ruled out, Klopp will look out for Gundogan. Apparently, he’s been been termed as one the best passers in his team. “We got him (Gundogan in May 2011) and he has turned into a real strategist,” Klopp told UEFA.com. “It is extraordinary. Not many players can do that. Many players can play in a small space, play fast and do a lot of great things but to have such vision, such a passing game, such an eye for the situation, is extraordinary and makes him an extraordinary player.”
Klopp have converted an ordinary team who had lost their way for the last few years into a blazing team, all the new signings gelled-up quickly. Roman Weidenfeller, their veteran goal keeper, renewing their contracts brought back faith amongst the players and fans which helped them successfully defend their league title.
Both German clubs will adopt the 4-2-3-1 formations which will pose a serious battle in the midfield section. We have Robben and Schweinsteiger and Martinez combining well with their pace and taking control of how stable their play goes on. As for the absence of Goetze, Klopp and his team will indeed need Gundogan and Reus to be at the top of their game to take down Munich and win their maiden UEFA Champions League final.
With only a lone striker acting up front, this final will witness a ton of passing. As far as accuracy is concerned, both teams level well. As for goal-keeping, both Munich and Dortmund wouldn’t want any opening gaps for players to push in and pressurize the GK.
Possible starting lineups
Dortmund: Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Hummels, Subotic, Schmelzer; Bender, Gundogam; Blaszczykowski, Sahin, Reus; Lewandowski
Bayern: Neuer; Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba; Schweinsteiger, Martinez; Robben, Muller, Ribery; Mandzukic
- This final will be the first all-German clash in a European Cup final. 2000 (Spain), 2003 (Italy) and 2008 (England) are the three previous occasions of teams from the country meeting in the Champions League final.
- A German team is guaranteed to win the Champions League for a third time. Dortmund in 1997 and Bayern in 2001 were the previous winners.
- Bayern Munich have lost three of the four finals they have played in. Borussia Dortmund were victorious in the only final they have played.
- Javi Martinez has made 39 interceptions; more than any other player in the Champions League this season. Only Arturo Vidal (44) has made more tackles than Martinez’s midfield partner Bastian Schweinsteiger (43).
- Six of the 10 goals Bayern have conceded in the competition this season have been scored in the final 15 minutes of their matches.
- Bayern have scored more headed goals in the Champions League than any other side this season.
- BVB have kept just three clean sheets in their last 12 European matches.
- Just one of the last five Champions League finals has gone over 2.5 goals. However, that final was also played at Wembley (Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United in 2011).
- Bayern could become the first German team to win the Treble (league championship, domestic cup, and the Champions League or European Cup). Six clubs have managed it previously; with the last being Inter Milan in 2010.
To be honest, both teams have their respective strengths and weaknesses. The most likely scenario for the match to end would be a penalty shootout after a goalless draw. Give or take, maybe a goal or two from either side. Both teams don’t possess their full ammo going into the game. It’s just a question of how long this ammo lasts! To be fair to fans reading this, I’ll not go into a number prediction, but just wish both the teams the best of luck, and may the BEST GERMAN WIN.