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  • Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund, Champions League final preview

German rivals duel for Euro supremacy in English capital

ESPN staff
May 25, 2013
Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have their fair share of matchwinners © ESPN.co.uk
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Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have been the two standout teams in German football over the past three seasons, and now the pair will tussle for the Champions League in the final at Wembley on Saturday.

Bayern romped to the Bundesliga and remain on course for a historic treble as they prepare to face Dortmund in London, and then Stuttgart in the German Cup final.

Dortmund, the Bundesliga champions in the two previous seasons before Bayern's triumph, are out to stop the club from sweeping all before them. And Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp remains confident of victory - if his team can lower the match to their level.

"It's not our aim to be compared with Munich in every way," Klopp said at Friday's pre-match press conference. "Only when we're playing each other.

"We'll probably have to stretch ourselves but it remains our tactical intention to bring them down to our level. Then we can beat them. We've always had to do more than Bayern Munich if we've wanted to win matches against them. They've got their way. We've got our way."

Klopp said he had admitted defeat in the race to get Mario Gotze - set to join Bayern at the end of the campaign - fit for the final some time ago. "The injury was too bad," he said.

"We saw the pictures. We did hope from time to time, we tried everything. It would have been a surprise if it had worked. For the last three or four weeks, we had expected he would not be playing so we're not terribly surprised."

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes feels that if his team play their usual game they will be too good for Dortmund.

Heynckes also pointed to how the relaxed last three weeks have actually helped Bayern hone the approach that has led to so many records being broken this season.

"We've got generations of players who are a little older, 29, 30. For those players I think it would be the crowning glory of their careers. Of course, for me as well, but I am perhaps a little more laid back about these things, with a little more detachment because I've experienced this once with Real Madrid [in the semi-finals]. Of course for Munich it would be really important tomorrow. For me, it's another match," he said.

"I was always very confident and convinced we could win this. We have an extraordinary football team. They play extraordinary football as a collective. If we can draw on that tomorrow, we are going to win the match.

"We have achieved extraordinary things. I think I can say that. It's been the best Bundesliga for any team in 50 years of the Bundesliga. Recent weeks in the league, we've been playing successful, we have had one draw, won all our other games so we have the aspiration to carry on that way. We'll be doing that tomorrow and we'll be doing it next week in our cup final [against Stuttgart]."

Jupp Heynckes is looking to guide Bayern to the Champions League title © PA Photos
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Form

Both side were worthy winners in their respective semi-final encounters, with Bayern firing seven unanswered goals against Barcelona and Dortmund edging out Madrid 4-3 on aggregate.

When the clubs met in the league at the start of the month, the points were shared in a 1-1 draw, but that result was Bayern's only slip-up in the past 13 games as they have recorded 12 wins since losing to Arsenal in the last-16 second leg. Dortmund on the other hand have not won since the end of April.

Team news

Gotze is the major blow for Dortmund, but Klopp has been given a boost as Mat Hummels has recovered from an ankle injury. Turkey international Nuri Sahin could step in for the absent Gotze. Bayern meanwhile have no new injury concerns and Heynckes will have a full squad available to him.

One to watch

Bastian Schweinsteiger has pulled the strings all season during a remarkable campaign for Bayern. The German controls the midfield and is a key player both in attack and defence.

Moved into a deeper role for the last few years, Schweinsteiger has accustomed himself to his new position and has proved to be more effective when orchestrating in the middle of the pitch.

Key battle

Robert Lewandowski is the man Dortmund are pinning their hopes on to deliver the goods at Wembley. The Pole appears certain to depart the club this summer, and already with ten goals in the competition will have his eye on collecting the golden boot to overtake Cristiano Ronaldo on 12 goals at the top of the charts.

The defensive duties to mark the dangerous Lewandowski will rest on the shoulders of Dante, and the Brazilian must be at his best to keep the striker quiet, although it will be tough given Lewandowski ripped Madrid's defence with his four-goal haul in the first leg semi-final.

Prediction and bet

Bayern are in their third final in the past four years and have been spurred on by last year's heartache on home soil to Chelsea on penalties. The Bundesliga champions are favourites to lift Europe's elite club competition prize, but Dortmund have a wonderful spirit under Klopp and will not make life easy for Heynckes and his players in a tight encounter.

Bayern to win 2-1 is 7/1 with bet365.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

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