Champions League Final Preview
Der Klassiker, they’re calling it and tonight’s Champion’s League Final at Wembley between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund does indeed promise to be a classic encounter.
Bundelsiga’a best dismantled Spanish royalty in the semi-finals; Dortmund putting Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid to the sword and Bayern, quite unthinkably, toying at times with the mighty Barcelona in a 7-0 aggregate rout.
Now the German giants clash in London and all we can do is just sit back and enjoy and admire the new order – and hopefully, in the case of the Premier League coaches and players, learn something along the way.
Bayern are strong favourites after winning the Bundesliga by a staggering 25 points, but Dortmund are formidable opponents and this is a game that could go all the way. And all the way would mean penalties. Crikey. We know all about Germans and penalties. This could go on till past midnight!
Coral go 11/4 the draw after 90 minutes, but more fun and bigger rewards may come from going for a 2-2 (14/1) or 3-3 (60/1). It might be asking a bit much for a 4-4 scoreline (200/1), but there are bags of goals in both sides and we may well be in for an extravaganza.
It is also likely to be a bad-tempered affair following recent spats between the two camps, partly prompted by Bayern’s signing of Dortmund star Mario Gotze, who, rather conveniently, misses playing against his new club tonight because of injury.
Almost everybody in Germany who isn’t a Bayern fan will be shouting for Dortmund, not just the 25,000 dressed up in yellow and black at Wembley. It’s not so much that people think of Dortmund as appealing underdogs – they are a big club in their own right – more that they see ‘FC Hollywood’ as bullying top dogs. Their domination, and so their unpopularity, is likely to increase further next year now that Gotze and manager Pep Guardiola are on board.
Man for man, Bayern do look the stronger side. Bastian Schweinsteiger pulls the strings so beautifully in midfield and there is class throughout the side, from goalkeeper Manuel Neuer through Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and the two Marios up front, Mandzukic and Gomez. Robben, a man for the big occasion, makes appeal at 6-1 to be first goalscorer.
But, though they have won the Champions League four times, Bayern also have history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory (think what Manchester United and Chelsea did to them) and we can be sure that the talented Dortmund outfit will be fighting to the end.
Robert Lewandowski (11/2 to open the scoring) is the obvious danger man for Dortmund following his four semi-final goals against Real Madrid, but Marco Reus is just one among many other threats to Bayern supremacy.
Sit tight. It should be a classic alright.
Written by Jon Freeman