Bayern Munich faces arch-rivals Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final tomorrow evening at Wembley.
It is Bayern’s third Champions League final in four years. The Bavarians failed to claim victory on their last two final appearances, but seem determined to do so this year.
Bayern have looked simply imperious on the road to the final.
In their quarter and semi-final ties, the German giants scored 11 goals and conceded none as they knocked out Juventus and Barcelona.
Bayern’s victory over Barcelona was particularly impressive considering the opposition that they were facing.
Throughout the campaign, the club from Bavaria have looked like the most complete team and surely, they will prove that in the final.
Dortmund prior to this season had a good recent record against Bayern Munich. Dortmund had claimed consecutive Bundesliga titles and even hammered Bayern 5-2 in the German cup final last season.
However, this season Dortmund has played Bayern four times and has not won once. This must give the Bavarians a psychological advantage heading into the big event, although Bayern’s record in recent finals may negate that advantage.
Dortmund faces Bayern without star playmaker Mario Gotze, who came off injured in the semi-final second leg against Real Madrid. Gotze has already signed a pre-contract to join Bayern this summer, but he has been one of the stars of Dortmund’s rise to prominence in European football.
The talented young Germany international at least avoids the possibly of scoring the winning goal against his new team and then having to face his new teammates in July. It may be an awkward situation averted, but for Dortmund Gotze’s loss is a big one.
Bayern are aiming for the treble this season under wily old fox Jupp Heynckes, in his last season at the club. With a German cup final still to come the Bavarians have a chance to make history by clinching their first treble.
If Bayern do clinch the treble then Heynckes is going to be a hard act to follow for incoming boss Pep Guardiola. The 68-year-old is being linked with a return to Real Madrid to replace Jose Mourinho, who is expected to return to Chelsea.
Heynckes is believed to be considering retiring at the end of this season, but it seems that he has rather been forced out of the Allianz Arena. Maybe he would like one last crack at a big job like Real Madrid.
Los Blancos are looking for a boss capable of winning the Champions League and Heynckes has already achieved that at the Bernabeu with Real in 1998. By the time the summer comes around, he could have claimed the trophy twice.
Heynckes has proved that he can manage a top club in Bayern in three different spells in Munich, why not a have a second spell in Madrid.
The veteran boss has left some legacy for Guardiola though. The team look like most complete that European football has seen in recent years. In the likes of David Alaba and Thomas Muller, they have players that could play for Bayern for the next decade.
The squad has the right mix of youth and experience. How Guardiola can improve the squad is difficult to say. In many ways, he is lucky to be taking over at a club with such a complete team.
Bayern Munich will head into the Champions League final against Dortmund as favourites. It is difficult to argue otherwise. However, Dortmund will not be pushovers. Jurgen Klopp’s team has also been superb in the Champions League this season.
I believe that Bayern may just have the edge over Dortmund and claim their first European Cup since 2001. Bayern being Bayern though they are unlikely to do it the easy way and there is likely to be many fingernails bitten in Bavaria on Saturday night.
Could Bayern finally clinch the Champions League trophy?