Champions League final preview
Published: 25.05.13 / Written by: David Gold
This weekend Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will step out for the showpiece of the football season, the Champions League final, at Wembley Stadium.
It is a rare occasion where the two best teams in Europe both get to the final, underlined by their ruthless dismantling of the next best two sides on the continent in the semi finals – Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The way Dortmund and Bayern went about their business against the Spanish giants will have the pulse racing for lovers of quick attractive football. The two German giants were fast, relentless and deadly accurate in their passing and movement.
Dortmund will line up in their usual formation, although questions remain over whether Mario Gotze will get to start for the club in his final appearance before joining Bayern this summer. Gotze’s departure was announced before the semi final and was a huge blow to Dortmund, but one they showed they could pick themselves up from.
Dortmund’s defence will see Mats Hummels, if he recovers from injury, lining up alongside Neven Subotic. The two have formed a solid partnership over the last few seasons, and the former Bayern man Hummels may well also be on his way this summer if he is tempted by the interest from Barcelona. Lucasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer from full back offer fast and attacking options who will support the Dortmund attack. In midfield they pit the energetic Sven Bender alongside the gifted Ilkay Gundogan, the club’s underrated player of the season. And then there is the formidable front four. Jakub Blaszczykowski cuts in from the right, but the trio everyone knows about is the Marco Reus-Gotze-Robert Lewandowski tandem. Their movement and interplay is remarkable, exciting and so often, deadly.
But they are up against a formidable Bayern defence which has conceded just 18 goals in the Bundesliga all season. With 98 goals scored in a league of just 34 games, this is a ruthless machine. In defence Jerome Boateng and Dante will be a formidable obstacle to get past. Dante is a superb defender and will be up against his former team mate from last season at Borussia Moenchengladbach in Reus.
At full back Bayern have equally threatening attacking players in Phillip Lahm, the ever reliable captain, and David Alaba, probably the best left back in the world. In midfield Javi Martinez will look to continue the same dependable and brilliant form that has guided Bayern through the season. He combines defensive intelligence and positioning with fantastic technique and passing from deep, driving his team forward. He is a true modern defensive midfielder, relying more on brains and positioning than strength and lung power. Alongside the busy and gifted Bastian Schweinsteiger, there are few stronger central midfields in world football. Thomas Mueller will play in the absence of Toni Kroos, with Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben out wide supporting Mario Mandzukic.
Both teams mirror each other in so many ways. They both press high, with Lewandowski and Mandzukic leading their charges and closing down the opposing defence. Quick rapid interplay is the feature of both sides, but Dortmund have more defensive mistakes in them. Neutrals will hope Klopp’s men will come away with the win, but you suspect this remorseless Bayern machine will leave them disappointed.