Words by Mohammad Safar.
The Champions League final is almost upon us. And now is as good a time as ever to size up the teams who will battle it out for European supremacy.
The all-German final promises to be a great one as last year’s runners up Bayern Munich aim to add another major trophy to this season’s tally. League rivals Borussia Dortmund on the other hand seek to stop Bayern in their place and claim their second ever UCL title.
Bayern Munich go into this match as the obvious favourites, having swept Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals. Thanks to the efforts of Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinstiger and of course Mario Gomez, Munich have powered through all competitions this season. With the Bundesliga won by a staggering mile, the German giants have fallen nothing short of unstoppable this year. Of course, praise must also go to Jupp Heynckes for leading his side through such glory in his final season as manager.
Coming in as the underdogs, Borussia Dortmund will not go quietly. The seemingly lesser German side has enjoyed great success in recent years, making their mark amongst the elite European sides. Dortmund’s presence in this year’s final came as a shock to most when they were drawn against Spanish greats Real Madrid in the semi-final. However, the heroics of Robert Lewandowski all but cemented their place in the final when he managed to put away four goals in the first leg against Real. Add to that the wizardry of Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Mats Hummels, and you’ll soon realise that this ‘lesser’ side is truly a force to be reckoned with.
Munich will be coming into this game with a squad at seemingly full strength, with only defender Holger Badstuber being ruled out. Meanwhile, injury woes plague Dortmund’s Mats Hummels who hurt his ankle last week. Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp has stated that he believes that Hummels will be ‘fit to play’ in the momentous clash. Bayern bound Mario Gotze is also expected to play as his recovery from a thigh injury he sustained last month is ‘going according to plan’.
When these sides last met, they managed only a 1-1 draw. However, different line-ups and Europe’s top prize at stake will ensure that we will be in for a memorable game at Wembley.
Check out Mohammad’s blog: Gear up, Game on.
For Australian fans, the final will be broadcast on Sunday 26 May on SBS ONE and in HD and streamed online from 4:15am AEST.