If anyone can beat Bayern, it’s Dortmund

2013-05-19 14:00

Bayern Munich go into Saturday’s first all-German Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund as favourites to lift their fifth title.

The team from the Bavarian capital have set all kinds of records in the Bundesliga this season, winning their 23rd German title

in record time, with the highest number of points, the most victories?.?.?.?and the list goes on.

The club has also qualified for the German Cup final, where they are overwhelming favourites against VfB Stuttgart.

The match at London’s Wembley Stadium is the third time in four years Bayern have appeared in the championship match of Europe’s showcase club competition.

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who will move aside for former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola after the season, has an array of top-class international stars to call upon.

French ace Franck Ribery; Dutch winger Arjen Robben; Spanish World Cup winner Javi Martínez; German internationals Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer and Mario Gomez; as well as Croatian Mario Mandzukic are just some of the world class stars in the Bayern squad.

A player often underrated in the team is David Alaba.

Although only 20, the Austrian, who was born to a Filipino mother and a Nigerian father, is fast developing into one of the world’s best left backs.

Having sat out last season’s defeat in Munich against Chelsea after being suspended for picking up one too many yellow cards, Alaba will be keen to show his class this time around.

Captain Lahm is determined to win the trophy this season after having been on the losing side in 2010 and 2012.

“This is our goal, our dream – we should never lose focus. That would be careless. We don’t need to talk about Dortmund. We don’t need to sting them. We need to look at ourselves,” he said.

But many believe the only German team capable of beating Bayern are the 1997 Champions League winners, Borussia Dortmund.

Having surrendered their 2011 and 2012 Bundesliga titles to Bayern, the team from North Rhine-Westphalia are eager not to suffer another meltdown against their bitter rivals, who also beat them in the semifinal of the German Cup.

Former German international Sebastian Kehl is confident that Dortmund can win their second Champions League title.

“Myself and the team believe, of course, that we can beat Bayern.

We were not beaten in either game against them in the Bundesliga. That shows that our way of playing can hurt Munich. Their respect will be very, very big as well,” said Kehl.

Like Heynckes, Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp has a squad filled with international stars, with Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who destroyed Real Madrid with four goals in the first-leg semifinal, the outstanding player.

Klopp’s major concern is the injury German international Mario Götze picked up in the semifinal clash against Real Madrid.

The midfield maestro, who will be moving to Bayern Munich next season, is doubtful for the final and his unavailability would be a huge blow for Dortmund.

Unsurprisingly, the final has garnered a lot of interest in Germany, with Chancellor Angela Merkel already announcing she will be travelling to London for the match, which has further strengthened Germany’s position among the top three countries of European club football.

Uefa Champions League road to final

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