As the footballing world gears up for the biggest and last game of the season – the Champions League finals at Wembley, there are many things we can look forward to which will make the match as interesting and pulsating as it is billed to be. The might of Bundesliga will be on full display and the stadium could be mistaken for one in Germany by the innocent bystander. Legions of German fans are expected to make the atmosphere quite electric and lively. Let us take a look at a few aspects of the match that will be in spotlight on the big day.
WILL BAYERN REMAIN THE SOUTH AFRICA OF CRICKET?
Bayern have lost three of four finals they have played in including the painful loss last year at home to Chelsea. They will be very keen to triumph this time and lay the demons of the past to rest. With the level of talent and quality they possess, they certainly are favoured to make serious runs year after year in the tournament. However, like the Proteas who excel and finally stumble at the finish line (tournament finals) in cricket regularly, Bayern is slowly earning itself the chokers tag who just cannot muster enough strength to triumph in finals. Bayern Munchen would be focused, and rightly so, on their dream this weekend and aim to end a Champions League draught of 12 years.
GOALS GALORE EXPECTED
Both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, the top teams in the Bundesliga this season, are known for their high tempo offense and we can expect a fair share of goals to be scored in the final. It would in fact be a delight to witness a thrilling, attacking affair that finishes in extra time tied 4-4 and an ensuing penalty shootout to determine the winner. Mandzukic and Lewandowski will be expected to be in full flow and keen to impress and increase their stock in Europe. With Bayern, though, having the best defense in their league that has already kept 20 clean sheets so far this season, it will be interesting to see how Klopp’s men will plan to break Lahm and his team down and poach Munich’s goal.
POLISH PRIDE AT DORTMUND
Lewandowski, Blaszczykowski, Piszczek are three Polish players who have made a name for themselves with Borussia Dortmund as a forward, midfielder and defender respectively and all three will be aiming to finish the job at Wembley. The quality these three have brought to their club has been reflecting in the Champions League success the club has seen so far and with the offensive threat all them offer, it will take a very industrious effort from Bayern’s backline to keep them in check.
HEYNCKES TO GUARDIOLA
Jupp Heynckes will be departing from Munich after the finals and making way for one of the most celebrated football coaches of the decade, Pep Guardiola. Pep, who took a year off from the game after an exhausting stint with Barcelona which was filled with nothing but trophies, will take over at Munich next year with lofty expectations. Heynckes will aim to finish what he started and leave with his head high and avoid getting overshadowed and forgotten once the Spaniard’s reign begins next year.
WHICH TEAM WILL YOU BE SUPPORTING?
Bayern Munich attempts to become the first German team to win the Treble and Dortmund will be aiming to spoil their party and claim the second Champions League in their history. With both teams fielding a host of star players, it will be tough to predict the outcome, but I give the edge to Bayern due to their superior defense which will no doubt be put to the test by Dortmund’s marauders. Dortmund could still stage the upset they are capable of but Bayern’s performances this season have almost always bordered on the ruthless and it is tough to image them being beaten easily. Dortmund might have to call up Arsene Wenger to glean any valuable info as Arsenal have been the only team to blank Bayern at home this season!
Let us hope the event stands to its promise of football at its entertaining best.