Mario Gotze is set to miss Saturday's Champions League Final after being ruled out through a thigh injury. The young German looks set to have now made his final appearance for Borussia Dortmund before his summer move to final opponents, Bayern Munich.
The game at Wembley will also signal the penultimate game of Jupp Heynckes' reign as Bayern Munich coach, as the German coach retires from the Bundesliga at the age of 68. Having already secured the Bundesliga title, Heynckes is in line to secure his second trophy of the season as his side strive towards treble glory.
Heynckes will be without the services of Toni Kroos and Holger Badstuber - the former ruled out for the rest of the season, the latter announced to be out of action for the next ten months on Wednesday - but otherwise has a strong squad to pick from.
His opposite number Jurgen Klopp will have to cope without talisman Gotze and has been left with a selection dilemma as Sebastien Kehl, Nuri Sahin and Kevin Grosskreutz battle for the vacant spot. Mats Hummels meanwhile suffered a sprained ankle at the weekend but is likely to recover in time for kick off.
In four matches contested between the sides already this season Bayern have been victorious twice, with the spoils shared on the other two occasions, so the Munich side will go in as favourites. Nevertheless Dortmund will be confident of causing an upset after already beating sides such as Real Madrid, Shakthar Donetsk and Manchester City in this years competition.
Both sides produced impressive performances at the semi-final stages to slay Spanish Giants Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, Bayern demolishing the heavily fancied Catalans 7-0 on aggregate and Dortmund battling to a 5-4 aggregate victory. However the tournament pedigree advantage is firmly in Bayern's court with the Bavarian Giants having reached the final of the competition in three of the last four years, albeit having lost in the two previous outings - Inter Milan (2009/10) and Chelsea (2011/12).
Domestic form would also favour Bayern over Dortmund with their most recent Bundesliga outings ending in contrasting results. Dortmund went down 2-1 to Hoffenheim in their final domestic game of the season, conceding two late penalties and having goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller sent off. A return to goalscoring form for Robert Lewandowski after a month domestically without a goal will have formed positive encouragement though.
Bayern meanwhile forced a stunning comeback against Borussia Monchengladbach to win 4-3 thanks to a Franck Ribery double. Having conceded three goals within the first ten minutes, Bayern had to draw on all their experience to battle back from 3-1 down to finish their league season on a high.
Neither result should be used as an indicator of form for this game however with both teams concentrated on Wednesday evening's game more so than the end of season procession games.
Speaking ahead of the game Jupp Heynckes told how he believes Thomas Muller will make the difference in Bayern's chances saying “He’s tireless, one of our leading characters, and a big factor in why we’re so outstanding both in attack and defence."
"Thomas is having a superb season. There’s no way we’d leave him out of the team, he’s not injury prone, and he’s a hard runner, agile, and relaxed when you need to be relaxed.”Jurgen Klopp meanwhile expressed his displeasure at the manner in which their rivals have compiled their squad, “Bayern want a decade of success like Barca. That's OK if you have the money because it increases the possibility of success. But it's not guaranteed. We are not a supermarket but they want our players because they know we cannot pay them the same money. If that's what Bayern wants... It's like James Bond – except they are the other guy [the villain].”
Seemingly in response Franck Ribery suggested that his side should 'emerge victorious' if they 'give 100%', though also took time to compliment his opponents on their path to the final.
The fighting talk and mind games have begun and now it's time to see which club fulfils their destiny of lifting the 2012/13 Champions League trophy. Wembley glory awaits for the victor of what is likely to be an extremely tense and hard-fought final.
Previous five meetings:
Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Bayern Munich (Bundesliga)
Grosskreutz ; Gomez
Bayern Munich 1-0 Borussia Dortmund (German Cup)
Bayern Munich 1-1 Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)
Kroos ; Gotze
Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund (German Super Cup)
Mandzukic, Muller ; Lewandowski
Borussia Dortmund 5-2 Bayern Munich (German Cup)
Kagawa, Hummels, Lewandowski x3 ; Robben, Ribery
Likely Line Ups
Bayern - Dortmund
Neuer - Weidenfeller
Lahm - Piszczek
Boateng - Hummels
Dante - Subotic
Alaba - Schmelzer
Schweinsteiger - Bender
Martinez - Gundogan
Robben - Reus
Muller - Sahin
Ribery - Blaszczykowski
Mandzukic - Lewandowski