Muller in confident mood
Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller is not panicking about the prospect of more Champions League final shoot-out misery at Wembley on Saturday.
The legendary German accuracy from the penalty spot suffered a malfunction 12 months ago when Chelsea emerged victorious to conquer Europe for the first time. Bayern return to the final for the third time in four years knowing their mettle might be tested in the most extreme manner again as they do battle with Borussia Dortmund in the first all-German final, but Muller is refusing to lose any sleep over the prospect.
"What happened last year has nothing to do with self-confidence," he said. "You never know who will be on pitch at that point and some players better at penalties than others, but no-one will be wetting their pants over it."
The German invasion of Wembley does appear to mark a shift in the European balance of power. Barcelona were slaughtered by Bayern in the semi-final, despite being lauded as possibly the greatest club side ever for their performances over the previous four seasons.
The four-times winners scored seven times without reply in a quite staggering two-legged display, even if Lionel Messi played through injury in the first encounter and sat out the second completely as Bayern romped to a 7-0 aggregate triumph.
"Barcelona were extraordinary in what they have done over the last few years," said Bayern skipper Philipp Lahm.
"They have won the Champions League on a couple of occasions and we felt they were the team we knew we had to beat if we were going to be successful this season. But we have developed by working together as a team. We have lots of attacking qualities and we didn't let them through our defence at all."
Coach Jupp Heynckes reported a fully fit 21-man squad, which will allow Bayern to start favourites to lift their first European crown since 2001.
With the Bundesliga title already confirmed and a German Cup final against Stuttgart to follow next week, Heynckes' final season as a manager is threatening to leave new boss Pep Guardiola with a difficult act to follow. The 68-year-old accepts his team are something special.
"We have achieved some extraordinary things," he said "Overall, our season has been the best in the Bundesliga from any team in 50 years. But we have the aspiration to carry on. We want to maintain our form tomorrow and in the German Cup Final."
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