Supremacy at stake as German giants clash in cup final
Thomas Mueller admits Bayern Munich are aiming to maintain their status as Germany's top side when the Bavarian giants clash with main rivals Borussia Dortmund in Saturday's German Cup final.
"This is also about supremacy in Germany, it's about showing our rivals," said Germany star Mueller as Bayern prepare to play Dortmund for the fourth and final time this season with Borussia leading the current 'Der Klassiker' series two wins to Munich's one.
Mueller insists Bayern start as favourites at Berlin's Olympic Stadium, but after Borussia have won eight of their final 10 matches this season, "the current trend (of results) has brought Dortmund a step closer to us".
"We can't allow ourselves to give away reckless turnovers. If we do, Dortmund will be just waiting to counter-attack us."
Bayern are bidding to win the domestic double for the tenth time, having already secured the Bundesliga title in March with a record seven games to spare.
In contrast, Dortmund are chasing their fourth cup final victory having finished their league campaign second to their Bavarian rivals in the table.
There are plenty of sub-plots to the final, not least Bayern's Germany star Mario Goetze up against his former club having been raised in Dortmund.
"It is definitely something special and emotional," admitted the 21-year-old, who scored the opening goal in Bayern's 3-0 win in Dortmund on his first return to Borussia's Westfalenstadion in November.
"My first game against Dortmund was the icing on the cake, but I have now been at Bayern for a year and we want to win the title, that's all that counts."
- Ribery criticises Guardiola -
Poland striker Robert Lewandowski will play his final match in the famous yellow-and-black jersey before joining Bayern and the 25-year-old has vowed to sign off his four years playing for Dortmund by lifting the title.
Bayern suffered at the hands of Lewandowski in the 2012 cup final when he netted a hat-trick in a 5-2 drubbing of the Bavarian giants.
Lewandowski, who finished as the league's top-scorer with 20 goals in 33 matches, warmed up for the cup final with two goals in Dortmund's 4-0 Bundesliga win at the Olympic Stadium last Saturday against Hertha Berlin.
Bayern have injury worries with Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara definitely out with torn knee ligaments, while France winger Franck Ribery (back) and Germany defensive midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee) face a race against time.
Dortmund are at near full strength with long-term knee injury victims winger Jakub Blaszczykowski and centre-back Neven Subotic missing.
Ribery stirred things up in the Bayern camp on the eve of the final by criticising Guardiola's rotation policy as the Spaniard struggles to give his star-studded squad enough game time.
"Sometimes you play, sometimes you sit on the bench, sometimes you stay at home and aren't even in the squad," Ribery, who was shortlisted for the 2013 Ballon d'Or award, told German magazine Kicker.
"Personally, I need a break after five or six games, not after just one.
"If we lose, it won't have been a good season for me any more," admitted Ribery, who has said he is fit to play, but unlikely to last the 90 minutes in Berlin.
This will be the 71st German Cup final and the 20th time Bayern are involved and the Bavarians are looking for their fourth title this season having collected the Bundesliga, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup titles already this season.
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