Bayern Munich will be confident of finally adding a fifth Champions League trophy to their cabinet when they face compatriots Borussia Dortmund in this year’s final at Wembley on Saturday (7.45pm BST, live on ITV).
Bayern won three consecutive European Cups in the mid-1970s, but have since added just one further triumph, in 2001, despite appearing in an additional six finals, including two of the last three. They dominated last year’s final against Chelsea before losing on penalties.
Jupp Heynckes’ team have charted an impressive path to this year’s final, winning their group and then defeating Arsenal, Juventus and Barcelona on route to Wembley. The victory over Barcelona was particularly spectacular – a 7-0 aggregate mauling that included a 4-0 victory in Munich.
Bayern out-muscled the Catalans and were able to easily puncture their defence with swift, incisive attacks, using the pace of the likes of Thomas Muller – scorer of two goals in Munich – Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery to get in behind the Barca backline. In midfield, Bastain Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez formed a solid but mobile core. It is easy to see why they are favourites in the Champions League Final betting odds to lift the trophy.
Little has changed from the style and approach Bayern utilised on route to the 2012 Champions League final, but there appears to be an additional layer of conviction to the club’s displays this season, a collective confidence that they can physically and technically dominate whichever team is put in front of them.
The club’s European performances have been allied to similarly impressive domestic form. Bayern wrapped up the Bundesliga title by early April and eventually finished 25 points clear of second placed Dortmund. They scored 98 goals and conceded just 18 over the course of the 34-match season.
The final will be Heynckes’ last match on the Bayern bench, as he will retire at the end of the season to make way for the incoming Josep Guardiola. Heynckes has one previous Champions League success to his credit, with Real Madrid in 1998, and will hope to go out on a high by securing a second on Saturday.
His opposite number, Jurgen Klopp, is 23 years his junior and looks set to stick around at Borussia Dortmund for some time yet, having led the club to the Bundesliga titles of 2010/11 and 2011/12. Klopp is a bright, tactically astute young coach, who has also come across as charming and humorous in the myriad of interviews he has given in the build up to the final.
Like Heynckes, Klopp led his side to a famous victory over Spanish opposition in the semi-final, defeating Real Madrid 4-3 on aggregate following a majestic 4-1 victory in Dortmund. That victory followed earlier knockout round wins over Shakhtar Donetsk and Malaga, and domination of a group featuring Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax.
Dortmund’s 4-1 home win over Madrid was a perfect illustration of the high-octane, swashbuckling style that has won the club many neutral admirers over the last couple of years. They successfully disrupted Madrid’s attacks and broke with spellbinding pace and precision, slicing through the away defence with ease.
Polish striker Robert Lewandowski scored all four goals that evening and is Dortmund’s top scorer in all competitions with 36 goals, 10 of them scored in the Champions League. Behind him, the trio of Marco Reus, Mario Goetze and Jaukb Blaszczykowski offers sufficient invention and incision to pierce most defences.
Dortmund will, however, be without the services of Goetze for Saturday’s final after he failed to recover from the hamstring injury he picked up in the second leg of the Madrid tie at the end of April. The young attacking midfielder has provided 12 goals and 14 assists in all competitions this season and his absence will be keenly felt.
Reus seems the most likely candidate to take Goetze’s central attacking midfield berth on Saturday with Kevin Grosskreutz coming in to take up Reus’ usual position on the left flank.
Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund Betting Tips Verdict
These two clubs have met on four occasions already this season, with Bayern winning twice and the other two matches ending in draws. All have been tightly contested affairs with no more than a single goal separating the teams. They are well matched physically and Bayern will find it difficult to bully Dortmund in the same way they did Barcelona.
The manner in which Bayern have dominated this season’s Bundesliga does, however, legitimise their position as favourites for Saturday’s final, a position of strength that has been bolstered by the news that Dortmund’s Goetze will miss the final through injury.
Bayern have somehow conspired to lose five of their last six Champions League finals, including three defeats to English opposition. So what better place than Wembley, the home of English football, to finally put their bad luck to rest and secure a fifth Champions League crown.
- Back Bayern Munich to lift the trophy @ 2/5 with Bet365, Paddy Power, Coral, Ladbrokes or William Hill
- Both of these teams made headlines with high-scoring semi-final victories but the four meetings between them this season have all ended with two or less goals. Finals are often cagey affairs (four of the last five have ended with two or less goals), and we would not be surprised to see a low-scoring 90 minutes on Saturday. Back under 2.5 goals @ best odds of 23/20 with BetVictor.