Sat, May 25, 12:20pm by Kevin Pitstock
Two former champions and familiar foes clash at Wembley Stadium (25 May at 20.45 London time) in the 2013 UEFA Champions League Finals. German Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich and runners up Borussia Dortmund are set to do battle to be crowned Champions of Europe.
The all-German final marks the fifth time this year that these two clubs have met during this “season”. Bayern holds the edge, as they have not been defeated by Dortmund during this campaign. In both their Bundesliga meetings, the scoreline ended 1-1. Mario Götze and Kevin Grosskreutz scored for Dortmund, whilst Toni Kroos and Mario Gomez found the net for Bayern in their two league clashes.
Bayern came away on the winning side of the equation in the German Super Cup, beating Dortmund 2-1. Mario Mandžuki? and Thomas Müller scored for Bayern, whilst the always-dangerous Robert Lewendowski scored for Dortmund. Bayern also dropped Dortmund 1-nil via an Arjen Robben goal in the German Cup.
Bayern Munich played in the final last season, losing to Chelsea despite playing in front of their home crowd. This year’s final will be their third appearance in the finals in their last four Champions League campaigns and their tenth European Cup Final overall. Bayern lifted the European trophy in 1974, 1975, and 1976. Twenty-five years later, they beat Valencia in penalties to win the Champions League (2001). In 2010, Bayern failed to score against Inter Milan and lost the match 2-nil. In their trip to Wembley, Bayern scored 29 goals with a record of nine wins, one draw, and two losses
The 2013 Champions League finals is Borussia Dortmund’s second trip to the UEFA Champions League finals. Their first go at the final came in 1997, where they beat Juventus 3-1 in Munich. Dortmund were previously the only unbeaten club left in the Champions League. Despite dropping their second leg match to Real Madrid, they advanced to the finals. Dortmund have won seven times, drawn four times, and lost once in the Champions League, scoring 23 goals along the way.
As mentioned, these two clubs are quite familiar with one another. Dortmund typically deploys a 4-3-3 formation against Bayern Munich to press the 4-2-3-1 formation of Bayern Munich. If Dortmund are to be effective against Bayern, they must put pressure on Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martínez. If they are permitted to have time on the ball and pick out their passes, it is game over. For Bayern, they will look to control possession, dropping Tomas Müller as deep as necessary to get him into the mix. They will also have to deal with Robert Lewendowski by cutting off his supply line when Dortmund goes on the counter-attack. This is not an easy task, as Lewendowski is the second leading scorer in the competition with ten goals. Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo leads the competition with twelve goals.
Bayern are the favourites going into the final and rightfully so. They dominated domestically, setting records for goals scored, points, and goal differential in the Bundesliga. They also destroyed Barcelona in the semi-finals via a 7-nil aggregate. Last year’s final against Chelsea, Bayern were the better side in every aspect of the match with the exception of the final score. Bayern dominated possession, controlling 70% of the ball.
Do not think for a second that they will forget this lesson. I think that tough lesson will burn in their minds for this final. I fully expect Bayern to be absolutely clinical in their finishing, working to put the game to bed quite early and then remain disciplined in their defence.
I have to go with the favourite in this match, tipping a 4-1 win Bayern Munich’s way.
As for goal scorers, Robert Lewendowski leads Dortmund on ten goals, whilst Bayern’s Müller is on 8. Both of these players are prime candidates to score for their team. Arjen Robben is also a player worthy of goalscorer consideration, as he leads Bayern with 19 attempts on frame whilst scoring three goals.
I have to admit, I love a good story about the cost-conscious team taking down the cash rich giant. However, the way Bayern are playing – factored in with their loss in last year’s finals and Coach Jupp Heynckes retiring at the end of the season – it does not make sense to think anything other than Bayern lifting the Cup is going to occur.
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