December 18, 2017

Wembley prepares to welcome the Germans.

Posted on May 3, 2013 by in Champions League

And there we have it. While many may have correctly predicted Bayern Munich would reach the final given how close they came last year, and added to the fact that they strengthened considerably in the summer, few could have foreseen the impact Borussia Dortmund have made.

Cast your eyes back to the beginning of the season, and BVB had it all to do. They were drawn in the clichéd ‘Group of Death’ alongside Real Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax, and many predicted a third place finish at best. The Germans, led by their incredible fans had other ideas, finishing top of the group without losing a game.

Fellow dark-horses Shakhtar Donetsk were beaten in the last 32, before they beat Malaga 3-2 on aggregate in the most dramatic of circumstances, scoring twice in the last few minutes to book their place in the semi-finals. Real Madrid were up next, and despite not losing to them in the group stage, the Spanish were overwhelming favourites. Once again Dortmund didn’t read the script, and progressed by the odd goal in seven.

Bayern Munich finished top of their group, and after dismantling Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates, many thought their progression was a foregone conclusion. The Gunners had other ideas, winning 2-0 in Germany, meaning Bayern scraped through on goal difference. Juventus were up next, and it was an extremely comfortable two legs for the Germans, who progressed to the semis, where the mighty Barcelona lay in wait.

This is a Barcelona side labelled as one of the best club sides of all time, a side that have won everything there is to win in recent times, and in Lionel Messi have the player of our generation. All of this didn’t matter to Bayern, who crushed the boys from the Nou Camp 7-0 on aggregate, and leave the football world amazed at the spectacle. Yes Messi wasn’t fully fit, but the total football displayed by the Germans suggests there is a new powerhouse in European football.

This has set up a final that no-one can complain about. Yes an El Clasico may have been nice, but given the football the German sides have produced, we could be in for an absolute classic. Dortmund have perfectly demonstrated what a talented manager, and a unified team can produce, and reaching the final is worthy reward for what Jurgen Klopp is trying to do at the club.

Yes this is a team that contains some world-class talent, but they have been developed and grown over the last few years, culminating in winning the German league and now reaching the final of Europe’s biggest competition. Players like Subotic, Reus and Lewandowski will surely attract attention this summer, and ironically star man Mario Gotze has already been signed by a new club….Bayern Munich.

Jupp Heynckes is in the strange position of knowing that his job is up soon, with Pep Guardiola set to take over in the summer. What a job he has done though, with his Bayern side winning the league at a canter, with a goal difference in excess of plus 70. In addition his side haven’t lost domestically since October, and since the winter break they have won 21 of their 22 matches. Bayern contain a team of world class players, with the additions of Mandzukic and Martinez adding even more quality to a tremendously talented side.

Looking at the final and while it promises to be a great game, it’s hard to look past Bayern Munich. This will perfectly suit Borussia Dortmund, who have been underdogs throughout, and who actually have a great record against Munich, having won 4 out of the last 5 league matches they’ve played.

Munich though will want to finally end their run of near misses, having lost in the final twice in recent years. Will it be third time lucky? Perhaps it might, but here’s a word of warning for Bayern….the three previous instances of a team scoring seven or more goals in a European Cup semi-final, all saw that team go on to lose the final.

Whatever happens, we should be in for a great game, and if the two teams can produce the football we know they’re capable of, roared on by their fanatical fans, then it could be a classic.