Twenty four hours ago I was in a pub in the heart of Bavaria. Munich to be precise, talking football with some die-hard Bayern fans from our German office who were telling me in graphic detail how this current Bayern Munich team were the best club side Europe has ever seen. They could give me plenty reasons to back this up, including a statement around the fact that “Pep”, having broken all records at Barca would only consider joining a club more supreme – and hence why he is coming to Bavaria next season. But my argument was despite romping to the Bundesliga, and being odds-on favourites to take the DFB-Pokal in a few weeks when they meet Stuttgart in Berlin, a failure to beat Borussia Dortmund in the most anticipated Champions League final for decades will mean this season counts for very little.
After the crushing disappoint of losing out to domestic honours to Borussia Dortmund last season and then losing the Champions League final in their own front garden in Bavaria to Chelsea, this season was seen as a chance for redemption. Their ruthlessness in winning the Bundesliga title has been breathtaking – currently 22 points clear with one game to go of Dortmund, scoring nearly an average of 3 goals a game, conceding less than half a goal a game, dropping just eleven points so far. Two defeats in all competitions is certainly a record-breaker but could they really go on their sunbeds around the pool in the summer with a smug feeling of superiority if Klopp’s team win at Wembley.
It would have taken a brave man to bet against Bayern in any domestic game this season (and that brave man would now be significantly poorer) but in a one-off game on neutral soil I think the game could be a lot closer than people think. An early look at the odds at Unibet shows Bayern are clear favourites to lift the trophy at 1.42 compared to Dortmund’s 2.8. This season both league games ended 1-1 and their meeting in the Allianz Arena in the German Cup saw an Arjen Robben wonderstrike the only difference between the two sides.
The key for me is the form of Dortmund’s occasional false nine, Marco Reus. We saw Reus destroy Eintract Frankfurt earlier in the season in the Westfalenstadion, scoring a fantastic hatrick. When he is on his day he is unstoppable. So unstoppable that the rumours of a move to Bayern have been circulating since he was voted German Player of the Year in 2012. With Lewandowski potentially on his way to Real Madrid in the summer, he will also want to go out on a high.
Unsurprisingly, tickets for the game are like gold dust. As the days tick down to the final we will preview the game more, including a visit to the Champions Park in East London.