Even as I started to write about the Group Stage of this season`s Champions` League I was bothered by the dilemma surrounding Mario Goetze. In case you didn`t know the attacking midfielder, currently a Borussia Dortmund player, will be joining Bayern Munich ahead of the new season for a ball-busting 37 million Euros, making him the most expensive German player of all time. Beforehand there is the little matter of the Champions` League Final at Wembley between Dortmund, Mario`s present paymasters, and his future employers. Therein lay the intriguing prospect of Goetze helping Borussia smash Munich`s trophy dream in his last game for one club and prior to his first for the smashees – hope you are following this.
While I had this premonition of what, in the world of professional football, is termed a diplomatic injury up popped a strap line on Sky Sports News declaring `Mario Goetze will miss the Champions` League Final due to a hamstring injury`. Mmmmmmm!
As for the game itself I think it`s fair to say that if you were to poll 100,000 neutrals most of them would have preferred an all-Spanish version of the final. Not with standing both Dortmund and Bayern blew Barcelona and Real away so convincingly there is no question both finalists deserve to be there.
All week pundits, experts, fans etc have been analysing the final, the relative merits of both sides before deciding who would lift that monster trophy when Saturday comes.
On paper all the stats point to Bayern triumphing in their third final in the past four years; possession, shots, goals, defensive record etc etc. Thank goodness the game is being played on grass and therein lies the clue as to the eventual winners, THE game.
Not a two legged affair with incumbent need for an away goal or a home clean sheet, no, this is a one-off, knock-out, winner takes all cup-tie.
Attitude will be key and in that regard there is little to choose between Bayern, still hurting from last season`s mugging by Chelsea, and Dortmund who have taken the normal German arrogance down several notches to supreme and laudable self-confidence. And that self belief is built on the very essence of football epitomised by Jurgen Klopp`s players, team ethic. Indeed Dortmund`s team approach is almost Barcelonaesque.
While Bayern is a team of stars Borussia Dortmund`s team IS the star. No overblown egos, with the possible exception of the coach. But a massive blow to Dortmund is the loss of Goetze. His powerful running from midfield with the end result of punishing ruthlessness in front of goal is what Bayern have paid the grossen bucks for.
The key to lifting the trophy lies in midfield. A Dortmund side bereft of such a key player as Goetze never the less has the Polish duo of Blazcykowski and Piszczek a combination of attacking ability down the right flank. Blazcykowski is a powerful and pacey runner equally adept at defending and attacking and in tandem with right back Piszczek the pair provided Dortmund with nearly half of their goals in the Bundesliga this past season.
In the Bayern midfield is a factor that may well be decisive in the final analysis, Ribery and Robben. On the one hand Robben has found a tracking back element to his game that has been missing all career al beit that only emerged in the past few weeks, maybe something to do with his attention being directed in the direction of ausgang (exit) door.
No doubting ability but, as with the other, `shall I shan`t I` member of the team Ribery a suspect temperament is one, sorry, two, weak links in an otherwise awesome Bayern machine. Schweinsetiger will have his work cut out to get the best out of those two temperamental individuals if they are to subscribe to the team ethic at Wembley.
Upfront it will be interesting to see how Lewandowski, who this week has committed himself to Dortmund next season, until David Moyes comes calling, acquits himself.
Ten goals in 12 Champions` League appearances suggests a torrid time ahead for whichever duo from four is selected by Jupp Heynckes.
At the other end Muller, Gomez and Pizzaro may provide a stiffer test to Hummels, if fit, and co, than Real Madrid did.
The word coming out of the Ruhr in the build up to Wembley was that Dortmund intend to `annoy` their Bundesliga rivals, highly appropriate considering their normal yellow and black wasp-like strip. It would really annoy them if Dortmund were to win. It may just come down to that old fashioned principle of which team scores the most goals.
Both sides can be suspect defensively and both have firepower all over the pitch.
Munich could dominate possession, passing, etc etc but I have a feeling that there will be a new name on the CL Trophy by Saturday night. The trouble with wasps is that if you don`t swat them early on you simply annoy them more and they persist until they sting.
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