The strength of the Bundesliga at the moment will be shown in full force as Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich descend on Wembley for the 2013 Champions League final.
For Dortmund, it represents the first time they have reached the occasion since their sole success in the competition in 1997. In contrast, this is Bayern’s third in the last four years and after their previous defeats to Inter Milan in 2010 and then more agonisingly on penalties to Chelsea on their home turf at the Allianz Arena last year, Jupp Heynckes’ side will be confident of finally securing their first European title since 2001. Indeed, the Bavarians have not lost in their four matches against Dortmund this season as they have swept towards the Bundesliga title in record-breaking fashion.
Jurgen Klopp’s stylish outfit have been swashbuckling in their passage through to the final, topping a group that included Real Madrid, Ajax and Manchester City before overcoming Shakhtar Donetsk, Malaga and then Madrid again in the last four, albeit after suffering almighty scares against the latter two.
Bayern on the other hand have mostly been imperious, though they were only a single goal away from being knocked out by Arsenal in the last 16 after collapsing to a 2-0 second leg defeat at home. However, Juventus were swept aside in the last eight before more remarkably, Barcelona, commonly perceived as the greatest club side in the history of the game, were dismantled by an aggregate scoreline of 7-0 by the Bavarian giants, in a pair of wins that were said to effectively hail the arrival of Bayern as world football’s new dominant force.
Dortmund’s task therefore did not have to be made any harder but it has done after the news that Mario Gotze, their brightest star who will of course line up for Bayern next season under the tutelage of the incoming Pep Guardiola, will miss the Wembley showpiece after failing to recover from a hamstring injury sustained in the second leg of the semi-final victory over Madrid.
Elsewhere, Lukasz Piszceck will play despite his immediate need to undergo hip surgery in the off-season while striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored four times at home to Jose Mourinho’s Madrid in the last four, could play his final game for the club before he departs, potentially to opponents Bayern.
Munich are at full-strength with only defender Holger Badstuber and midfielder Toni Kroos missing with knee injuries. That means that one of either Jerome Boateng or Daniel Van Buyten will partner Dante at the back while Arjen Robben, who has a score to settle in the Champions League final after his missed penalty in extra time against Chelsea last season, will start. Up front, Mario Mandzukic looks set to be preferred to Mario Gomez.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Borussia