On the 25th of May, Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munich meet at Wembley Stadium for the Champions League final, and it promises to be an exciting occasion. Football fans around the World will be tuning in for the all-German final in England, with two of the finest teams on the globe battling for European glory. There’s the expectation of an intense climax to what has already been a gripping Champions League campaign. The majority of English teams have underperformed dramatically once again (with the holders Chelsea FC failing to qualify for the knock-out stages), and underdogs such as Málaga CF and Galatasaray SK have pushed certain European titans to their limits. But it was the nature of defeat in the semi-finals for both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF, the two pretournament favourites, which has truly illuminated the competition this year; though many expected Bayern Munich to triumph over Barcelona, the 7-0 aggregate scoreline was remarkable, and Borussia Dortmund’s performance against Real Madrid (the first leg in particular) was spirited and determined. Both German sides were worthy winners in the end, and with the exciting manner of football the teams exhibit, there’s very little doubt that a pulsating final awaits us. Bayern Munich go into the game heavy favourites, and it’s easy to understand why. They are the side every team in Europe fears, and pundits are predicting a period of dominance. This remains to be seen, but the initial signs are certainly there. After conceding the Bundesliga title to Borussia Dortmund once again last season, it was interesting to see how Bayern Munich bounce back, but their response cannot be questioned. To put it simply, they have cruised the Bundesliga this season, wiping away the threat of their rivals to claim their 23rd league title. In the process, they have conceded only 15 goals and scored a remarkable total of 91, with games still remaining. The goals have been equally spread too, with no real star performer, but the signing of Mario Mandžukić was certainly a very good one. He has started more games this season than the prolific Mario Gómez, and is the joint top
scorer in all competitions with 20 goals, alongside the impressive Thomas Müller. France international Franck Ribéry has had another consistent season, Bastian Schweinsteiger has continued to dominate midfields, and young German star Toni Kroos has stood out, scoring some fantastic goals as he continues to develop into a top class player. The defensive record speaks for itself; Philipp Lahm’s influence has proved vital once again, and David Alaba has blossomed as a left back, showing remarkable maturity. All in all, it’s an outstanding team - rock solid at the back, dominant and bullish in midfield, and utterly ruthless in attack, this Bayern Munich side contains some incredible athletes who work immensely hard on and off the ball. Jupp Heynckes has formed a group of players who work tirelessly for the team, the fans, and for each other, and with the arrival of Pep Guardiola next season, this Champions League final is the last chapter in this particular period for Bayern. Everyone involved will desperately want to achieve European glory, resulting in Heynckes retiring with a bang. Whilst many expected Bayern Munich to progress this far, the success of Borussia Dortmund has come to a surprise for some, despite their title-winning season last year. It’s no exaggeration to say Jürgen Klopp has done a fantastic job at the club, leading Borussia Dortmund to two consecutive League titles, in the 10-11 and 11-12 seasons. Charismatic, eccentric and full of energy, Klopp is an extremely likeable man, and he has very much shown his managerial credentials the past few years. His Dortmund side have displayed some breathtaking football
form the title race was essentially over, as Bayern Munich showed remarkable consistency. Instead, Dortmund have undoubtedly excelled in the Champions League. Drawn in a group with three other Champions (including Real Madrid and Manchester City), they were no certainties to qualify to the knock out stages, but they put in some immense performances both home and away, showcasing their attractive style of football on the biggest stage in European club football. Borussia Dortmund took 4 points from both Real Madrid and Manchester City and ended up topping the group – this was seen as an achievement in itself, especially when comparing the finances of the teams involved. After a remarkable late comeback to defeat Malaga, Dortmund then met Real Madrid again in the semi-final, showing their true class in the first leg by taking a 4-1 lead. Polish striker Robert Lewandowski was phenomenal, bagging all 4 Dortmund goals in the game, no doubt the highlight of what has been a prolific season for him, scoring 35 goals in all competitions. Lewandowski is just one of many star players in the Dortmund side; Marco Reus has had a wonderful season, and it’ll be interesting to see Mario Götze in his last game before he moves to their opponents Bayern Munich. Götze’s Summer move is just one of many subplots in this exciting tie, and with such a talented group of players at their disposal, Borussia Dortmund will be hoping to claim their 2nd Champions League trophy in their history. Despite the immense quality Borussia Dortmund possess, Bayern Munich go into the final as heavy favourites, showing just how strong this current Bayern side is. The two teams have met four times already this season, with two stalemates in the league, and Bayern coming out on top twice in the cups, and the majority of people expect another Bayern victory on May 25th. But you could argue there’s a special vibe to Dortmund this year – with so many special moments on the way to reaching the final, is their name written on the trophy already? Logically, it’s difficult to look past this great Bayern side, but many will be cheering on Dortmund due to the ‘underdog’ effect. One thing is for sure, the 12-13 Champions League final promises to be a stunning occasion. With two outstanding teams competing for European glory, it doesn’t get much better for football enthusiasts.
A very short issue to round the season off. We will be back next season with a monthly magazine and I hope you have enjoyed the issues so fa...