Sunday 21 January 2018 / 03:38 PM

Which German Giant Will Rule Wembly

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund line-up at Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening for arguably one of the most anticipated Champions League finals in recent times.

2003 was the last occasion that two clubs from the same country clashed in the showpiece with AC Milan running out spot kick winners over Juventus after a dismal, goalless 120 minutes at Old Trafford.

This year’s showdown between the two heavyweights of German football looks set to be a different story however considering how exciting and impressive both sides have been en route to the final.

And the passionate rivalry shared by the clubs should add further spice to a match which will boast a number of the greatest players currently on the planet.

Unfortunately for Dortmund, one of their key players, Mario Gotze, will miss the game after failing to recover from a hamstring injury incurred against Hoffenheim in the final weekend of Bundesliga.

His absence may work to their advantage however due to the midfielder’s impending transfer to Bayern at the end of the campaign which left many questioning whether or not the 20-year-old would be fully committed to the Dortmund cause in London.

Lynchpin Kevin Grosskreutz is likely to deputise for Gotze and may well add the required stability to prevent the Black Yellows from being overrun in the centre of the field by Messrs Schweinsteiger and Martinez who instigated the mesmeric downfall of Barcelona in the semis.

Munich go into the final as obvious favourites following their 7-0 aggregate demolition of the Spanish champions and they will indeed be hard to stop if able to replicate the kind of performance demonstrated time and time again this season both in Europe and domestically where they cruised to the Bundesliga title by a whopping 25 points.

Dortmund were clearly left trailing in their wake however they managed to hold their own with the Bavarians during both league matches drawing 1-1 at the Allianz Arena in December before a repeat of the same result just three weeks ago at Signal Iduna Park.

And there is no doubt that Jurgen Klopp’s men have really excelled in this season’s competition – even beyond their own high expectations.

Their defeat of Real Madrid in the semi-finals may not have been quite as smooth or emphatic as Munich’s triumph over Barca; nevertheless it did prove that they have a top European pedigree and enough bottle to cope under pressure on the big stage.

Dortmund were massive underdogs against Juventus in 1997 when they upset the odds to lift the trophy and will believe that they can repeat that success with a team which is more than equal to their class of sixteen years ago.

Bayern are evidently just as motivated and will want to start quickly on the front foot in order to dominate as they have done so well throughout the tournament.

The first 20 minutes will be crucial but if Dortmund can weather the early storm and block out the likes of Ribery and Robben, they unquestionably hold a chance of pushing Bayern all the way and potentially even causing a shock as they are always capable of scoring with the formidable Robert Lewandowski leading the attack.


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Chris Kisby

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