German Cup Final Preview - FC Bayern vs Borussia Dortmund
FC Bayern München vs Borussia Dortmund - Saturday 21st May, 20:00 CET
Despite knocking out Bayern in last years semi final, Dortmund were unable to go on and claim the trophy, limping to a 3-1 defeat against Wolfsburg in Jürgen Klopp's 3rd of now five consecutive final losses, and that in his final game as trainer of BVB. Pep Guardiola will be hoping to avoid a similar fate in his final game in charge of Bayern, and in the process seal his 2nd "Double" triumph in 3 years after celebrating his 3rd and Bayern's 4th consecutive title triumph on Saturday last week.
His opposite number Thomas Tuchel has enjoyed a very successful first season in charge of Dortmund. A record points tally for a team finishing second and progression to the Quarter Finals of the Europa league were both impressive achievements, but one cannot help but wonder what might have been, especially in the Europa league as BVB were stunned by the Liverpool comeback. In the league they ultimately finished 10 points adrift after dropping 5 points in the last 2 games, perhaps influenced by the uncertainty surrounding Mats Hummels. It has since been announced that Hummels will join Bayern, yet again the best Dortmund player poached (for a hefty sum) by the Bavarian powerhouse. He received boos from the home fans against Köln last week and will be desperate to prove he has given 100% before moving. Expect either a comedy cock up or a man of the match performance!
Team News and Possible formations
Both sides have a few injury problems still hanging around. For Bayern, Robben and Badstuber are very unlikely to play after long term injuries, as well as Javi Martinez who picked up an Achilles injury. Xabi Alonso is about 75% likely after taking part in team training yesterday. Arturo Vidal has shaken off a nasty virus that forced him to miss the final game of the season and the celebrations.
Dortmund will have to make do without Ilkay Gundogan who has a dislocated kneecap (OUCH!) and Subotic
Here are my predicted line ups for both sides based on what they have been playing the last few weeks.
Lahm, Benatia (or Kimmich), Boateng, Alaba
Vidal, Alonso (Kimmich if he doesn't make it)
Costa, Müller, Ribery
Piszczek, Hummels, Sokratis, Schmelzer
Bender, Weigl, Kagawa (Either Bender or Kagawa might be replaced by Castro)
Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Reus
I don't think there are any real surprises to be had here. Dortmund will start slightly more defensively and look to hit on the break as is their style. Bayern will be possession based and hunt a way through. A fascinating duel as it always is.
Head to head 2015/2016
Bayern had clearly the better of the head to heads in 2015/16, thumping Dortmund at the Allianz Arena 5:1 with 2 goals apiece for Müller and Lewandowski. In the return Dortmund were overrun but managed to hold out for a 0:0 draw with a very disciplined defensive show.
Heart says Dortmund. I am after all a fan. They will be very motivated and hoping to ruin Pep's farewell. Head says Bayern will be far too strong. However I think it might go to Extra Time and penalties. From there, as the cliche goes, it's anyone's game!
Sticking my neck out (and grudgingly) Bayern win.