News Column

Munich Confident Ahead of Borussia Dortmund Match

May 24, 2013

John Bagratuni, dpa

Mats Hummels is fit to play and Mario Goetze's absence in the Champions League final against a full-strength Bayern Munich side on Saturday is no major disaster for Borussia Dortmund, club officials said.

Munich and Dortmund arrived Friday amid cold and wet conditions for the Wembley final, and Hummels' confirmed fitness after an injury scare last weekend was the only major team news ahead of the biggest day for German club football.

Both camps exuded confidence during their final news conference at the iconic arena, where they also held short training sessions.

But there is little doubt that Bayern will face more pressure, having lost the tournament's 2010 and 2012 finals.

Germany defender Hummels injured his ankle in the Bundesliga season finale on Saturday but is now ready for action.

"Thankfully I was lucky. The foot isn't like it was before but it is acceptable to play. I hope to get through training and then there should be no reason why I shouldn't play," he said.

Hummels' absence would have been the second blow for the club after playmaker Mario Goetze succumbed to a thigh muscle injury sustained in the semi-finals against Madrid.

But coach Juergen Klopp insisted he had long been making his plans without Goetze, who is to play for Munich next season.

"We had hopes and tried everything, but it would have been a surprise (if Goetze were to play). We were prepared (for the fact) that he wouldn't be playing," Klopp said.

Pundits noted that Dortmund had thrashed Munich 5-2 in last season's German cup final, in which Goetze also didn't play.

Bayern are equally confident, however, having stormed to the latest Bundesliga title in record-breaking fashion, 25 points ahead of Dortmund. They are also rated the favourites to win Saturday's game, and will be keen to make up for the lost deciders of 2010 and 2012.

"We have done extraordinary things in the Bundesliga. You can say it is the best performance of a team in league history. We have the ambition to continue like this in the Champions League final and a week later in the German cup final," Munich coach Jupp Heynckes said.

"I hope the football gods are with us," Heynckes said, referring to the disappointment of losing last year's final in their home stadium on penalties against Chelsea.

He also said that older Munich players like captain Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery finally deserve a big international title from their generational battle against Juergen Klopp's young Dortmund side.

"We have a generation which is a little older. It would crown their career to win here against another German team," said Heynckes, who won the Champions League in 1998 with Real Madrid and gives way to former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola after the season.

Bayern thrashed mighty Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals, and Lahm underlined that "we have developed further, defensively, and we have the offensive quality to strike."

Attacking midfielder Thomas Mueller, who has scored eight times in the European campaign, added: "I can't say we have a weakness. We have had many clean sheets. I have a good feeling for tomorrow."

But rich Munich will face no pushover in Dortmund, which almost went bankrupt in 2005.

"We can't have Munich's philosophy. It is not our aim to be at the same level as Bayern. But we can pull Bayern down to our level and beat them," Klopp said.

According to Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl, it will be episodes that will decide a game that is being played by two teams who know each other inside out.

"The game will be decided by little things, like dead ball situations, little mistakes. There will be no major surprises. Maybe the team with the biggest courage will win," Kehl said.

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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