German triumph at Wembley ensured

On May 25, a German club will win the Champions League of the European Football Association, UEFA, for the first time since 2001. Late on May 1, 2013, it was ascertained that two German clubs will meet in the final of the 20th UEFA Champions League season, with FC Bayern Munich encountering Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium in London. The German Football Association, DFB, can boast both finalists for the first time ever in this competition. In 2001 FC Bayern were the last DFB club to win the Champions League, while in last year’s final, at home in Munich, Bayern lost to Chelsea FC. Dortmund can also look back on a successful history in Europe’s top competition: They gained the coveted trophy in 1997.

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Thomas Mueller rejoices after FC Bayern’s 3-0 against FC Barcelona in the second semi-final leg. On his T-shirt the final at Wembley is announced. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


London won’t see the first Champions League encounter between the two opponents, who have dominated the Bundesliga this season. On March 4 and 18, 1998, they met in the quarter-finals. Dortmund went through to the semis after a goalless draw in Munich and a 2-0 win at home. But then the eight-time German champions lost to Real Madrid (0-2, 0-0). Real with coach Jupp Heynckes, now coaching Bayern Munich, defeated Juventus Turin 1-0 in the final in Amsterdam.

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Borussia Dortmund’s exaltation at the final whistle: after the 2-0 defeat at Real Madrid Lukasz Piszczek looks forward to participating in the final in London on May 25. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


In the German-Spanish 2013 semi-final encounters, the Bundesliga clubs were clear winners with a total goal tally of 11-3, although at first many experts had favoured the duo of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid from the country of the reigning World Cup and European champions. But 15 years after the above mentioned semi-final elimination against Madrid, Dortmund reached the final after a triumphant 4-1 victory in the first leg – and despite a 2-0 defeat in the second leg at Bernabeu Stadium last Tuesday (April 30). “Dortmund nail-biter with a happy end”, wrote the Austrian newspaper “Kurier”, for in the final minutes the Bundesliga runners-up were under extreme pressure from the Spanish League runners-up. Real’s great aim was to realise their dream of winning their tenth European Cup title in this event. Madrid were the first winners in the European Champions Cup in 1956, which eventually became the Champions League in the 1992-93 season.

FC Bayern could now achieve the “Treble”

“Bayern sweep off Barcelona” – that was the headline of Vienna’s “Kurier” about the encounter between the German and the Spanish champions. After the 4-0 triumph in the home leg, the Bavarians celebrated a clear 3-0 victory away over the four-time Champions League winners Barcelona. “0-7 – Battered!” read the Spanish sports paper “Marca”. Bayern, who reached their ninth final and could win the competition for the fifth time since 1974, 1975, 1976 and 2001, received much acclaim for a perfect performance. “Bayern and Dortmund are examples for Europe”, commented the German football magazine “Kicker”. English football commentaries particularly praised Munich’s achievements. “Bayern Munich's beating of Barcelona will send shockwaves around Europe”, wrote the British newspaper “The Guardian”. “In England, Italy, Spain and elsewhere there will be a fear that the Bundesliga champions are ready to rule for some time”.

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The team of FC Bayern Munich that reached the final against Dortmund at Wembley with the 3-0 win over FC Barcelona. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


FC Bayern, who ascertained their 23rd national title early in April, could now win the “Treble”, as they also play in the DFB Cup final against VfB Stuttgart in Berlin on June 1, one week after the final in London. But just three days after the semi-final in Barcelona they have to solve another interesting and precarious task, when they travel to Borussia Dortmund in the 32nd Bundesliga round on Saturday, May 4. The encounter is quite unimportant for the Bundesliga table as the outcome won’t change the clubs’ positions. And it is questionable whether the match will give any information about the balance of power on May 25, as both teams won’t play their best sides.

The Bavarians managed to get all six players who had previously been given yellow cards, and would have been suspended for the final had they received another in the second semi-final leg against Barca, through the match without a further warning. Consequently Dante, Xavi Martinez, Luis Gustavo, Philipp Lahm, Mario Gomez and Bastian Schweinsteiger may play in London. Dortmund’s great joy about the triumph against Madrid was somewhat overshadowed when Mario Goetze suffered a ruptured muscle fibre in his thigh that leaves a question mark over his playing in the final. It would be Goetze’s last match in the BVB shirt as he then moves to Bayern Munich.

Jupp Heynckes could attach a fantastic milestone to a brilliant career at Wembley. “I will turn 68 on May 8. By then I will have been in football as player and coach for 50 years. Some days you think it’s enough”, said Heynckes, thus hinting the end of his distinguished career after the 3-0 in Barcelona. Next season he will be replaced at FC Bayern by former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. Heynckes has left his own future open. But before he leaves, the former world-class striker wants to help Bayern achieve a unique triumph -- the “Treble” of Champions League, the national title and the DFB Cup, something the Bavarians have never achieved, even at the height of their powers in the 1970s with Beckenbauer, Mueller and Maier.

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Dortmund’s Ilkay Guendogan (left) and Real Madrid’s Mesut Oezil meet in a tackle. The two German internationals were born in Gelsenkirchen. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)