Football

Bayern and Dortmund ready for final showdown

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Bayern will hope they can buck recent trends (©GettyImages)
Bayern will hope they can buck recent trends (©GettyImages).

This Saturday German football fans will look to Berlin and the Olympiastadion as Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund take on Bayern Munich in the final of the German Cup.

The DFB Pokal is the final chance for Bayern to topple their newly crowned rivals, but Dortmund have had a hoodoo over them in recent times.

Jupp Heynckes side have been unable to cope with the champions for the last four meetings and, despite their Champions League successes, have not looked particularly close to deviating form this pattern.

The historic stadium is a fitting venue for what should be an intriguing contest and a chance for Bayern to exact some form of revenge by denying BVB a league and cup double.

It is exciting that the final should be contested by the two best teams in the league and makes it a mouth-watering prospect as the curtain lowers on another highly entertaining season in German domestic football.

Dortmund’s domestic dominance over the past couple of years has not stretched to the German FA’s annual competition; in fact, they have not won it since 1989 and will be keen to add to their tally of two.

Bayern, meanwhile, have an illustrious history in the cup, winning it a record 15 times and five of those victories have come in the past ten years.

Maybe their heritage of success will go some way to helping them do what they seem unable to in the Bundesliga these past two seasons and overturn Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Heynckes has also had some emphatic recent success in the capital – his side thrashed hapless Hertha Berlin 6-0 in March.

However, their four straight defeats against Dortmund leads one towards backing the champions to prevail once more, as Bayern have already shown to be incapable of stopping their rivals charge to the title.

The two battled it out last month in what was effectively the Bundesliga decider; Klopp’s team were victorious with a single goal from their top scorer Robert Lewandowski.

Bayern winger Arjen Robben missing a late penalty and an open goal in stoppage time only added to the suspicion that they have a mental block when it comes to Dortmund.

It is obviously more than just a Munich neurosis affecting the outcome when the sides meet; Dortmund’s consecutive title triumphs are about their youthful brilliance and the wins over Bayern have helped illustrate the dominance of Klopp’s team.

BVB will hope they can add to what has been a fantastic second half of the season, surging to the Bundesliga title after an initially uncertain start to the campaign.

Champions League participation has been touted as a possible reason behind them failing to really get going in the early stages of the campaign. Whatever it was, they managed to lose three of their opening six league matches.

Eventually, however, Klopp’s tactics began to take hold again and the players resumed the roles of last season, going about winning convincingly in their familiarly high-tempo manner.

The loss away to Hannover 96 in mid-September was their last of the season and they began the hunt to catch Munich, who had set off at a fantastic pace.

Following a disappointing loss to the surprising newcomers Borussia Monchengladbach in the season opener, they went on a run of six straight wins and scored 21 goals without conceding one.

In fact, since that opening day 1-0 reverse, they did not concede a goal in the league for over two months.

Their good form took them to top of the league when the it entered the winter break in mid-December, but it was the resumption of the competition that brought their ultimately decisive stumble.

After only winning three of seven once the season restarted, they ceded top spot to Dortmund, who stayed there until they were confirmed winners once more.

They quality Bayern showed to reach the Champions League final has belied the inferiority they have suffered in the Bundesliga.

They probably stand a better chance of becoming European champions than they do finding success at home – BVB have the upper hand and it will be theirs to lose.

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