Escorp's Pre-Match Analysis!
Champions League Final - Borussia Dortmund v/s FC Bayern München
Wembley Stadium - London 25/05/2013 - 20:45CET (19:45 local time)
Final 2013 Preview
Well, the day has come! Wembley 25th May! The Champions League final...between the 2 greatest German teams and also, the strongest team of the most prestigious World Football tournament. This is the first time that two German clubs have reached the UEFA Champions League final. And oh the irony that they'll be playing that final on British shores.
I'll start this analysis by first talking on both team's Road to the Final respectively.
Bayern started the CL campaign after their major disillusion in the lost CL final against a resolute Chelsea side at their very own Allianz Arena. Given an explosive league start, retribution became the key mantra in all competitions for Bayern. Pitted in a group consisting of Valencia, BATE & Lille, they topped their group on goal difference ahead of Valencia CF. While this may not sound much of an unstoppable debut, their squads clearly had a top composure and some of their big victories at Home against Lille & BATE were impressive performances. One of their upsets though, was the surprise defeat to BATE, that at the end were without consequences. Pitted against Arsenal in R-16, they impressed with a magisterial 1-3 win at Emirates Stadium. However, they limped in the return match by conceding defeat 0-2. While they were through to face Juventus, this defeat reminded the football world that Bayern's demons may not have vanquished completely. On a bad day like against Bate or Arsenal, they may crumble. But cynics were shut down soon... 1 bravura double victories at Juve impressed but what sent shockwaves was a 7-0 spanking of Barcelona - a team that was so used to glory and that Bayern decimated & annihilated. This (4-0/3-0) double win felt clearly like a change of power and that Bayern was now the best team in the world.
On the other hand, Dortmund graced this CL campaign. Last year, they were outrun easily in group stages due to lack of experience. However, there are battles lost that help in the future and that was one. With more confidence helmed by their genius rockstar coach - Jurgen Klopp, Dortmund were in this CL this time to make an impact. And impact, they did and even did so, in the Group of Death where heavyweights like R.Madrid, Man.City, Ajax were contenders. Not only they topped that tough group undefeated (4 wins, 2 draws, 14 points) but they can even consider themselves unlucky on not grabbing a perfect 18 point-haul. Indeed, had there not been a late Ozil freekick or a fiery goalkeeping statement by Joe Hart, Dortmund can be said to have dominate this Group of Death from head to toe; more than proving their credentials. In R-16, they won 5-2 (agg.) after a nearly-perfect home performance. A home stadium that has not only been one of the best stadiums with one of the best supporters but also one where the one of the most impossible CL win occurred. After a 0-0 draw against Malaga in last-8, they were 1-2 down and bidding farewell to the CL. Then, in last 3 minutes of additional time, Dortmund added 2 quickfire goals that defied logic, stunned Malaga and sent the ever-hot crowd into frenzy. And that frenziness were on show against Real Madrid who were in the Semi-final for 3rd time in a row. Lewandowski with a 4-goal blasting performance stumped a dominant victory for BVB. In the return-leg, they delivered a strong showing for 60 minutes but didn't score. They, then resisted painfully a Los Blancos comeback, and BVB squeezed through to Wembley Express on a 4-3 agg. win.
Well, on paper, Bayern are strong-on favorites.
- They produced a near-perfect performance against Barcelona.
- They dominated the Bundesliga; squashing many demons & reconquering it from BVB by having 25-point lead over their main rivals.
- They also managed victories in cups over BVB after many upsets of last season.
- They have conceded a meager 18 goals; that less than half of what BVB conceded in the league.
- They are on course for a majestic treble and got a stronger squad with some excellent additions.
- And they have equaled the 3 finals in 4 years statistic, held by ManUtd. Speaking of which, in past 6 years, either ManU or Bayern always made it to final. But that's another story.
So, invincible Bayern? Not really...
Bayern's defeat against Bate/Arsenal prove that, no matter how strong the team is, the shield do got a chink in it on an awful day. Besides, many motivational factors for Bayern could turn into psychologically disturbing factors. The pressuring idea of a treble, the heavily pressuring favorites-tag, the pressure of avenging last year's humiliation, the oppressing vision of constantly seeing the yellow army as last wall to pass, the emotional pressure of giving their coach a winning send-off, the pressure of seeing Bayern-bound Gotze "injured", the pressuring prospect of having a near-complete squad returning meaning that they'll have excuse for defeat ect...Pressure, pressure, pressure - such a huge load for Die Roten and perhaps a bigger foe to Bayern than Dortmund! Bayern got so many things going for them, that when blending all these elements, the mixture might turn sour.
Besides, BVB got certain things going for them too, incensing their chances. They are undefeated for past 6 league games against Bayern, they came steel-strengthened after the numerous victorious battles on their Road to Wembley and they are the team that probably got the best compatibility to counter Bayern. With their pleasant football style, their strong defence, a team where teamwork is not only idolized but preached and with Klopp, BVB can fancy their chances. Not having a star-man like Gotze can also be a blessing in disguise. In a match where he could have been booed and delivering a sub-dued performance, Dortmund now can play a player with 100% capacity both physically and mentally - even if it's less talented that Gotze.
Overall, I expected a match with lots of intensity where Bayern will eventually be the team doing the attacking honors using its wingers & full-backs as strongest weapons, with Dortmund trying to operate on counters and execute a plan devised by Klopp. Reus will be the key man for Dortmund, in absence of Gotze and departure of Kagawa. The constant roaming of Kagawa between the 2 defensive mid; followed by quick-fire passing were how Dortmund crushed Bayern in DFB Pokal final last year. It's mostly going to be Reus' responsibility to do this task tonight since those 2 are gone. But also, that plan will clearly have even less efficiency given Martinez's addition over last season. A master of interception - and what if this final outcome was decided since last summer's transfer market where Kagawa (OUT) & J.Martinez (IN) shifted power play between the 2 sides...
As for the score, I'm a bad predictor, so I won't give one. However, the match scoring can go either way...One would be a small-margin victory (1-0/0-0/1-1) and perhaps penalties since both teams know each other. This was proven in the last 2 finals between 2 teams from same country (Chelsea/United & Juve/Milan) where victory was decided on shootouts. Another scoring trend would be a goalfest given both teams' potent attack. It could be a (3-0, 4-0, 4-1) scenario but that would be something that I only see Bayern capable of achieving. Personally, I don't foresee a Dortmund big-margin victory tonight. We could also see a tight goal-fest scenario (2-2 or 3-2) where either teams could prevail ultimately and perhaps even on ET or PKs. Personally, I'd put my bet on the latter scenario somewhat but we shall see...
And @Mikey: Kroos most likely won't start since he just returned. And I don't think Gomez will play. Most likely Mandzukic leading Bayern's attack.