Tonight's Key Battles
A look at some of the contests which could decide the destiny of the Champions League title today:
Mandzukic vs Neven Subotic
Croatian hitman Mario Mandzukic has plundered 20 goals for Bayern this season, but has managed only two in the Champions League, where strike partner Thomas Muller has chalked up eight. Mandzukic will be out to spearhead Munich’s formidable frontline, which also includes widemen Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, at Wembley, but faces a tough adversary in Serbia international Neven Subotic. Standing alongside former Bayern player Mats Hummels, the 24-year-old has developed into one of the most impressive defenders in German football.
Dante vs Robert Lewandowski
Signed from Borussia Monchengladbach last summer, Brazilian Dante wasted little time in establishing himself as a key member of a miserly Bayern backline that has conceded just 15 goals in 33 Bundesliga matches so far this season — 21 goals less than the next-best defence in the division — and equalled a club-record of 20 league clean sheets.
The left-footed defender will need to show all of his composure to help shackle Poland forward Lewandowski, who crashed in all four goals to sink Real Madrid in their semi-final first leg at the Westfalenstadion.
Man To Mark
Previously prolific in Poland with Lech Poznan, Lewandowski is now one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe, having scored a total of 35 goals for Borussia this season.
He also netted in 12 consecutive Bundesliga games — a new club record. His tally of 13 assists this season proves that he is not simply a poacher.
Having scored 22 goals in all competitions for Bayern Munich, Muller is the club’s leading marksman this season. Muller will be looking to score and lead his side to the title tonight after featuring in two Champions League final defeats in the last four years. If he scores tonight, he will become one of only four players to have scored in two Champions League finals.
When They Last Met
In The Bundesliga
Earlier this month, when Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund took on each other at the Westfalenstadion in an inconsequential Bundesliga clash, Kevin Grosskreutz’s opener was cancelled out by a Mario Gomez strike.
The match ended 1-1 but not before Robert Lewandowski saw a penalty saved from Manuel Neuer and Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp having a fiery confrontation with Bayern’s director of sport Matthias Sammer.
Bayern Munich’s last win against Borussia in the Bundesliga came back in Feb 2010. Since then, the Dortmund club has beaten Bayern four times while the two have drawn twice.
In The Champions League
While Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund play each other at least twice every season, by virtue of plying their trade in the same league, they have only met each other once in the past in the Champions League. In the 1997-98 season, Dortmund beat Bayern 1-0 (over two legs) in the quarter-final stage.
Did you know?
In 2010, when Robert Lewandowski was still a Lech Poznan player, then Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce had invited the striker for a trial. However, he never made it to England after volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajoekull grounded flights in Europe. Lewandowski ended up signing for Borussia Dortmund
In 2003/2004, when Borussia Dortmund were in financial turmoil (even being unable to pay players’ salaries), it was Bayern Munich which loaned Dortmund 2 million euros
THIS IS THE THIRD TIME BAYERN HAVE MADE IT TO THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS. Bayern lost to Chelsea on penalties 12 months ago, and also to Inter Milan in 2010
21 out of 23 goals that dortmund have scored in this season’s champions league have come from inside the box
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