Dortmund v Bayern – An Early Look At The Champions League Final

The countdown is on to the first ever All-German Champions League final so Raymond Doyle of FootballTips.com outlines the expected line-ups ahead of the Wembley showdown:

Bayern Munich

Goalkeeper – Manuel Neuer

The German and Bayern number one has played in all 12 Champions League games this season conceding just 10 goals on the way to the final. Incredibly, the Bundesliga champions have conceded only four goals away from home in the domestic league on the way to another championship. Neuer is well regarded as one of the very best keepers in world football.

 

Right Back – Philipp Lahm

Club captain and arguably the best right back in the world at the minute. Lahm has played in 11 games in the Champions League this season with an impressive four assists on route to the final. The 29-year-old will be expected to overlap down the right side to produce crosses for the likes of Mario Mandžukić or Mario Gomez.

 

Left Back – David Alaba

Austria’s youngest international, Alaba has been converted from a midfield role to left back by coach Jupp Heynckes who described Alaba as the “next Lizarazu”. The 20-year-old has already scored twice in the competition – including a crucial opener against Juventus – as well as two assists.

 

Centre Back – Dante

The Brazilian international has been outstanding for Munich this season in arguably the best defence in Europe. Dante has played all but one of Bayern’s 12 games this season in the Champions League following his summer move from Borussia Mönchengladbach. Fully expect the 29 year-old to man mark Dortmund’s danger man Robert Lewandowski.

 

Centre Back – Jérôme Boateng

First real decision for Heynckes to make for the final. Go with Boateng or the veteran Daniel Van Buyten? Boateng has started eight games for Munich in the competition to date as well as the last three so he will get the selection should he be fit on May 25th.

 

Right Wing – Arjen Robben

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid winger has started all six of Bayern’s knockout matches this season scoring once in both legs against Barcelona in the semi-final. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of Robben’s performance against the Spanish giants was his work-rate up and down the right side. The same will be needed against Dortmund at Wembley.

 

Left Wing – Franck Ribéry

Ribéry has missed only one game on route to London – a second leg tie against Arsenal – due to injury. The French international has been crucial to Bayern’s success with four assists in those 11 games. Heynckes’ only concern with Ribery may be his lack of goals in the tournament (only one goal this season).

 

Defensive midfielder – Javi Martinez

When Bayern paid the record fee of €40 million for Martinez last summer, many pundits were unsure where they were getting value for money. However the Spaniard has been in sensational form for the Germans throughout the Bundesliga as well as the Champions League. His performance against Barcelona’s midfielder trio of Andrés Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets in the first leg in Munich stood out as one of the performances of the season.

 

Centre Midfield – Bastian Schweinsteiger

A veteran of this Bayern side at only 28 years of age. Schweinsteiger has consistently been one of the best midfield players in Europe over the last five years and is key to Bayern success in the tournament to date. Missed one of the penalties in last year’s final against Chelsea so will be keen to make amends at Wembley.

 

Attacking Midfielder – Thomas Müller

Muller is Bayern’s top scorer in the tournament with eight goals to his name, including three in the semi-final demolition of Barcelona. The German international looked to have given Bayern the European Cup last May with his late goal only for Didier Drogba to break the German’s hearts. Could well be the match winner for Munich at Wembley.

 

Striker – Mario Mandzukic

The final decision Heynckes will have to make will be between Mandzukic and Mario Gomez. Mandzukic missed the 4-0 home victory over Barca in the semi-final where Gomez scored, but it is expected that the Croatian international will get the starting position. 19 goals in 37 games for club and country this debut season for Mandzukic. Could well be on the score sheet in the final.

 

Borussia Dortmund

Goalkeeper – Roman Weidenfeller

Weidenfeller has been an ever present for Dortmund this season in the Champions League. The German has conceded only 12 goals in 12 games as well as four clean sheets during the club’s journey to the final.

 

Right Back – Lukasz Piszczek

The Polish right back has played over 40 games for club and country this season and will be well aware of the challenge Bayern will bring at Wembley. Piszczek will likely be up against Franck Ribéry in the final and may need the help of Jakub Błaszczykowski to keep both Ribéry and David Alaba at bay on the night.

 

Centre Back – Neven Subotic

The Serbian international has played in 10 of Dortmund’s 12 games in the Champions League this season. Subotic along with Hummels put in a fantastic display of defending for 85 minutes against Real Madrid in the second leg in the Bernabeu only to concede two late goals. Subotic may well be given the job to mark Mandzukic in the final.

 

Centre Back – Mats Hummels

The 24-year-old German international will be facing his former club when Dortmund clash with Bayern at Wembley. Hummels almost cost Dortmund a place in the final when his poor back pass in the semi-final allowed Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo to score. However the brilliance of Lewandowski saved his blushes.

 

Left Back – Marcel Schmelzer

The German international has been an ever present in the Dortmund team as they qualified for their first Champions League final since 1997. Schmelzer has played every minute of all 12 games and will be given the task of keeping in-form Arjen Robben quiet when the two clash at Wembley. Has already scored a crucial goal in the group stages against Real Madrid and would love to add to that tally against Bayern.

 

Defensive Midfielder – Sven Bender

One of the clashes we are really looking forward to is between Bender and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Bender will have to prevent the Bayern star from running the game alongside İlkay Gundogan. Bender has played in 10 of the 12 Champions League games this season as well as in all six knockout games.

 

Central Midfielder – İlkay Gundogan

Gundogan has been in impressive form for both club and country this season. His partnership with Bender will be crucial for Dortmund as they aim to win the European Cup for only the second time in their history. The German has yet to score in the Champions League but has scored four times this season including two last month against Greuther Furth.

 

Right Wing – Jakub Błaszczykowski

The experienced Polish international has been at Dortmund since 2007 and will be a huge goal threat for the Germans in the final. Błaszczykowski has scored 14 goals for club and country this season including four goals in the first five games of the season.

 

Attacking Midfielder – Mario Gotze

Much of the talk in the build-up to the final will be about Mario Gotze. The midfielder who will join Bayern in the summer is in a race against time to be fit for the match having picked up a suspected thigh strain against Real Madrid in the semi-final. Will the Dortmund fans even want the German international to play?

 

Attacking Midfielder – Marco Reus

Should Gotze fail to recover from injury expect Reus to take up a more central attaching role behind Lewandowski. Reus was in sensational form against Real Madrid especially in the first leg and will have Javi Martinez as a shadow for the final. The German international has already scored four goals in the tournament so far.

 

Striker – Robert Lewandowski

The Polish international is the second top scorer in the tournament with 10 goals from his 12 games – including that stunning four goal display against Real Madrid in the semi-final. Many people expecting this to be Lewandowski’s final game for the club so can he produce the perfect goodbye with the match winner?

 

Written by Raymond Doyle from FootballTips.com. Follow @livefootball on Twitter.

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