Bayern Munich muscle too strong for Dortmund
Bayern Munich train at Wembley
If we analyse rationally, Bayern Munich are Champions League favourites.
First of all, experience weighs in their favour because they have reached three of the last four Champions League finals.
Secondly, they have the edge because they have reached a point of maturity both technically and tactically.
You need players who are 28 or 29 for that. Bastian Schweinsteiger (28) is their natural leader, while Franck Ribery (30), Arjen Robben (29) and Philipp Lahm (29) also play significant roles in the team.
They have already set the standard in European football – not just with the 7-0 win against Barcelona in the semi-finals but even last year when they lost the final.
They lost that match on penalties despite having 70 per cent possession – one cannot say Chelsea played at a higher level than Bayern.
And you can see the strength of their resources – Chelsea won the Champions League with formidable players but were not able to make it back. Bayern have reached three finals in four years.
Losing that match will be a real advantage this time as they will be motivated to put it right.
On the other hand you have Borussia Dortmund, with a fast and technical counter-attacking style. They play a vertical game with enthusiasm, unpredictability and a carefree attitude. They are a hard team to play and they can definitely create a surprise.
If Dortmund were playing a foreign team, there would be no question about their ability to win. But as they are going up against a side that has dominated and shown their superiority in the Bundesliga, it’s different.
Bayern are something of an exception in German football – they have the financial power to crush their rivals, so they are not representative of the country.
Dortmund is a better example; a team that has worked to develop young players.
The problem is they cannot keep their best players. Next season Goetze will be in Munich, and maybe Lewandowski too.
Dortmund remind us that when you are a team with lesser financial power success can be fleeting before the big fishes eat you up.
It is perhaps the most regrettable aspect of modern football because next year Dortmund will not be the same side.
Rationally, Bayern should win. However, it’s a one-off match and anything can happen.
Sometimes you can plan for everything but it’s not enough. When I reached the Champions League final in 2006 with Arsenal Jens Lehmann was sent off and we had to play over 70 minutes with 10 men.
One moment of carelessness or one error can change everything – it’s the unforeseeable side of football.