Berlin (MunichNOW Sports / dpa) - Germany has its dream cup final Saturday when champions Bayern Munich take on league runners-up Borussia Dortmund at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. The two teams will be renewing what has become a fierce rivalry in their second major final in a year after Bayern got the better of Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley.
The match will bring the curtain down on a record-breaking season for Pep Guardiola’s Bayern, who ran away from Dortmund in the league but now found themselves seeking the consolation of the domestic double after crashing out of the Champions League to Real Madrid.
Dortmund meanwhile are hungry for cup success to cap a campaign in which Juergen Klopp’s side has shown remarkable resilience after an almost unprecedented run of injuries.
Relations between the two sides are marked by mutual respect but have become increasingly fraught. Klopp had a recent run-in with Bayern sports director Matthias Sammer, while club bosses Karl-Heinz Rummenigge of Bayern and Hans-Joachim Watzke are now on frosty terms.
Bayern’s signing of Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski from next season, following the move of midfielder Mario Götze from Dortmund to Munich a year ago, has only added to the animosity.
Both sides seem in no doubt that Saturday’s final will be fiercely fought. Germany coach Joachim Löw will be watching closely - he has 13 Bayern and Dortmund players in his provisional World Cup squad - but says he won’t mind if “sparks fly in a positive sense.”
Rummenigge told dpa Thursday he expected an “intensive and emotional” final between Germany’s top two clubs.
“I think in a positive sense it will be an advertisement for German football,” he said.
Meanwhile Sammer, clearly unhappy at the way Bayern succumbed to Real, has also called for fighting spirit from the players, saying they must be “prepared to die” for each other on the pitch
How Bayern view the season will depend on the outcome in Berlin. Winning the league in record time will prove to be of little consolation if defeat to Dortmund follows Bayern’s Champions League disappointment - although Rummenigge plays that aspect down.
“We can turn a good season into a very good one,” he said. “How can one judge the season from Borussia Dortmund’s viewpoint if they don’t win any titles?”
Bayern players will have no shortage of motivation. They were thrashed 5-2 by Dortmund - with Lewandowski scoring a hat-trick - in the 2012 final, and were beaten 3-0 in a recent home game.
Bayern did, however knock Dortmund out the following season on their way to their 16th cup title, when they beat Stuttgart in the final, and were 2-1 winners over Dortmund in the Champions League final
Goetze, for one, will be looking forward to playing against his old club in his first major final.
The 21-year-old missed the Champions League final through injury in what would have been his last game for Dortmund amid a storm of criticism from fans who were stunned by his move to Bayern for 37 million euros (50 million dollars).
Dortmund are receiving nothing for Poland striker Lewandowski, who will say farewell at the end of his contract after four years at the club and at the end of a season in which he topped the league goalscoring charts.
But Lewandowski says he won’t be thinking of Bayern, vows to give his all for Dortmund in his farewell match and promises “fireworks” in the Olympic stadium.