Rummenigge: Bayern not arrogant ahead of Champions League final

The club chairman has made it clear that the Bavarians will not underestimate Dortmund ahead of this weekend’s showpiece at Wembley

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has insisted that Bayern Munich will not get carried away ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund.

The Bavarians are by many seen as the favourites following their dominance in the Bundesliga and their impressive displays against Barcelona in the semi-finals of European club football’s elite competition, but the club’s CEO has warned that anything can happen in this weekend’s showpiece.

“Bayern have been very stable throughout the season and we have been playing some fantastic football,” he told reporters.

“We are not arrogant or pretentious heading into Saturday’s game, though. We know that this is a final and that anything can happen. We will not do anything different than in a normal game.

“Last year an English team won the final in Munich, we hope that his year a Munich team will win in England.

“I don’t think that there’s a single person in Germany who would begrudge Jupp Heynckes the Champions League title.”

Saturday’s match at Wembley kicks off at 20:45CET.

Borussia Dortmund-Bayern Munich Betting Preview: Expect fireworks from the start in all-German clash

Wembley hosts the biggest game in European football on Saturday, Hugh Wilson is backing the Bundesliga champions to come out on top and has an 11/4 value bet

German giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund meet in London on Saturday in the Champions League Final.

The two sides have been outstanding in this year’s competition, thoroughly deserving their place in the final. Although Bayern ran away with the Bundesliga title, finishing ahead of Dortmund by 25 points, this match is expected to be a close encounter with both teams recording impressive victories in the semi finals.

Bayern come into this match after destroying Barcelona over two legs. Jupp Heynckes men all but sealed their place in the final after the first leg, winning 4-0 at the Allianz Arena.

Most people expected the Bavarians to sit back in the second leg, but Bayern had other plans, winning 3-0 to win 7-0 on aggregate. Heynckes side have only lost twice in this year’s campaign, to Arsenal and BATE Borisov. Paddy Power price them at 4/5 (1.80) to win in 90 minutes.

Borussia Dortmund have surprised many in the seasons competition. Jurgen Klopp has put together a fantastic side who were not handed a friendly draw in the group stages, having to overcome Ajax, Manchester City and Real Madrid to qualify for the knockout stages.

They did this with flying colours and went on to beat Shakhtar Donetsk and Malaga in the later stages of the competition, before a first leg thrashing of Real Madrid in the semi final saw them qualify for the final.

Paddy Power price them at 7/2 (4.50) which sees them start as heavy underdogs to win the match. The same firm price the draw at 13/5 (3.60).

The outright result for Bayern to win at 4/5 (1.80) seems like a fantastic price. The Bundesliga Champions have won 50 of their 58 total games this season, including beating Dortmund in two of their four meetings this term. Heynckes men will be eager to wipe away the memory of last years final, where they lost to Chelsea on penalties after dominating the match.

For those looking for more value, both teams to score in the first half at 11/4 (3.75) with Paddy Power seems too good to ignore. Both sides will be looking to draw first blood and come out of the traps with intent.

Dortmund have managed to score in the first half in four of their last six Champions League matches, with this bet paying out in three of them.

With Munich scoring in the first half in four of their last seven Champions League matches, this bet is tough to ignore. Had you backed this when the two sides met at the start of the month, then this bet would also have paid out.

If Robert Lewandowski scores the last goal in this match, Paddy Power will refund all losing First Goalscorer, Last Goalscorer, Correct Score & Scorecast singles on the match

Sign up with Paddy Power for up to £250 in free bets and back Hugh’s selections for this match

Betting Special: Expect Muller to banish Chelsea heartbreak at Wembley

The 23-year-old has enjoyed a prolific European campaign for Bayern Munich, and Al Hain-Cole thinks that he offers exceptional value to score last against Borussia Dortmund

All eyes turn to Wembley on Saturday, as Bayern Munich take on Borussia Dortmund in European football’s showpiece game – the Champions League final.

For many of these players, this will be the biggest match of their careers, while the Bayern contingent will be particularly determined to make up for last season’s disappointment against Chelsea which saw them beaten at the Allianz Arena.

This game also offers punters in the UK the opportunity to take advantage of bet365’s in-play offer which returns for this match. Simply place a pre-match bet on any market and you will be able to place a risk-free in-play bet to the same value, up to £50.

Thomas Muller thought he had won it for die Roten when he opened the scoring with less than 10 minutes remaining at the Allianz Arena this time last year, and is his side’s top scorer in this season’s competition with eight goals in 12 games.

The 23-year-old has enjoyed the final say in five of the last 10 European ties, and therefore offers potentially lucrative value at 11/2 (6.50) with Bet 365 to score last in the big match.

Mario Mandzukic was not part of the side that collected runners-up medals last season, and is favourite at 9/2 (5.50) to open the scoring in London, despite scoring just two goals in nine Champions League fixtures.

At the other end of the pitch, Robert Lewandowski seems to offer better value at 6/1 (7.00) to score first, having hit 10 goals in Europe this season, including all four in Die Schwarzgelben’s amazing 4-1 win over Real Madrid.

The Poland striker has bagged five goals in the last six encounters with Saturday’s opponents, and with 30 goals in his last 31 starts for his club, he is not to be missed at 13/8 (2.63) to hit the back of the net once again.

With Bayern-bound Mario Gotze conveniently injured for this match, Jurgen Klopp will hope to see Marco Reus take a central role in his side’s attack, and with four European goals to his name, the 23-year-old is available at 8/1 (9.00) to open the scoring, with 9/4 (3.25) looking tempting for him to score anytime.

Although almost impregnable at times this season, Jupp Heynckes’ defence has looked slightly vulnerable from set-pieces.

This weakness was exposed on Saturday by Borussia Moenchengladbach, who scored with their first corner of the match, while two of the last three goals conceded in this competition have come via that same route.

With this in mind, fans of long shots may want to think about backing Mats Hummels to score anytime at 11/1 (12.00), as the tall centre-back showed against Shakhtar Donetsk in the first knockout round that he is a real threat in attacking situations.

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

Grosskreutz: BVB beat Bayern without Gotze before

The energetic winger has admitted that the youngster’s absence is a blow, but is still confident that BVB can emerge victorious in Saturday’s clash

Kevin Grosskreutz has stressed that Borussia Dortmund have previously shown that they can beat Bayern Munich without Mario Gotze and is optimistic about their chances of winning Saturday’s Champions League final at Wembley.

Gotze sustained a muscular problem during the semi-final loss against Real Madrid and suffered a setback in training this week, but the Germany international remains confident that his side can cause an upset and bring home the trophy.

“It’s very bitter that Mario can’t play. I feel really sorry for him, especially as he also missed last year’s DFB-Pokal final. But we should not forget that we also won that game without him,” Grosskreutz told Bild.

“We are once more the underdogs, but I don’t mind that role to be honest. I know very well what we are capable of.

“We obviously want to win the cup. That would be fantastic for us and for the fans.

“I was there when Dortmund won the Champions League in 1997 and it was an unforgettable experience.”

Saturday’s encounter at Wembley kicks off at 20:45CET.

Gotze absence points the way to Bayern glory

With the 20-year-old absent through injury, the Marco Reus will be charged with the task of stopping Javi Martinez from dictating proceedings in the middle of the park

By Jonathan Wilson

About a month before Borussia Dortmund beat Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League, their coach, Jurgen Klopp, was asked how his side had twice come out on top of games against Jose Mourinho’s team in the group stage. Easy, he replied: shut down Xabi Alonso and everything else follows.

He must have regretted being so open when Dortmund faced Madrid again, but the principle held true. Xabi Alonso is the player who sets Madrid’s rhythm: the majority of moves flow through him. So Mario Gotze harried him every time Madrid had possession and, when Dortmund got the ball, rapidly trotted off to overload on one flank or the other with Ilkay Gundogan advancing from deep in midfield to monitor Alonso.

Bayern Munich don’t play in quite the same way but their shape is similar to Madrid’s and they have a tendency to play through Javi Martinez. Logic, then, would suggest that if Gotze had been fit, he would have performed a similar role on Martinez to that he performed on his fellow Spaniard Alonso. With Gotze ruled out with a muscle injury, it seems most likely that Marco Reus will move into the centre with Kevin Grosskreutz taking his place on the left.

Gotze is also excellent at pulling wide from that central position to create triangles with the winger and full-back on the flank and that is something Reus must try to emulate, not just for the creative opportunities it offers but for what it may do in unsettling Bayern’s attacking full-backs, Philipp Lahm and David Alaba.

They will have a difficult task anyway with both sides operating with attacking full-backs and wide men who cut in – Alaba and Franck Ribery against Lukasz Piszczek and Jakub Blaszczykowski on one wing, and Lahm and Arjen Robben against Marcel Schmelzer and (probably) Grosskreutz on the other. But it will be made that much harder by the knowledge that Reus is looking to drift behind them every time they go forward.

But that’s all assuming Klopp goes with a 4-2-3-1, his usual formation. Both sides use a 4-2-3-1, both press high up the pitch and look to retrieve the ball early, and both look to dominate possession.

Their respective styles could be described as a more muscular, more aggressive form of tiki-taka. The difficulty, of course, is that both teams can’t control possession.

Bayern, who have been second to Barcelona in possession and pass completion stats for the last two seasons, adapted when they played Tito Vilanova’s side, sitting deeper and playing more on the break. Given recent form, it seems likely that Dortmund, for all their success in pressing Madrid to distraction, will be the ones who cede ground in the final.

Certainly that is the pattern of meetings between the sides this season. Dortmund did play with a 4-2-3-1 in the home draw between the teams earlier this month, but that was very much a phoney war, with the title race decided and neither coach wanting to give too much away before the Champions League final.

Far more relevant is the game before that, a DFB-Pokal match in February. Then, as in the league meeting in December, Klopp seemed to decide that meeting Bayern shape-for-shape, style-for-style would be to play into their hands. Bayern, after all, have won the title by 25 points this season; their squad is stronger and so in a straight fight they are likely to prevail.

In the cup game, Klopp used a 4-3-3, with Grosskreutz brought into midfield in place of Blaszczykowski and Gotze shifting to the right. He’d done something similar in the league game at the Allianz Arena, using Blaszczykoswki more centrally with Gotze again taking his place on the right wing. In the league game, the problem was that it left Toni Kroos free as Sven Bender tried to close down Martinez and, although Dortmund got away with a 1-1 draw, they were fortunate to do so.

In the cup clash, Dortmund were more disciplined, and noticeably more restrained in their pressing. This time Grosskreutz handled Martinez – albeit from a deeper position than Gotze would in a 4-2-3-1 – and Bender picked up Kroos. The problem then, though, was that Bastian Schweinsteiger – and Martinez to an extent – without a central creative midfielder to worry about, were able to push forward, as, surprisingly, did Dante from centre-back. Bayern controlled the first half and, although Dortmund came into the game more as they began pressing in the second, they were still fortunate only to lose 1-0.

Kroos is currently absent through injury, meaning Thomas Muller will play centrally on Saturday. His ability to find space is vital to how Bayern play, the factor that sets their fluidity in motion. Mario Mandzukic, the central striker, is not as technically gifted as his Dortmund counterpart Robert Lewandowski, but his energy is extraordinary and he will constantly be pulling wide looking to use the space behind the full-backs when they advance.

The way Robben and Ribery operate on the flanks has arguably been Jupp Heynckes’ greatest triumph this season: neither are necessarily known for their discipline but both have been persuaded to track the opposing full-back – largely because Kroos’ emergence and the signing of Xherdan Shaqiri mean there are enough options to see them dropped if they didn’t follow instructions.

So twice Klopp has tried 4-3-3 against Bayern and twice it hasn’t worked, leaving midfielders untended. Given how well the system worked against Real Madrid and given how Dortmund have had the better of clashes against Bayern (a weaker Bayern, it’s true) in recent seasons, the temptation must be to go back to a 4-2-3-1 – and that means that Reus, trying to replicate Gotze’s role, will be the key figure.

There is a strange sense of destiny behind Dortmund after their astonishing quarter-final victory over Malaga and they are certainly dangerous enough to spring an upset, but Bayern finished 25 points clear in the league and Gotze’s absence makes them even stronger favourites.