Saturday 22 November 2014

Clinical Bayern focus on Wembley

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Published 03/05/2013 | 05:00

Bliss quickly turned to focus for Bayern Munich as the German champions turned their attention to the Champions League final at Wembley on May 25.

Beating Barcelona 7-0 over two semi-final legs is a remarkable achievement, but it will count for nothing if they do not beat Borussia Dortmund in three weeks' time.

Merely reaching the final is nothing much for Bayern to celebrate any more. They finished as runners up in 2010 and in 2012 and that will not do for a club of Bayern's stature.

They should have won it last year, facing an inferior Chelsea side at their own ground, but didn't, so this year they must.

"It's time to win it now," said Arjen Robben – who played in the 2010 and 2012 finals. There is certainly a mood in Munich that this team is now peaking and ready to win their fifth European Cup.

"Fussball is coming home", said the front page of yesterday's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the local Bavarian newspaper. There is delight across Germany that, for the first time in a European Cup final, there will be two German teams competing.

'Die Welt' said the last two weeks gave Germany "a reason to be proud", with an editorial proclaiming "the king is dead, long live the king," after Bayern's victory over Barca.

Jupp Heynckes' side would have to win at Wembley to be recognised as the next leading European team.

Heynckes hopes that recent experiences can help Bayern in the final. "You can learn a lot more from a defeat than a victory," he said after the 3-0 win at the Nou Camp. "We have the experience of last year to fuel us in this final and I obviously hope that we can be successful. I was very disappointed after the final last season.

"But the next day we began planning the next season, and speaking with the players."

This season's team is certainly better than last year's, as is shown by their runaway title win in the Bundesliga, and one of the main reasons is the addition of Javi Martinez. The powerful Spanish midfielder was signed from Athletic Bilbao for €40m (£33.5m) and now forms Europe's strongest midfield engine room along with Bastian Schweinsteiger.

"It doesn't feel too bad, reaching my third final in the space of a year," Martinez said, referring to the Europa League final, which Bilbao lost, the Euro 2012 final, which Spain won, and now this.

Pep Guardiola – is arriving in Munich this summer, along with a certain Mario Gotze, too.

Before that, they will have to overcome Dortmund, who are still smarting from the loss of Gotze to their rivals. Ahead of tomorrow's league fixture between the two clubs which will act as a dress rehearsal for Wembley, chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke admitted relations between the two clubs have cooled in recent weeks.

"Why should we act as if everything is hunky-dory? There won't be any lunch with Bayern, just a handshake," he said. (©Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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