BEN CLEMINSON PREVIEWS THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL AND WILLIAM CHRIMES LOOKs AT THE AVIVA PREMIERSHIP FINAL
AS FAR as the bookmakers are concerned, UEFA may as well just hand over the Champions League trophy to Bayern Munich now, as they are just 1/3 in places to win tomorrow’s final at Wembley against compatriots Borussia Dortmund.
The Bundesliga champions are a best-priced 4/5 with Paddy Power to win inside 90 minutes and it’s not hard to see why. Jupp Heynckes’ men have been absolutely superb this season, winning the league by a record margin of 25 points over Dortmund and losing just one of their 34 league games.
They shocked the footballing world with a 7-0 aggregate demolition job over Barcelona in the semi-finals but there was certainly no fluke about the way they controlled play through a dominant midfield and picked their rivals off with an outstanding attack consisting of Mario Gomez, Thomas Muller and Mario Mandzukic.
However, Munich have form for losing big finals. Indeed, no side has lost more European Cup finals than the five the Bavarians have and that includes two of the last three. They were beaten on penalties by Chelsea last term, despite bossing the game, and the 1999 final, when Manchester United rose from the dead to complete a stunning 2-1 turnaround in injury-time, was also very much against the run of play.
And Dortmund are no pushovers, as they have proved in this season’s competition. They topped a group containing three other domestic champions – Ajax, Manchester City and Real Madrid – beating all three. They might have rode their luck in seeing off Malaga and Madrid again in the knock-out stages but Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United have all been fortunate in recent years to claim this trophy and a 4-1 semi-final first leg win over Madrid was up there with Bayern’s win over Barcelona.
The 1997 winners also have a fine recent record against Munich, winning four of the last six league clashes, and they thumped them 5-2 in last season’s German Cup final.
Jurgen Klopp’s exciting team will have their supporters at 10/3 with Coral but the confirmation earlier this week that star midfielder Mario Gotze will be missing is a major blow. And what has impressed me about Munich is how utterly ruthless they have been this year.
There is a real determination in their play and they will arrive at Wembley with arguably the best defence in Europe, one that has conceded just 18 league goals, and on the back of four clean sheets in this tournament.
If they can keep Robert Lewandowski quiet then they should have the measure of Dortmund. Klopp’s side have kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 games and against a team that has won 24 of their last 26 matches, European glory looks one step too far.
I would snap up that 4/5 with Paddy Power and, considering Munich shut out Lionel Messi and co twice, they can keep another clean sheet here. Some of you might be interested in Bayern to win to nil at 11/5 with Coral but at a juicer 8/1 with the same firm, take a chance on the 2-0 correct score.
Arjen Robben has been in blinding form of late and he scored one in each leg of the semi-final. The Dutchman will be out to make a splash on what is likely to be his last game for Munich and buying his goal minutes at 18 with Sporting Index makes serious appeal.
Bayern Munich at 4/5 with Paddy Power
Munich to beat Dortmund 2-0 at 8/1 with Coral
Buy Robben’s goal minutes at 18 with Sporting Index