Bayern Munich out to restore broken pride with two finals in a week
“When you’re eight points ahead at the top of the league and fail to win the title, it’s obviously disappointing. It shouldn’t happen to FC Bayern München.”
Bastian Schweinsteiger’s words, it is all too easy to note, would ring equally true if he were a Manchester United player. Perhaps Sir Alex Ferguson can find some solace in the knowledge that his is not the only dominant domestic power to have shot itself in the foot this season.
Unlike United, though, Schweinsteiger and Bayern have a chance at redemption. Two, in fact. A second consecutive title for Borussia Dortmund may have temporarily turned the Weißbier sour in Munich, but with two major Cup Finals in the space of a week, Jupp Heynckes’ side are ready to start celebrating again.
Tomorrow evening will present them with their first opportunity to do so, with the DFB Pokal Final against none other than their recent bogey team Borussia Dortmund. Far from being a warm up game for the Chelsea game, this Final in Berlin is as significant a game as Bayern have played this year. A chance to reassert themselves domestically against a Dortmund side who have made a habit of embarrassing them in recent years.
“We’ve lost to them four times in a row, so we’ve definitely got a bit of fire in our bellies,” said Thomas Müller this week, “we want them to know that it’s not going to last for the next five years.”
His captain, Phillipp Lahm, echoed the sentiment with a similar appeal to Bayern’s unassailable sense of superiority: “We want to show them what the current situation is in German football, and walk away with another title to our name.”
Dortmund have not only beaten Bayern four times in succession, they have also gone 28 games unbeaten – including 25 victories – and denied Bayern the title for two consecutive years for the first time since the mid 90s. The verbal jabs of Müller and Lahm, though, are undoubtedly meant as a stark reminder as to which of these two clubs is “Rekordmeister”, and why. On Saturday, BVB will be looking to win the first domestic double in their club’s history. Bayern have won five in the last ten years.
It is this phenomenal record, and the expectations attached to it, which have sparked the fire in the bellies of Müller and his team mates. Dortmund have demonstrated somewhat emphatically in the last two years that the age of Bavarian complacency, if it ever existed, is coming to an end. The famed Bavarian determination, however, is showing no signs of dying. ”
There is, of course, no doubt as to which of these two finals Bayern fans would rather lose if they were forced to choose between the two. Even domestic pride assumes secondary importance compared to the opportunity to become European Champions on home turf. But as Schweinsteiger points out: “It’s always a good feeling to go into the next game on the back of a win.”
There is some concern in Germany that Bayern do not become guilty of underestimating Chelsea ahead of this month’s Champions League Final. Those in West London should be equally wary of making the same mistake. After nearly two years without getting their hands on a trophy, Bayern’s notoriously swollen pride has been gravely wounded. Now they are out to restore it.Tagged in: bayern munich, borussia dortmund, Bundesliga, Champions League, chelsea, DFB Pokal Final, football
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