Sat, May 17, 2014 - Page 18 News List

‘Supremacy’ is at stake as German giants clash in final

AFP, BERLIN

Thomas Mueller admits Bayern Munich are aiming to maintain their status as Germany’s top side when the Bavarian giants clash with their main rivals Borussia Dortmund in today’s DFB Pokal final.

“This is also about supremacy in Germany, it’s about showing our rivals,” Germany star Mueller said as Bayern prepared to play Dortmund for the fourth and final time this season, with Borussia leading the Der Klassiker series 2-1.

Mueller insists Bayern start as favorites at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, but after Borussia have won eight of their final 10 matches this season, “the current trend [of results] has brought Dortmund a step closer to us.”

“We can’t allow ourselves to give away reckless turnovers. If we do, Dortmund will be just waiting to counterattack us,” he said.

Bayern are bidding to win the domestic double for the 10th time, having already secured the Bundesliga title in March with a record seven games to spare.

In contrast, Dortmund are chasing their fourth DFB Pokal final victory having finished their league campaign second to their Bavarian rivals.

There are plenty of sub-plots to the final, not least Bayern’s Germany star Mario Goetze up against his former club having been raised in Dortmund.

“It is definitely something special and emotional,” said the 21-year-old, who scored the opening goal in Bayern’s 3-0 win in Dortmund on his first return to Borussia’s Westfalenstadion in November last year.

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski will play his final match in the famous yellow-and-black jersey before joining Bayern and the 25-year-old has vowed to sign off his four years playing for Dortmund by lifting the cup.

Bayern suffered at the hands of Lewandowski in the 2011-2012 final when he netted a hat-trick in a 5-2 drubbing of the Bavarians.

Lewandowski warmed up for the final with two goals in Dortmund’s 4-0 Bundesliga win at the Olympiastadion last Saturday against Hertha BSC.

Bayern have injury worries, with Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara definitely out with torn knee ligaments, while France winger Franck Ribery (back) and Germany defensive midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee) face a race against time.

Dortmund are at near full strength, with long-term knee injury victims winger Jakub Blaszczykowski and centerback Neven Subotic missing.

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