Before the preview, I just want to say, it was extremely disappointing and sad to see the Madridista holding up Juanito banners and scarves during the game. For those who don’t know Juanito did this against Bayern . Very class-less from a club of Real’s history and stature.
Preview: Bayern fans are still gloating from the semi-final win against mighty Real Madrid. What a dramatic night it was at the Bernabeu, with the match decided on penalty shoot-out. I believe everyone agrees that Bayern were the deserved winners of the tie and did enough to play the final at home, Allianz Arena, on the 19th of May. A lot has been written on how the underdogs, both Chelsea and Bayern, reached the finals on the expense of 2 of the biggest clubs in the world, Real and Barcelona. Almost every journalist wrote how the fact that Bayern weren’t in the title hunt and rested players was decisive in their 2nd leg against Real. It’s interesting to note here that, though it is true that Bayern weren’t in the title at that point, however, Bayern were in the title till a week before. And the margin was so small (one spot kick from Robben) that if things had gone just slightly differently Bayern would’ve been in shout for a treble. It is unfair to say that, Bayern had it easy this season and they focused only on the Champions League and forgot about the league. Also, worth noting, Bayern are in the final for the DfB Pokal as well which they will contest a week before the Champions League final. Hence, Jose Mourinho crying about the fact that Bayern weren’t competing for the title was the reason they won is a little misplaced.
Moving on to this week’s game, Bayern are hosting Stuttgart, with whom they had a fierce rivalary a few years ago. It’s difficult to imagine Stuttgart won the title 5 years ago and almost bagged the League and Cup double; falling short by a single goal in the final. Now they are contesting for a place in the Europa League, 2nd tier competition in Europe. Such is the nature and open-ness of Bundesliga that there have been 5 different champions in the last decade. Every champion has found it extremely difficult to repeat its success the following year. Unlike other leagues, which are often said to be the most exciting in the world, i.e. English and Spanish, who have only seen 3 different teams share the title in the last decade. And in both these leagues there has been 1 team thoroughly dominating the rest. In England, Manchester United have bagged the title 5 times in the last decade and likewise in Spain Barcelona have won it 5 times in last decade. Not only the title, but in both these leagues only a handful of teams have consistently finished in the top places. Meanwhile, in Germany, not only have there been new champions more often, the top spots have been taken by a host of different teams. Giants Bayern Munich have even spent a year in the 2nd tier Europa League (UEFA Cup).
At this point of the season, Bayern are guaranteed the 2nd place and title has already gone to Dortmund. Hence, we will expect a second string team from Bayern. With an exhausting 120 minutes of football on Wednesday night, all of the squad involved deserves a rest. I won’t be surprised if even Manuel Neuer gets a rest in this game. Bayern only have 2 important games left this season. Both finals which they will play a week from each other in May, could define Bayern’s season. It is very possible that Bayern return empty handed from both games.
Team News: Even though, there are no injury concerns for Bayern for this game, I don’t expect any first team player to be involved in this game. It has no consequences to Bayern season at all, so a completely new team will be seen at the Allianz Arena. This may be a good opportunity for some fringe players to cement their places for the next season. Bayern do have a few ex-Stuttgart players in Lahm and Gomez, both of whom may not feature at all.
Prediction: Bayern have won 5 consecutive games against Stuttgart but with a weakened team and nothing to fight for Stuttgart will try to take full advantage of this. I expect this to be a scored draw, 1-1
- One in, one out for Bayern (skysports.com)
- Bayern shoot Real out‚ face Chelsea in final (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Bayern join Chelsea in Champions League final (rt.com)
- VIDEO: Bastian Schweinsteiger Sends Bayern Munich Home For Champions League Final (sbnation.com)