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Unique atmosphere

All set for Berlin, the 'German Wembley'

It came as little surprise when the German FA (DFB) announced at a news conference on 20 April that the contract to stage the German men’s cup final at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin had been extended to 2015. “The DFB Cup final is a huge sporting event in Germany. It’s been the highlight in Berlin for many years, and like the FA Cup final at Wembley in London, it’s no longer imaginable away from the capital,” said Berlin FA President Bernd Schultz.

The German cup final has taken place in Berlin since 1985. Players, coaches and fans who’ve experienced it once continually seek a way back. “The atmosphere in Berlin is unique, it’s the German Wembley,” declared FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. He never featured in a Berlin final as a player, but Saturday’s meeting with Werder Bremen will be his eighth as an official at the club.

“Attending the final in Berlin is very special,” agreed Werder CEO Klaus Allofs. Bremen have won the cup six times and lie second behind Bayern (14 victories) in the all-time chart. Five of Werder’s triumphs came at the German Wembley, including a penalty victory against Munich in 1999. FCB avenged the defeat by a clear-cut 3-0 scoreline a year later.

The key to the final’s appeal is that it is on neutral territory, with the support divided neatly between the two sides. “It’s sensational with the fans, your colours here and theirs there, and you know at once you’re in a final,” said Philipp Lahm ahead of his third Berlin showpiece. “I’ve been lucky enough to win it twice. It's always special and terrific, which is why I’m looking forward to Saturday.”