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Fifth star beckons

Confident Bayern hungry for historic treble

They’re already setting the tables in the Barcelona suite of the five-star Eurostars Madrid Tower hotel, where Bayern hope to toast a superb season in style in the small hours of Sunday morning. An array of VIP guests, partners and almost the entire staff of Germany’s most successful club will be there, but Louis van Gaal and his men still have to secure the main party attraction: the Champions League trophy.

“The cup final in Berlin was a massive evening, but I think it’ll be an even bigger evening here,” declared Bastian Schweinsteiger on the eve of the elite European showdown against Internazionale Milano. “We all know we can make history. We’re all desperate to get on with the game and win it,” the midfielder told the pre-match news conference, making no secret of Bayern’s utter determination to triumph.

Two evenly-matched teams

Saturday evening’s encounter pits the German double winners against their Italian counterparts, teams who have dominated their domestic seasons. However, only one can join the elite ranks of just five clubs who have previously completed the treble. “I’m sure the team will do everything in their power to achieve this historic outcome,” said FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. No Bayern team has won the treble before, “and it’s not as if we haven’t been successful in recent decades,” Rummenigge continued.

Van Gaal and his men could write a new chapter in the Munich club’s history on 22 May 2010, but Inter could win a maiden treble too. “It's between evenly-matched teams, and both are utterly determined,” mused Rummenigge, who still feels Bayern have a slight edge: “I think we have unbelievable passion, especially this season. I hope it’s enough.”

Van Gaal’s attacking tactics

However, passion alone will not tip the match one way or the other. “It could be the smallest things, a foul or a throw-in,” said captain Mark van Bommel. But refereeing decisions and form on the day could also prove crucial, and to win major trophies, “you always need a bit of luck.”