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Treble chase nears climax

Optimism, anticipation and confidence

Keen anticipation, plenty of confidence and a happily relaxed attitude were the hallmarks of the Bayern party which arrived in Madrid on Thursday lunchtime, ready for the Champions League final against Inter. “We’re optimistic and we think we can do it,” said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge prior to take-off from Munich, “this team deserves to win the Champions League.”

“The mood in the dressing room is very good. We’re all delighted and proud to be here. We have a massive chance to make history,” commented Arjen Robben at the news conference held in the team hotel after the squad’s arrival. The former Real star and his FCB team-mates landed in the Spanish capital after a flight lasting just over two hours, to be greeted by sunny skies and 25-degree temperatures.

Apart from the suspended Franck Ribéry, who has joined up with the France squad to begin preparations for the World Cup but will travel to Madrid for the final, the entire Munich squad boarded Lufthansa flight LH 5018 in time for take-off at 11.30 on Thursday morning. “There’s a little bit of tension, but also a keen sense of anticipation,” reported keeper Jörg Butt. Alongside skipper Mark van Bommel, the shot-stopper is the only Bayern man to have featured in a Champions League final to date.

Louis van Gaal and his team have sealed the domestic double, but are now determined to claim the European crown at the Bernabeu stadium and secure the first-ever treble in club history. “We’ll do everything we can to ensure we have a reason to celebrate with the fans on Sunday,” promised Butt: “We’ve won all our important matches this season. I’m very, very optimistic.”

Müller and Co totally focused

Bayern will train twice during their stay in the Spanish capital. The first session is on Thursday evening at Real Madrid’s training facility, with the second on Friday afternoon at the Bernabeu. In between, FCB boss Van Gaal will instruct and inform his men about Saturday’s opponents in face-to-face, group and team talks. “We’re totally focused and know exactly what to expect,” Thomas Müller remarked.

One victory separates this Munich team from a place in history. The players began gearing up for the ultimate European showdown a while ago. “I talked to Louis yesterday and he’s very pleased with our preparations,” revealed Rummenigge: “We’ve done all we can. Now all we need is a little bit of luck.”