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Simply happy

Cup final debut for delighted Dante

Pharrell Williams’ catchy tune ‘Happy’ has been top of the charts for weeks all over the world, Germany included. The ditty might have been written specially for Dante, an always cheerful character who spreads good vibes and big smiles wherever he goes. A year ago the centre-back tried his hand as a musician, singing: “We’re gonna win the league – and the cup!” in a video message to his team-mates. The improvised number even made it into the German charts.

The song was sung because Dante could not appear in last season’s cup final against VfB Stuttgart, just a week after the Champions League triumph against Dortmund at Wembley. “I was very sad about not being there,” recalled the 30-year-old, who had already reported for Confederations Cup duty with Brazil at the time. The video message was a spontaneous gesture of support as his team-mates chased the historic treble.

Down to the details

The Brazilian is now poised to remedy last year’s omission as Bayern again contest the cup final in Berlin. It will be Dante’s first shot at claiming the domestic knockout trophy. “I was in Brazil last season so I’m really looking forward to Berlin,“ he said after training on Tuesday, “I want to take the cup in my hands and feel it for myself.”

But it will be no stroll, as yet again the opponents are BVB. “Dortmund are in good shape,” noted Dante, “but so are we, I’ve noticed this in training.“ The defender is expecting a tight contest in front of a full house at the Olympiastadion. “The team that’s more focused and wants it more will win,” observed Dante. “It’ll be decided by the smallest details.”

Respectful but confident

FCB lost 3–0 to BVB in the Bundesliga five weeks ago, but the champions won the reverse fixture back in November 2013 by the same score. “We’re very confident after winning the league,” continued Dante, “we’ve played very, very well throughout the season. We’ll give everything we have to win the thing.“

Dortmund specialise in rapid transitions, “and we’ll need a top performance not just from the 11 on the field but from all 18 players in the squad. We’ll have to focus at all times.“ It is not just a case of neutralising future FCB man Robert Lewandowski, “a world-class striker,” Dante said. The threat also comes from the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Dante’s former Mönchengladbach team-mate Marco Reus. “I’m a big fan of Marco,” the centre-back acknowledged.

“We respect them as always, but we’re not afraid. I’m certain it will be a fantastic cup final,” declared the Brazilian, although he is not planning another raid on the pop charts. “We won everything last year but we’ve missed out on the Champions League final this time. So I can’t be turning out songs. I have to focus properly on the final.“But if Bayern do lift the trophy, the player will be one thing more than anything else: happy.