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World Cup final

Schweinsteiger: I have a good feeling

The big day is here at last for Germany and their seven Bayern stars! A full 24 years since the Europeans last won the World Cup they are one win away from claiming the fourth title in their history on Sunday night. “We're really, really looking forward to it,” declared Bastian Schweinsteiger in the build-up to the final against Argentina at 4 pm local time (9 pm CET) in front of a 70,000 crowd at the legendary Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. “We should only be thinking of one thing: the job we have to do. Football should be the only thing on our minds.”

“Once you're in the final the target is to win it and bring home the cup,” commented coach Joachim Löw at the final pre-match press conference. The 54-year-old seemed relaxed in the last few hours prior to the meeting with Lionel Messi and Co, speaking of his “good feeling” before the global showdown. “We're in very good shape,” added Schweinsteiger, who is likely to join Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Jérôme Boateng, Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller in the starting line-up, “I have a good feeling.”

Biggest dream of all

Germany have contested seven World Cup finals to date, winning three. Their last appearance in the biggest match on the footballing calendar was in Japan/Korea 2002, but the team spearheaded by Oliver Kahn fell 2–0 to Brazil. “We're one step away from realising our biggest target, our biggest dream,” said team captain Lahm. The Germans have moved on swiftly from the stunning 7–1 semi-final victory over the hosts, Lahm insisted: “We know exactly what conclusions to draw.”

Löw supported his versatile defender and midfielder. “We mustn't take the match against Brazil as our benchmark. I think it'll be a tense final and an extraordinary fight,” the coach said. The referee appointed to the match could yet be a good omen, at least for the FCB contingent. Italian match official Nicola Rizzoli was in charge of the Champions League final in May 2013 when Bayern defeated Borussia Dortmund. Perhaps it is another good day to make history…