Created on 16-05-2014 at 15:30 PM
His gait: decisive. His appearance: serious, focused, thoughtful. Pep Guardiola was already in the proverbial tunnel on Friday afternoon, a day before the DFB Cup final against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday evening (Live in English from 8 pm CET on FCB.tv Web Radio). By contrast his opposite number Jürgen Klopp was cracking a joke or two at the pre-match press conference in the warm-up hall at Berlin Olympic Stadium. “We're ready,” announced Guardiola, “we’ll produce the best possible display.”
802 members of the media will report from the stadium on Saturday night as the top two teams in Germany go head-to-head in front of 75,000 fans: it is the perfect end to the 2013/14 campaign and also provides FC Bayern with the opportunity to secure the double. “The two best teams in Germany are facing each other. Everybody can look forward to this game. It's about another title,” said captain Philipp Lahm. And Guardiola can hardly wait for his first German cup final: “The atmosphere will be fantastic.”
However, Bayern will be below full strength in Berlin. Thiago is definitely ruled out after undergoing a knee operation on Thursday. Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee ligament) is also unavailable, Guardiola confirmed. “Basti is injured. He's in pain,” the coach said. Holger Badstuber recently returned to full training after recovering from a torn cruciate but the cup final comes too early for the centre-back. Mario Mandzukic did not travel to Berlin. “That was my decision,” explained the coach. Franck Ribéry has trained with the rest of the squad again and is an option, probably for the bench in the first instance.
Lewandowski fit for Dortmund
Mario Götze has a good chance of making the starting line-up. The Germany international wants to show what he can do in an important final: as a Dortmund player he missed out in 2012 and 2013 in the DFB Cup and Champions League finals due to injury. “I'm sure he'll play his part in helping us win the game,” declared Karl-Heinz Rummenigge ahead of the final.
Borussia Dortmund only arrived in the capital on Friday. They are at full strength with the exception of long-term absentees Ilkay Gündogan and Neven Subotic. According to Klopp, Robert Lewandowski can start despite suffering from a knock recently. “There are only two ways of winning the cup,” noted Dortmund's coach, “either you beat Bayern on the way to Berlin, or you beat them in the final.”
Klopp believes his team will have to approach the game with “passion” and “be prepared to give one hundred percent effort.” Only then, in Klopp's opinion, might it be possible to beat the Bundesliga champions. Dortmund skipper Sebastian Kehl can “hardly wait” for the clash with Bayern. “It will be an exciting game on even terms.” But what will the result be? “It won't end in a draw,” said Klopp - a comment that made even Guardiola smile.