Created on 09-05-2014 at 14:35 PM
In an exception to the general rule, the public were welcome at the final pre-match training session on Friday, because prior to the last Bundesliga fixture of the season at home to VfB Stuttgart on Saturday (Live in English from 3.30 pm CET on Twitter and FCB.tv Web Radio) Pep Guardiola has nothing to hide. There is plenty of time until the DFB Cup final in Berlin, so the weekend is there to be enjoyed. FCB and their fans can look forward to the last 90 Bundesliga minutes of the campaign, the trophy presentation, the motorcade, and the celebrations in the city centre Marienplatz.
And of course the now obligatory showers of good Bavarian Weißbier. “I know it’s a big tradition here,” the well-informed Bayern boss acknowledged at Friday’s press conference, “and I’m a fan of traditions. I have no problem with it. if that’s what the players want to do, let them do it.“ Guardiola grinned, but added a not entirely serious warning: “Of course if they do they don’t stand much of a chance of playing in Berlin.“ Laughter filled the Säbener Strasse media centre.
As you would expect the mood prior to the championship celebration is upbeat and excited. As Guardiola noted, the cup final against Dortmund is not far from anyone’s mind, but an exceptional Bundesliga season deserves a worthy send-off. “It’s been a long road. I’m very, very proud of everyone at the club, not just the team.“
FCB wrapped up their 24th national championship at the end of March, earlier than any team before them. “It’s the most important and the best trophy,” Guardiola remarked. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge described the league season as “outstanding. We want to end it as we started it last August, and as the champions should - with a win!“
Lahm and Götze struggling
Three points to round off the campaign would naturally put Bayern in the best possible mood before they set off for Berlin next Thursday. Guardiola faces a couple of selection conundrums against Stuttgart. Franck Ribéry (back), Jérôme Boateng (suspension), Thiago and Xherdan Shaqiri (sports rehab) are definitely out, with Philipp Lahm and Mario Götze both facing fitness tests on the day of the match.
By contrast, Holger Badstuber is on the brink of a major breakthrough after a long and trying spell on the sidelines. After working his way back from a double cruciate ligament injury the former Germany international is set for a place in the matchday squad. “I’m really pleased for him,” said Guardiola, “but I’m not going to take any risks.” Badstuber last played for FCB on 2 December 2012.
Should the FCB youth product make his long-awaited return, the setting could hardly be better. “We want to celebrate together and party like champions,” Rummenigge announced. Guardiola said Saturday would be “a good day to come to the Allianz Arena. For lots of people it’s another Bundesliga title, but for me it’s a first major trophy with Bayern. So I intend to enjoy it tomorrow.“ At around 5.30 pm captain Lahm will step forward and bid the championship shield a very warm welcome home.