Created on 20-05-2016 at 19:48 PM
The coveted trophy was displayed in the catacombs of Berlin's Olympic Stadium about 26 hours before kick-off. Silent. Noble. Golden. Surrounded by dozens of reporters who examined, photographed and filmed the glittering gold cup at close range and from every perspective. The DFB Cup is the centre of attention as the reigning champions and the Bundesliga runners-up cross swords on Saturday evening (Live in English from 20.00 CET on Twitter and FCB.tv Web Radio): Bayern against Dortmund!
“It's going to be very emotional tomorrow. It’s between the two best teams in Germany. Both will fight for every centimetre, both want to win,” Jérôme Boateng declared, looking forward to the mouth-watering clash. It is the third time in five years that the cup final has featured the Reds against the Black and Yellows. Bayern and Borussia have amassed a total of 166 league points this term. Never before have two sides boasting so many points crossed swords in a cup final.
“It's the German Clásico. What has happened before, our championship title – all that doesn't count. The final is a one-off,” Manuel Neuer stressed in the build-up to the 73rd domestic cup final. A victory on Saturday would seal Bayern's 18th cup triumph and their 11th double, the third in four years. “I'm very proud of this consistency. That's the hardest thing to achieve – and this team has succeeded at it,” Pep Guardiola commented before his second DFB Cup final.
Alonso and Martínez work out with squad
“We're here to win,” stressed the FCB head coach, who will be on the Bayern bench for the last time. The previous 160 matches under the Catalan have yielded 124 wins, and now he wants to bid farewell with his seventh title in three years. “Of course it's special. It's a final! Two years ago I noticed how beautiful the atmosphere is. Madness! Now I have the honour to be here once again. I'd like to thank my players for that,” said Guardiola.
The FCB head coach learned at short notice that Mario Götze will not be available for selection with a fractured rib. Long-term absentees Arjen Robben and Holger Badstuber also miss out. On a more positive note, Javi Martínez and Xabi Alonso have recovered from minor knocks and resumed the squad programme on the eve of the final. “I'm considering many, many, many ideas,” said Guardiola, who declined to reveal his plans for the starting line-up. The Catalan is carefully considering all his options: merely eyeing the golden trophy does not satisfy him. On Saturday evening Pep Guardiola wants to hoist the cup into the Berlin sky.
Pre-match news from Borussia Dortmund:
Coach Thomas Tuchel: “I'm really looking forward to the match. Making it to the final doesn't mean all our dreams in this competition have come true. We’re still a few percent short. We’re prepared to entertain the highest ambitions. I want us to perform accordingly tomorrow, to radiate this confidence. We have every right to dream of it and to possess the ambition of winning the final.”
Unavailable: Ilkay Gündogan (knee), Neven Subotic (thrombosis), Joo-Ho Park (exhaustion)