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Süle and Thiago set to return

Bayern looking forward to DFB Cup final against Leverkusen

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“The cup final is the highlight of the season. We’re all ready to win it!” said Manuel Neuer as Bayern look to add to their Bundesliga title by lifting the DFB Cup against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday (kick-off at 8pm CEST, coverage available on fcbayern.com with our live text commentary and web radio).

The situation

FC Bayern have already lifted the current DFB Cup 18 times, as well as its predecessor trophy in 1957.

The cup final is usually known for its special atmosphere, but unfortunately it will be held behind closed doors this year. “It’ll be a life experience for me,” said Neuer at the pre-match press conference on Friday. “The conditions are different, but we have to adapt to them. We’re all excited and will try to bring the double back to Munich again,” added head coach Hansi Flick. Of course, Bayern go into the final at the Olympiastadion in Berlin full of confidence. The Reds are unbeaten in 25 matches across all competitions, with a 0-0 draw against RB Leipzig the only one of those games FCB failed to win. Flick’s side have also beaten opponents Leverkusen in that run, with a 4-2 victory at the Allianz Arena in June. Bayern therefore go into their 24th DFB Cup final with the clear aim of defending their domestic double from last season, which would be the club’s 13th in their history, by claiming a 20th cup title.

The Reds were in high spirits at their final training session at the Olympiastadion on Friday:

The opponent

Leverkusen finished the Bundesliga campaign in fifth place to secure themselves a spot in the Europa League group stage for next season. Peter Bosz’s side now have the chance to win the club’s first piece of major silverware in 30 years. Bayer’s sole DFB Cup title to date came in 1993 against the Hertha Berlin reserves. “The whole club and the fans are longing for titles. We’re approaching it all just as eagerly so we can finally bring a title back to Leverkusen,” stated captain Lars Bender. Die Werkself will have to do so without forward Paulinho in Berlin after the Brazilian tore a cruciate ligament in training during the week. Daley Sinkgraven is also out.

Be on the ball for the final with 7 stats on the game:

Personnel

Flick looks set to have two players back on Saturday, with Niklas Süle in line for a return to the squad for the first time since he tore his cruciate ligament in October. “It’s crucial for him to be involved again. He’ll take part in today’s final training session, and then we’ll decide whether he’s in the matchday squad. But he’s made a very good impression,” Flick explained. Thiago is also back following his groin operation. “He’s handled the full workload since Wednesday, so can play from the start on Saturday,” added the coach, who will definitely be without Javi Martinez and Corentin Tolisso. New signings Leroy Sané and Tanguy Nianzou are still ineligible for this season.

Relive Bayern’s road to Berlin, from Cottbus to Frankfurt:

View from the dugout

Hansi Flick: “We know they have enormous speed in their team. We’ve adapted for that. I was happy with the team’s performance in training this week. The way they’ve gone about it, the quality and intensity really pleased me. Those are good prerequisites and gives us a certain security.”

Peter Bosz (Leverkusen coach): “It’s doable but not easy. The cup final is something special. We know it won’t be easy, but it depends on how we play tomorrow. We’ll try everything. It’s very important for Bayer 04 because we don’t make it to finals every year. We want to win for the club, for the fans.”

Check out some of Flick’s statements from his press conference:

Top fact

This is the 77th DFB Cup final. It has been held at the Olympiastadion in Berlin since 1985, making this the 36th straight showpiece in the capital and 42nd overall. Bayern have contested the most finals in Berlin, winning 12 of their 16 appearances. Werder Bremen are next in regard to finals in the capital with nine (5 wins), ahead of Schalke and Borussia Dortmund (7 finals and 3 titles each).

Around 900 fan club banners have been transported from Munich to Berlin to cover the east side of the Olympiastadion in support of Bayern:

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