For the first time in history, two German football teams have reached the final of the Champions League. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund not only dominated the Bundesliga but also European football this season.
The final will be played on the 25th of May at London’s Wembley Stadium.
Bayern and Dortmund are the predictable stars of the renaissance in German football having won 16 of the last 20 Bundesliga titles between them.
It’s a different story in Europe, however.
Although Bayern will now be making their third appearance in the Champions league final in four seasons the Bavarians are hunting their first title in 12 years while Borussia last won the European Cup titel in 1997.
Both coaches explained why they think their sides have got most of European football speaking German this season.
Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes said: “We were confident we had a chance. It comes from a day to day training and because the players believe in our style and our philosophy. That is why I don’t care about the opposition we face.”
Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp said: ‘‘I think at this moment we have so many good players, young players in Germany. The reason for this is that 10, 12 years ago we started to give money for youth development.’‘
euronews: German football is flying high at the moment. Let’s discuss this with German football commentator Tobi Fischbeck, who is in Munich. Two German clubs in the Champions League final. This can’t be too much of a surprise. How do you explain it?
Fischbeck: The team-managers of the Bundesliga, second and even third divisions agree, it is not enough to have just one superstar in the team, like one Cristiano Ronaldo. So they changed their attitude. Years ago, many clubs invested huge amounts of money into training camps for young football players in the hope that they will, sooner or later, have more than just one Cristiano Ronaldo in the squad. Now, all this financial investment is slowly paying dividends. It just took a couple of years. The Bundesliga was not Europe’s top league, but now we see the success of this strategy. Now they can compete on a high level in Europe.
euronews: Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have two different styles of playing football. What are the differences?
Fischbeck: It is all about money, of course. Bayern Munich is a club rich in quality players, in comparison Borussia not so much. Bayern has not only a big roster, but the reserve bench is also of excellent quality. It is not quite the same at Dortmund. I saw Bayern play very often this season and it is unbelievable to see, even if the regular starting eleven is not playing, they can beat any other team, even with by score of 4-0 or more. Dortmund can’t really say the same. They sometimes have to take guys from the youth team or to buy good players from the second division. Bayern is one step further ahead. They have earned a lot of money in the past and are able to pay, for example, more than 30 million euros for a player like Mario Götze. This is the main difference.
euronews: The German national team has improved its style of play. Now we are seeing the same at club level. Are there any parallels?
Fischbeck: Of course! It is because young players in Germany are already able to play at the highest level. Let´s look back 15 years. The U-21 national team was made up largely of unknown players from tiny clubs. Today, U-21 head coach Rainer Adrion has an embarrassment of riches. He could even choose players like (Marco) Reus, Götze, (Andrè) Schürle, last year even Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos. All of them are already members of the German senior team (Nationalmannschaft). So, he can not choose them anymore, but still has other top-level players available to build a competitive team with.
euronews: Will the Bundesliga benefit from the Champions League success of it’s two top teams?
Fischbeck: For sure! Let’s look at the UEFA five-year-rankings. Germany is now very close to England. Just recently Germany overtook Italy. Of course it will depend on the results in the future, but we are on the brink of overtaking England as well. The whole Bundesliga is taking advantage. Germany now has three direct Champions League qualification spots per season, plus one qualifier. This is great and all of German football benefits from it.
euronews: Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have easily qualified for the next seasons Champions League. Can we expect something similar to this season?
Fischbeck: It is difficult to say. The faces of the teams will change in the summer, for example Mario Götze will leave Dortmund for Munich. So maybe we can expect another great Champions League season from Bayern as they have the best team the club has ever had, even better than the days of (Paul) Breitner, (Franz) Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller and so on. It is impressive to see the Bayern team of today. Dortmund is, on European soil, not so dominant, even though they have learned a lot in the last few years and improved themselves. As for Bayern Munich they have learned some painful lessons from the last few years such as last season’s defeat in the Chasmpions League final at home in Munich against Chelsea. So, you can see improvements and we can only hope that German football in general continues to develop and improve.
euronews: Who will win the Champions League final?
Fischbeck: It is difficult to say because lots of things can happen. But I think it will be Bayern Munich. They are the favorites. But you can’t write off this young talented team from Dortmund too easily. So, it is an open final.