Today is the day, the UEFA Champions League Final will be contested between Germany’s two top teams Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, this is the game to decide who the 2013 kings of Europe will be and the action starts at 2:45 (EST) on Fox.
Bayern Munich lost the final last year to Chelsea, whereas Borussia Dortmund hasn’t played in a final since 1997, when they beat Juventus 3-1.
Here’s what you need to know…
1. There Has Already Been Riots
Their fans have already been fighting on the streets of London. Riots have broken out between the rival supporters in the build-up to the game. The Daily Mail reports:
Fans of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have been taking in the sights of the capital ahead of the Champions League Final tonight.
But later they report:
The German invasion of London turned nasty just hours before the Champions League final as fans fought with each other.
In the above video you can see police moving in to separate the battling fans. The Metro reports that one fan needed hospital treatment due to injuries sustained in the fight. No arrests were made.
2. Neutrals Want Borussia Dortmund to Win
Despite the fact that Bayern Munich are the champions of Germany, everybody loves Borussia Dortmund, mainly due to Dortmund’s colorful manager, Jurgen Klopp, who has revived Dortmund, a team who were nearly bankrupt ten years ago, they have already won two German championships and need to win a European Cup to ensure their place as one of the great teams. Klopp is also renowned for his brilliant interviews, one of which you can see above.
3. One of Dortmund’s Players is Signed to Munich For Next Season
One of Borussia Dortmund’s star players, Mario Gotze, has already signed a contract to play for Bayern Munich next season. He will sit out today’s game though through injury. The Dortmund coach has played down the loss, saying he his team have been preparing how to play with the influential midfielder since April.
Gotze signed for Munich after they bought out his contract for $40 million, a fee which activated a release clause in his contract. Klopp admitted that Gotze wanted the Munich move after they announced that former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola would be taking them over next season. The current Dortmund coach also hit out at the timing of Gotze’s announcement which came 36 hours prior the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid.
Gotze has arrived at Wembley for the game wearing neutral colors:
4. German Soccer is Currently the Toast of Europe
Germany established its place as the No.1 soccer nation in Europe as both Munich and Dortmund destroyed Spain’s two top teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid in the semi-finals.
5. It’s a Farewell For Munich’s Manager
This is Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes’, 68, final game as a manager. Whilst not as colorful as Klopp, Heynckes is still a legend in the game and completing his third spell as coach of Bayern.
He first joined the club in 1987, leaving in 1991, then in 2009 he took on the job for a brief period of time before rejoining as full time manager in 2011. Despite announcing his retirement, he has been linked with taking over as manager of Spanish giant Real Madrid this summer.
[Heynckes] is a man who always seems to have one last point to prove. He says that he has offers. Real have been in touch. It is more than likely, though, that he will step down with the dignity that is so readily associated with him. The European Cup would be quite the sign-off.
6. Bayern Are the Favorites
The bookies are making Bayern Munich the favorites. Paddy Power makes Munich 4/5 with Dortmund at 7/2.
Here are the odds in full via Paddy Power:
7. Borussia Dortmund’s Fans are Engaging in a Protest During the Game
Dortmund’s fans are angry at European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, not allowing them enough freedom to perform one of their famous “displays” in support of their team. Due to stadium regulations that limit the size of flags, Dortmund’s fans will not fully participate.
8. Expect a Fiery Encounter
There is no love lost between the two teams, as two of Germany’s most successful clubs, there is a serious rivalry between both sides. The two teams have done battle four times so far this season, Bayern have won two and two have been tied. Munich defender Dante explained the rivalry to Goal.com:
Games against Borussia are always hard. The rivalry is huge, so I’m sure both teams will be ready for the match,
imagine it will be a great game and that the two teams will be really focused. Of course the sides know each other very well, that’s why we need to be extra careful. We have to be at our best on the day.
Bayern is one of the biggest clubs in the world. This year we became even stronger and that’s why we had such a great season so far.
The fact that the team missed out on the title in the last few years made the players even hungrier for the victory, and that’s what we’re seeing right now.
The final will be tough because it’s a German derby, but I hope that, even though it’s one game only, we can leave London as winners.
9. An All German Affair
It’s the first European Champions League Final to be contested by two teams from the same country since 2008. In that final Manchester United defeated Chelsea. Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, who was the hero of last year’s final has speculated that UEFA don’t like it when two teams from the same country play each other.
10. It’s Being Played at a Familiar Venue
It’s the second final in three years to be played at Wembley Stadium due to it being the 150th anniversary of the English soccer association. This is the seventh time the famous stadium has held the final.