Borussia Dortmund arrive in the final after a pulsating win against Real Madrid in the semi-final, where from a position of strength at 4-1 up they almost threw it away, conceding two late goals in the second leg.
Coach Jurgen Klopp will now be hoping his team can repeat the feat of the last Dortmund team to have won back-to-back Bundesliga titles, and who beat Juventus in the final of this competition in 1997.
It should not be forgotten that while they are underdogs, Dortmund have a good recent record against Bayern Munich. They have not been beaten in six Bundesliga games by the Bavarian giants and the last time these sides met on neutral territory in last year’s German Cup final it was Klopp’s side who ran rampant, winning 5-2.
The flip side to that was Bayern Munich’s domestic cup win against Dortmund earlier this year and the fact that the Bavarians have not lost to last season’s champions this campaign.
Dortmund’s build-up to this game has been overshadowed by the spectre of their side being broken up over the summer. Mario Gotze, who misses out through injury, is joining Bayern Munich at the end of the season and could be joined by Robert Lewandowski, the second highest scorer in the Champions League this year.
Mats Hummels, formerly of Bayern Munich, is coveted by Barcelona and Europe’s biggest names are casting eyes over Dortmund’s best talents. This could therefore represent an epochal moment for Dortmund against the team who are doing more than anyone else to take their team apart. And they will be firm favourites back home in Germany, where according to a survey this week, almost 80% of those polled said they wanted Klopp’s men to win.
With the first treble in their history in sight, Bayern Munich have won 23 of 25 games in all competitions in 2013 so far. Defeat to Arsenal and a recent draw with Dortmund in the league are the only blots on their copybook – and it is notable that neither result was particularly damaging.
Against Arsenal they were almost as good as through to the Champions League quarter-finals, while the league was long won by the time they met Klopp’s men at the start of May.
Bayern Munich have scored 98 goals in the Bundesliga, a remarkable record in a 34-match league, and broken numerous other records. They have collected more points than any team in history and won the league earlier than ever before.
The two-legged victory over Barcelona was also the first time that the Catalans had lost both legs of one tie in the Champions League era.
This Champions League final offers a chance of redemption for Bayern Munich, beaten in last season’s final on penalties at home in improbable circumstances to Chelsea. They also lost the 2010 final to Inter Milan.
For coach Jupp Heynckes, it will be the chance to win the Champions League for the second time after victory with Real Madrid in 1998. This could be his last game and it would be a fantastic way for one of the most underrated managers of his generation to bow out.