Are Your Ready for the German Champions League Final?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Millions of people will watch Bayern Munich (Munich) play Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final tonight, will you be one of them? After 124 games with 365 goals scored, we're down to this game (figures from Wikipedia). This is a unique match up and the first time that it has been an all German Champions League final. Bayern and Dortmund are two of the top teams in the German Bundesliga, hard core and casual fans alike will be ready for these two rivals to play in this huge game.

Bayern has one of the biggest and best known soccer clubs in the world. They're the biggest and best known sports club in Germany, and 4th biggest soccer club in the world generating 368.4 million Euros in 2012 (Wikipedia). To me they're like the New York Yankees of soccer, having won 23 national tittles, winning the Champions League in 1974, 1975, 1976, and 2001; while being the runner up in 1982, 1987, 1999, 2010, 2012. They might not always win but you can't afford to overlook them.

Dortmund has developed into quite a rival for Bayern.  They won the Champions League in 1997.  Dortmund has had their ups and down and even almost went bankrupt.  Jürgen Klopp has lifted Dortmund out one of their low periods winning the Bundesliga in the 2010-11 and 2011-2012 seasons. 

Living in the Rhein-Main Area, I started following Jürgen Kloppwhen he was the coach at Mainz 05 and was impressed that he was able to led that club from the second Bundesliga to the first. I also liked watching him when he was part of the soccer coverage on German television.  It was lot of fun seeing him lead Dortmund to their two recent Bundesliga tittles.

I've seen that Jürgen Klopp has given some interesting interviews lately and I decided that I wanted to find out what was said. Since the game tonight is being held in Wembley Stadium in London, there are interviews that are done in English and non-native English speakers this provides the opportunity for lots of lost in translation  moments or translations problems.  In fact there was a Jame Bond quote that really piqued my interest.  Jurgen Klopp said in an interview at the Guardian in response to the possiblity of Robert Lewandowski will likely be leaving Dortmund (with a good possiblity of ending up at Bayern), "What can I say? If that's what Bayern wants … It's like James Bond – except they are the other guy [the villain].

Jürgen Klopp told the Guardian about the deep pockets of Bayern and their ability to spend large amounts of money on players that   "Bayern want a decade of success like Barça. That's OK if you have the money because it increases the possibility of success. But it's not guaranteed. We are not a supermarket but they want our players because they know we cannot pay them the same money. It could not be our way to do things like Real and Bayern and not think about taxes – and let the next generation pick up our problems. We need to work seriously and sensibly. We have this amount of money so we can pay that amount. But we lose players. Last year it was Shinji Kagawa." While he probably didn't mean that teams that don't have an endless supply of money to spend on players might not be woried about taxes but that most teams don't have the financail resources to complete with Bayern, Mancherster United, Real Madrid, and so on.  This is certainly a challenges for many teams in many diferent sports.

I can't really say that I was surprised, but I learned that Jürgen Klopp was recruited by both Bayern and Hamburg while he was at Mainz 05, before he ended up going to Dortmund. He said of the experience of being consided for the job at Bayern that "It wasn't too disappointing --for a second division manager to be called by Bayern is not the worst thing in the world"  I'm sure that Dortmund fans are glad that he ended up where he did.

Over the years I've liked it when cross town rivals met in various championship games, this makes the event special and stand out more.  In baseball I remember when the New York Mets played the New York Yankees and when the Oakland A's played the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, so it is exciting to see two German teams playing in the Champions League final.  

 Jürgen Klopp said "We are a club, not a company..but it depends on which kind of story the neutral fan wants to hear. If he respects the story of Bayern, and how much they have won since the 1970s, he can support them. But if he wants the new story, the special story, it must be Dortmund. I think, in this moment in the football world, you have to be on our side." I'll be pulling for Dortmund, how about you?

Here is a infographic that you might find interesting....

Photo credits: I combined the logos from the clubs based on logos at Wikipedia (Bayern and Dortmund).  The infographic comes from here.