As two sets of supporters exit the tube on Saturday evening and wind down Olympic Way, the concrete sluice that channels 90,000 people to Wembley, they will pass under the Bobby Moore Bridge and towards a stadium guarded over by a statue of the late, great former captain – a quaint reminder that England once had the upper hand over Germany, if only briefly.
Saturday’s Champions League final, though, is decisively Germany's. After those monumental defeats of Real Madrid and Barcelona in the semi-finals it is the crests of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich that adorn the huge canvas wraps cloaking the national stadium. Many expected a final between two sides from the same country, but not this. As one witty advert has it on the approach to the ground: 'El Clasico Der Klassiker'.
Yes, this is Germany’s moment. Scores of earnest, searching column inches have been dedicated to the rise of the Bundesliga – jealous glances aimed at its robust supporter culture, entertaining football and admirable focus on domestic youth products – and now the world is watching, waiting for all of these strands to come gloriously together in 90 minutes, or more.
Perhaps nowhere is this expectation more palpable than in England - host of the final, and a country where the success of German football inspires gnawing introspection and a persistent inferiority complex. The Bundesliga’s cheap tickets and structural support for fan ownership make it a compelling model in a land where season tickets can cost upwards of £1,000 and clubs can be run into the ground by foreign poultry magnates.
Dortmund even had the good humour to make a nod towards the long-established English complex over German efficiency and organisation by getting their stereotypical beach towel down early outside Buckingham Palace on Friday morning.
But the debate over these disparate models for the professional game, and what they mean for the soul of football and the future of the game, has been done to death. Now it is time for the sport itself, and a spectacle is expected in a match which crowns Germany’s return to the very top of the club game.
As Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said during a press conference in which he successfully projected an air of studied calm: "Two German teams have ended up in the Champions League final - this is pretty extraordinary for German football. It's pretty special and I hope that tomorrow will be a peaceful match and that includes the stands as well. On the pitch it will be intense - that's obvious and you expect that in a Champions League final.”
On playing at the home of English football – where Germany have experienced triumph and despair – Heynckes was graciously fawning. "Wembley is a place with tradition in English, European and international football," he said, "and that's a particular incentive to players to be in such a venerable location for a Champions League final. I think the atmosphere is going to be unique.”
One note of caution: previous European Cup finals contested by two clubs from the same country have failed to throw up compelling encounters – though of course the sample size is rather reduced given intra-national contests have only been possible in the more recent incarnation of Europe’s most prestigious club competition.
Spain, Italy and England have all had theirs. In 2000, Real Madrid outclassed Valencia 3-0 in Paris; 2003 saw AC Milan and Juventus cancel each other out in a 0-0 draw in Manchester, Andriy Shevchenko scoring the winning penalty for the Rossoneri; and while Chelsea’s clash with Manchester United in 2008 was incredibly tense, it could hardly be described as an encounter for the ages - after all, the single indelible image from that night in Moscow was of a man slipping over. Familiarity, it seems, has bred sterility - to an extent at least.
Yet given the assurance with which both of these sides disposed of their Spanish semi-final opponents – and the style too, Bayern putting seven past the behemoth that is Barcelona and Robert Lewandowski slaying Real Madrid with four goals in the first leg – it is not unreasonable to expect a classic.
Bayern – proud winners of the Bundesliga by 25 points thanks to a record tally of 91, with the chance to win a first treble in German history if they can triumph at Wembley and in their domestic cup final on June 1 – have produced one of the most dominant seasons European football has seen. Their success is founded on an astonishingly complete midfield, quick transitions and a venomous forward line.
Dortmund – deposed by Bayern in both domestic competitions – are lethal on the counter attack, turning defence into attack with unnatural speed and style. Their hard pressing, quick recovery of the ball and speed of distribution match that of Bayern’s. It is not so much a clash of styles as a mutual appreciation society – until you drill down into the enmity that underpins this rivalry.
As Bayern forward Thomas Mueller said in a colourful appearance in front of the media: "They are a very complete team, if you will. They are a real team which makes it more difficult to play against them, as opposed to individuals - but they also have very good individual players. They are capable of fast counters, fast football in general, good heading; they really have everything you need to be successful. It's not going to be easy - we know that."
In truth, there is little these two teams, who have battled so intensely under these two coaches, do not know about each other. Nothing will be left to the imagination. With Bayern's first XI set in stone, and Mats Hummels shaking off a fitness problem to attend Dortmund's press conference, the only remaining selection issue surrounds the replacement for Mario Goetze in Klopp's team: Kevin Grosskreutz or Nuri Sahin, and probably the latter.
Given the rigmarole over the Goetze transfer and then injury, it hasn't been a particularly serene build-up for the Dortmund coach - and Friday's journey was rather traumatic too. After Sebastian Kehl moaned about Dortmund's 90-minute trip from hotel to stadium, and the rather unbecoming urban hinterland that surrounds Wembley, Klopp also had something to say about the English capital's transport network.
"We had police with us today," he said with a smile. "Are they not able to use these blue lights and a siren? If we want to get to the match punctually tomorrow we'll have to use these lights. If someone knows a policeman, please ask."
Just like their football, they do that better in Germany too.