Pitchside Europe

Bayern v Dortmund: Champions League final key battles

Pitchside Europe

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Ahead of the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, we take a look at some of the key battles on and off the pitch.

First let's start with the men behind the teams - they couldn't provide more of a contrast.

1. Heynckes v Klopp

Jupp Heynckes is a wise old head, with a glittering CV boasting titles in several countries. He is a Steady Eddie as opposed to charismatic genius, although his success highlights how underrated a stable guiding hand can be for the big clubs with messy dressing rooms. It is a shame he is retiring as he has turned Bayern from a bickering collection of megastars to Bundesliga champions, by some distance.

Juergen Klopp, on the other hand, is as hot as they come. Young, shaggy haired and jovial, his bombarding attacking system has revolutionalised the German game and made superstars of Mario Goetze, Roberto Lewandowski and Marco Reus. He has won fewer titles in a shorter space of time, quickly turning Dortmund into a real force.

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2. Dante v Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski has emerged as one of the top strikers in Europe, having battered four goals past Real Madrid in the semis. He has it all - height, strength, touch, movement and a work-rate unrivalled among his fellow centre forwards. He defends from the front too, which could pose problems for Dante, who will have a role in tracking him.

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Dante has emerged as something of a surprise package. Always a gifted ball-playing defender with strong aerial ability, he has cut out the mistakes, although he has been given trouble by the strong-running Lewandowski before. This will be an interesting battle as, with Dante a key distributor from defence, Lewandowski will be looking to cut Bayern off at source. Bayern defensive midfielder Javi Martinez will also come into play here.

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3. Schweinsteiger v Goetze

Germany's midfield darlings will be going toe-to-toe in the final, provided Goetze is fit (as he is expected to be).

Bastian Schweinsteiger is Bayern's beating heart, and he will have a dual role: to distribute the ball with impeccable timing and accuracy and to ensure Goetze does not have a free run of the lines between midfield and defence. As with the previous battle, Martinez will have a role to play here as he divides his time between protecting the defence and Bayern's key playmaker.

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The way Dortmund play means that, despite being one of their main creative forces, the Bayern-bound Goetze will have the brief to close down Schweinsteiger and limit his ability to both play raking crossfield passes and bring the ball forward himself. The pair will probably be lining up alongside each other soon, and how they confront each other with and without the ball will be crucial to the outcome on Saturday night.

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Reda Maher / Tobias Laure

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