Champions League Betting: Bayern can recover
Bayern are 1.86 to win the Champions league.
Ben Lyttleton assesses Bayern Munich's chances of bouncing back in time for Saturday's Champions League showdown against Chelsea.
Dortmund were clinical as they swept past Bayern in the German Cup Final to complete the most successful season of their 104-year history. They had already finished top of the Bundesliga with a record 81 points while they set another record with a 28-game unbeaten run since October. And Bayern had no response to Dortmund's killer instinct, going down 5-2 in an astonishing game in which Bayern actually had plenty of possession. It was Dortmund's first ever league and Cup double. (And the last team to beat Bayern five times in a row was Werder Bremen over 30 years ago.)
"When you look at the 90 minutes, we were clearly the better team, but we lost 5-2," said Bayern's shell-shocked captain Philipp Lahm. Coach Jupp Heynckes was also surprised: "They only created one chance in the first half but managed to score three goals." Dortmund scored with each of their first four shots on goal: Shinji Kagawa opening the scoring in what could have been his final game for the club, before Robert Lewandowski bagged a hat-trick.
Such a major result could have far-reaching implications for both sides: Dortmund's success should help coach Jurgen Klopp convince his big players to reject offers to move and target a concerted run at the Champions League next season. Inexperience cost them dear this season, as a last-minute Marseille winner knocked them out at the group stage. "We have an exceptionally talented team in peak condition, and after 103 years, now it's our turn."
With Marco Reus already confirmed to join from Moenchengladbach, and Mario Gotze likely to stay, the biggest pressure on Klopp will be to keep Lewandowski there too. The Polish forward is currently in talks to extend his deal, though his agent has said Manchester United are interested, while Klopp admitted that Kagawa will probably move to England. "Where Shinji comes from, our Bundesliga means nothing. Over there, the English league is everything," he said.
Lewandowski is coming into Euro 2012 in serious form the third highest-scorer in Germany and is 34.0 in Betfair's top scorer market.
Dortmund will be a dark horse in next season's Champions league even if former Bayern captain Oliver Kahn, now a German pundit, questioned whether Klopp's methods would work with more experienced players.
As for Bayern, they have five days to dust themselves down in preparation for the Champions League final against Chelsea. Their strongest 11 started against Dortmund, but Holger Badstuber, David Alaba and Luis Gustavo will all miss Saturday's final.
In the wake of the defeat, it was no surprise to hear Hoenes give another interview, this time to Focus, revaling that Bayern are prepared to spend their way past Dortmund in future. "We have a stadium that is worth half a billion Euros, an extremely valuable squad and a bulging fixed deposit account. In 2020 the Allianz Arena will be paid off. Then we will be the richest club in the world," he said. "We'll improve our squad until we're the clear number one again. We have the money to do that."
Bayern are 1.86 to win the Champions league, with Chelsea, who have had problems of their own this season, 4.6. Both teams have lost recent finals, Chelsea in 2008 and Bayern in 2010. Lahm is convinced that his side is better now than then.
"We're much, much better than two years ago," he said. We are less static in possession, more flexible, we have a much better mix between attack and defence and the confidence is much, much higher." Dortmund might have punctured that on Saturday night. Hoeness will hope he doesn't have to do too much talking after next week's final.