Football hipsters and neutrals should unite and support Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on May 25. Die Schwarzgelben are up against the unquestioned giants of the German game with the very soul of the Bundesliga on the line.
Munich are heavy favorites and are expected to wipe the floor with Jurgen Klopp's charismatic young team. Jupp Heynckes will lead his historic treble-chasing side out for the last time with the sheer intention of destroying everything that football lovers hold dear about Klopp's all-out attacking side.
Despite the fact that two German teams will play, in England, at Wembley in the Champions League final, and for all that that entails, this game is actually a philosophical war between a club that is all about big business and one built upon the ethics of youth and all-out attacking football.
Bayern, for the very good team they are, for the phenomenal club they are, for the vast and rich history they have and for the style in which they have swaggered to the Champions League final, are a blight upon the Bundesliga.
The Bavarians have won the league title eight times since the year 2000, and a record 23 times in total. Dortmund, in comparison, have won its title eight times altogether.
This season, as Dortmund so superbly concentrated upon the Champions League, Munich walked away with the Bundesliga.
Bayern won the title at the start of April after beating Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0. This is the earliest ever title win in Bundesliga history. Munich also set the record for the most consecutive Bundesliga wins with 14. Dortmund were the team to bring this run to a halt with a well-earned 1-1 draw near the season's end.
Munich also set the record for the best ever start to a season with eight wins from their opening eight games. They also went unbeaten away from home for the entire season and set a new record by winning an amazing 15 games on the road.
And to top it all off, Bayern finished the season with a goal difference of plus 80, having scored 98 goals.
Dortmund, for their part, finished almost 30 points behind in second place.
In short, the gulf between the two sides as they head to Wembley is vast.
Dortmund's team have been built from the ground up by Jurgen Klopp. The former Mainz manager has worked wonders since he joined the club in 2008. Die Schwarzgelben have always been an attractive side to watch but Klopp has revolutionized the club in just five short years.
Klopp has taken all the best elements of Spanish, English and German football and combined them with youth, high fitness and superb tactics to make them the most talked about team in the world.
Dortmund press the opponent all over the pitch in a very Barcelona-esque style. They also attack at every opportunity and are an extremely honest side in the best sense of the English game. Add in German pragmatism and a new-found self belief from a highly technical youth education program and Dortmund are the most cosmopolitan team in Europe.
Football at the highest level is all about utilizing space, specifically the small spaces available near the opponents' defensive line and the larger spaces behind the defense.
Borussia Dortmund have highly mobile players all over the pitch and control this space superbly. They are more than capable of adapting to any opponent and playing in any style. But the speed at which they control transitional play, from defense to attack and vice versa, is what marks them out as a special team with a special coach.
It is little wonder that football tourists have started putting pins in their maps over the Westfalenstadion.
In short, Dortmund play the way all young players dream of playing. Going forward, they are as good as any team on the planet. Marco Reus is an amazing player with a God-like ability to open the very best of defenses. Jakub Blaszczykowski can combine work rate and skill like no other player in the final. Robert Lewandowski has been in phenomenal goalscoring form with 36 goals in 48 appearances this season and Mario Gotze is one of the best playmakers of our time.
They are a superb outfit and a dream team to many.
What do Munich do to break it up? Could they do it tactically? The answer was no. So, they buy Gotze for $47 million. They have been strongly linked with an attempt to sign Lewandowski after the final too, with this report from the Daily Mail suggesting Bayern are willing to pay Dortmund's 25 million euro asking price.
This is Munich's answer to every problem.
They either demolish them on the pitch, or they make an offer you can't refuse.
As it stands, Gotze will miss the final through injury. But one must wonder if the injury has been concocted so the young superstar will not have to play for his old employers against his new employers in the biggest match of his career.
This is the power of Bayern: When they can't beat you, they make you join them.
Over the rich history of the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich have been involved in 11 of the 12 highest transfers, 10 of them as the buying team according to World Soccer.
German teams have also contested 15 European Cup/Champions League finals (including the May 25, game). Of those 15 UCL finals Bayern have featured in 10. They have won the competition four times including a remarkable three in a row in 1974, 1975 and 1976.
Dortmund are the David to Bayern's Goliath. But they are also the panacea to all that Bayern represents in the modern game. Borussia took their philosophy to Manchester City, Ajax and Real Madrid and won against all the odds in the most incredible and emphatic of fashions.
Klopp and his young team were brave enough to stick to their guns against three of the most storied clubs in the world and triumph. Bayern, on the other hand, blitzed Juventus and Barcelona without conceding a goal.
Dortmund are up against it, and they know it.
They have a smaller squad, put together with far less money than Munich's, are without their best player for the final and win, lose or draw Bayern have signed Pep Guardiola to herald in a new era of global domination.
Borussia Dortmund needs to win for the sake of the Bundesliga.
As football fans we need them to win for the sake of all we hold dear in the sport we love.
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Betting odds from Oddschecker.com
Statistics from uefa.com, fifa.com, www.bundesliga.de, www.soccerbase.com
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