DfB Pokal Preview: Bayern Seeking 'Immortality' at Expense of Stuttgart
The high point of Bayern Munich’s historic season was no doubt their Champions League triumph at Wembley last weekend. But with a win over Stuttgart on Saturday they would complete a historic treble of league, cup and European silverware—an achievement, according to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, that would immortalize a very special group of players.
“This team has already entered the history books, but they can make themselves immortal now,” the Bayern chief executive told the club’s official website. (Reuters)
He added: "Even the most successful Bayern team of all time—the generation including Franz Beckenbauer, Gerhard Mueller and Sepp Meier in the 1970s—never managed to win the lot...The only mistake we could make is to think we’re approaching the easiest part and we’ll easily beat VfB Stuttgart."
You could forgive Bayern if they did, in fact, arrive in the German capital for Saturday’s DfB Pokal final with an air of overconfidence about them. They are the recently-crowned European champions, after all, and during the domestic season established marks for most wins to begin a campaign and most points overall in addition to wrapping up the Bundesliga title in record-setting time.
But Stuttgart, who have had a week to rest up in preparation for the match at the Olympiastadion, will be no pushovers, and, says manager Bruno Labbadia, Bayern have won enough this season, anyway.
“Anything is possible in a single game,” he told reporters on Thursday. “There are days when a team can win a match despite not having the quality of their opponents. We’re hoping for one of those days."
He then went on to say: “I think that two titles in a season is enough.” (Reuters)
After losing just two of their final six matches of the season Stuttgart managed to finish 12th in the table, but an attack that was among the least productive in the Bundesliga will have to somehow find two or more goals if Die Schwaben are to derail a Bayern side bound for the history books.
Particulars: The match will kick off at Berlin’s Olympiastadion—the ground that hosted the 2006 World Cup final—on Saturday at 7:00pm BST, 2:00pm ET. The referee will be Manuel Grafe.
Form: Since losing 2-0 at home to Arsenal in the second leg of their Champions League encounter with the London side, Bayern Munich have won 14 of 15 matches—drawing the other—while outscoring their opponents a combined 50-10.
Stuttgart, over the same number of matches coming into Saturday, won only six times while losing seven and drawing twice. They have been outscored 21-17 in their last 15 matches.
Team news: Bayern will be without defender Dante and midfielder Luiz Gustavo, both of whom have traveled to Brazil in preparation for Sunday’s friendly against England and the upcoming Confederations Cup. Injured playmaker Toni Kroos is not expected to feature in Saturday’s final and defender Holger Badstuber is sidelined long-term with a knee injury.
On the other side of the ball striker Cacau will be available for selection after regaining match-fitness although Labbadia’s injury list still includes defender Felipe and midfielders Mamadou Bah, Daniel Didavi and Tamas Hajnal. Defender Antonio Rudiger is suspended.
Projected Bayern Munich XI: Neuer; Lahm, van Buyten, Boateng, Alaba; Schweinsteiger, Martinez; Robben, Muller, Ribery; Mandzukic
Projected Stuttgart XI: Ulreich; Sakai, Tasci, Niedermeier, Molinaro; Gentner, Boka; Harnik, Maxim, Traore; Ibisevic
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 Stuttgart
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