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The 2012-13 Champions League season ends with the match-up that nobody could have anticipated – an all-German clash between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium.
The climax of the European football season will therefore see this season’s Bundesliga and Super Cup champions attempting to claim the treble against their biggest rivals in the German top flight.
Borussia Dortmund have been more than a match for Bayern Munich is recent seasons, winning three of their last six encounters against the Munich side, including a rare away win in the Bundesliga. Bayern has been ascendent over the past season, taking their two wins from the club’s three matches since August of last year, while the best that Borussia Dortmund have managed against Bayern this season was an away draw.
While Borussia Dortmund haven’t been able to match Bayern’s exploits in the Bundesliga, they’ve more than held their own in the Champions League this season. The club first turned heads during the tournament’s group stage, when they surprised critics by topping Group D, considered to be the toughest group in the tournament.
In finishing at the top of Group D, Borussia edged ahead of reigning Premiership title holders, Manchester City, Dutch powerhouse Ajax Amsterdam and La Liga Champions, Real Madrid. Their performances saw them beat every one of their Group D rivals without losing a single game.
In the first knockout round of the 2012-13 Champions League, Borussia comfortably beat Shakthar Donetsk 5-2 on aggregate. The quarterfinals saw them engage in a tense battle with Malaga, where they rebounded from a draw in the first leg of their tie to score a 3-2 win in the deciding fixture.
Then, in the semifinals, they produced one of the most memorable performances in recent Champions League history to humble Real Madrid 4-1 in Dortmund – a result that Real Madrid were unable to recover from despite winning the return fixture 2-0.
Over the course of their campaign, Borussia Dortmund have scored 23 goals in 12 fixtures, with Robert Lewandowski emerging as their most important player in the process of scoring 10 of these. Defence has not been as impressive, but did well to limit some of the strongest clubs in Europe to a goal a game as it let in 12 goals in twelve matches.
Bayern Munich’s passage to the final has not been quite as smooth. The Germans lost their second fixture of the group stages 3-1 to BATE Borisov, then incurred a second loss in the Round of 16 – losing 2-0 to Arsenal. Despite these defeats, Bayern’s high scoring rate allowed them to edge Malaga to second place in a surprisingly competitive Group F, and to progress through to the quarterfinals despite their defeat to Arsenal.
Since reaching the quarters Bayern have been nothing less than ruthless. The German club crushed Juventus 4-0 on aggregate in their quaterfinal tie, then handed Barcelona one of the club’s most humiliating defeats in its history, beating the Catalans 4-0 in Munich before drubbing them 3-0 at the Camp Nou.
Over the course of 12 matches against some of Europe’s top teams, Bayern have hammered home a formidable 28 goals. Their defence has been excellent, conceding just 9 goals in the Champions League this season, and maintaining clean sheets in their last four matches.
As their form shows, there’s not much to separate these two teams ahead of the final. Borussia have proven themselves the measure of Bayern, but are short on positive results this season. Meanwhile, Bayern’s high scoring rate cannot disguise the fact that they’ve lacked the measured, consistent approach of the undefeated Borussia Dortmund side.
In addition, Bayern have been labelled as chokers by critics, having competed in a number of Champions League finals as favourites, only to emerge as losers. The most recent example of a Bayern capitulation was the 2011-12 Champions League final, where they lost out to Chelsea after the English team leveled scores on the 88th minute and then went on to win the penalty shootout.
Based purely on their form in the last two rounds, Bayern should be favourites to win, and will take the title if they can produce the same level of performance. Borussia’s defence looks like it may struggle with the Bayern strikers, and Borussia’s Lewandowski may find himself marked out of the game by the stingy Bayern defence.
Despite their dominance this season, there are still decent odds available on Bayern winning the match. You can back the Bundesliga champions at 5/6 at Paddy Power, and a back bet on the favourites at this price is our 2012-13 Champions League final betting tip.
Ensure you keep an eye out for Paddy Power‘s special on the 2013 Champions League final, as Ireland’s top bookie is offering an unbeatable money back special on the match!