by Mike Njoroge
“Two World Wars,
And one World Cup,
Two World Wars,
And one World Cup,
England all the way,
That is the chant that bellows whenever England goes to a major tournament, and especially whenever German fans are at close quarters. Of course, it is meant as a mockery of Germany. England defeated them in two World Wars, then lifted the World Cup against them in 1966.
But that is the 60’s, and the song though still appropriate now ignores some major factors. Germany recovered from those World War defeats and are now the largest economy in the Eurozone. In as far as international tournaments are concerned also, Germany now boasts three World Cups, three European Championships, and various penalty shootout wins along the way.
However, in as far as international club football is concerned, England shades it.
In the European Cup, which is more than a worthy barometer, England boast a total of 11 wins, spread out over five clubs. This is better than Germany’s six wins spread out over three clubs.
On Saturday however, it will be two German clubs facing off in the European Cup final in England.
Wembley will be the stage upon which undoubtedly Germany adds to their tally of European Cup wins. What however is not clear is whether it will be Bayern Munich, or Borussia Dortmund.
Bayern Munich will have the edge. They will be buouyed by the fact that they finished the German League season 25 points clear of Dortmund. Of course, with the varying degrees to which league football rises and sets, that is not a clear indication of how far Bayern are from Dortmund. And that is unlikely to manifest in Wembley.
Dortmund does have a good record against Bayern. In fact, they boast an undefeated run in the last six league meetings. Of late, Bayern have only got the better of them in the Cup competitions, with the two league games this season ending in draws.
Clearly, separating them is harder than it seems. Then, there is both teams respective Champions League cup runs.
Dortmund have lost only one game — the second leg of the semi-final at Real Madrid. All through though, they have put tantalizing displays. Quick, transition based, counter attacking while at the same time, possession based football has ensured that they find themselves in the final as a matter of merit rather than chance.
That though does not compare to Bayern’s, who with the dethroning of mighty Barcelona showed just where they are headed in the future. Indeed, their blistering pace and tactical organisation has seen them overcome the likes of Juventus and Arsenal. Their path to the final has seemed more difficult; it is their path that illuminates brighter.
Coming into this game, they will thus be favourites. Their history will also be on their side — they remain the last club to ever lift the trophy three years consecutively — and the fact that they have got to more finals may prove a point of reference. Indeed, the fact that they lost out last season will prove a point of motivation. Coupled with the loss in the final in 2010, Bayern will be hoping that the third time proves a charm.
Dortmund though will carry the confidence of a worthy underdog with a very realistic chance of upsetting the heavyweight. That, at least, sees them as the neutral’s choice. With that somehow helping unfancied Chelsea in last year’s final, Dortmund will hope to build on that.
Discounting Dortmund though will be a huge peril. Despite missing Mario Gotze through injury, this is a team that has been determined from the get go to lift this trophy. In the process, they inadvertedly and unknowingly set themselves up to suffer in the league as all energies were put into this. A win here will be in the minds of all their players, and it will be a fitting culmination to their season.
That will depend however on what happens at Wembley. With these two clubs clashing, a supernova effect may just be about to be unleashed on the world. Eyes will turn as the bright lights of Europe’s stars illuminate a grand stage.
Germany’s titans will clash in England before the world’s eyes.
Mike Njoroge has been a guest blogger on Superfoota before. He also writes the blog, Futbol Triangle
You can catch more of his writings there, plus you can also follow him on twitter, @Mikenjoro
image courtesy of zimbio