Two German clubs — Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich — will contest the 2012-13 Champions League final Saturday afternoon at London’s Wembley Stadium (Fox, 2:45 p.m.). Question: is an all-German Champions League final a good for anybody outside of David Hasselhoff’s booking agent?
It took until the 45th season of the European Cup/Champions League before a final was contested between two teams from the same country when Real Madrid defeated Valencia 3-0 at the 1999-2000 final at the Stade-de-France. That number seems low, but the competition began on a much smaller scale than the bloated 32-team (plus qualifying rounds) affair it is today.
The first European Cup only included 16 teams from 16 different nations involved when it began in 1955.
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Since that all-Spanish final in 2000, two other single-nation finals have been played — each decided on penalty kicks.
Based on that small sample size, it doesn’t bode well for the Dortmund/Bayern match, albeit the previous matches should have no bearing on this month’s final. It’s hard to see either manger — Dortmund’s Jurgen Klopp or Bayern’s Jupp Heynckes — telling their players how the previous same nation finals were crummy and that they have a dim reputation to live up to for the worldwide television audience larger than the Super Bowl. Aside from the fact the finals have two teams playing from the same country, they are completely independent of each other.
The two German clubs have played four matches already this season. Both Bundesliga games finished as 1-1 draws. Bayern defeated Dortmund 1-0 in the DFB-Pokal quarterfinals on an Arjen Robben goal and also won 2-1 in the German Super Cup in August. Unlike their free-flowing reputations, the games behind the two teams haven’t exactly been goal-fests.
Neither of these teams play cagey, close to the vest soccer. It’s not in their DNA.
Anyway, since the video is out there, let’s go back and look at the three other Champions League finals with only one nation’s club represented.
1999-2000 — Real Madrid defeats 3-0 Valencia:
Probably the “best” of the three finals in question since it had the most goals scored. Sorry for the poor video quality that makes the Valencia players look like Oompa Loompas.
2002-03 — AC Milan 0, Juventus 0 (Milan wins in penalties.)
Not sure why anyone would want to relive this one, bar for a laugh at Junventus’ comically baggy uniforms. Some people who attended the match at Old Trafford still haven’t woken up.
2007-08 — Manchester United 1, Chelsea 1 (Manchester United wins in penalties):
Weeping John Terry set to the music of the Stone Roses? Yes please.
If there’s a guess to who’ll be in tears by the final whistle, put the money on Bayern’s Bastian Schweinsteiger should the club lose in the Champions League final for the third time in four years. Remember, strong men also cry.
Don’t think that’s going to happen on Saturday. Pencil in Bayern with a convincing 2-0 win.