German football fans and viewers in over 200 countries and regions around the globe will get a maximum on emotions when league champions Bayern Munich face Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup final in Berlin’ s Olympic Stadium this Saturday.
It is not only the last game of the season for Germany’ s top two teams in the league championship but it is also a farewell game for two important figures in the nation’ s football.
The Spanish coach Pep Guardiola will leave for Manchester City for next season and Dortmund defender Mats Hummels will join his cup opponents next season – but only one of the two will have a happy end and a winner’ s party.
So it is not only the sporting duel of two of European football’ s big guns in front of a huge audience, but a duel of emotions. Bayern`s players see the chance of finishing a good season and say good bye to Guardiola after three years. And Mats Hummels is the one who will have to beat his future teammates and avoid accusations that he was not prepared to “die” for his current club.
“I will give no quarter. I don’ t want to hear people saying that I didn’ t do everything and was already half at Bayern Munich,” said Hummels.
The 27-year-old German international played eight years for Borussia Dortmund and twice won the German Championship (2011 and 2012) and the German Cup (2012). He began his career as a seven-year-old at Bayern Munich in 1995. He played for the club until 2007 before joining Borussia Dortmund as his home club did not expect him to make it into their first team.
Now the 2014 world champion will not only meet his future teammates in a thrilling final but will also have to face his current club in the 2016/2017 season curtain raiser when the German Champions and the league runners-up will again go head-to-head. “Of course it’ s more than a normal game, it is more than a normal final as well, but I promise to do everything to win the cup with Borussia Dortmund,” Hummels said.
Winning the cup would be his farewell present to Dortmund and its fans who are still upset about Hummels’ move to Dortmund`s biggest rival Bayern Munich for 35 million euro.
The “problem” Pep Guardiola is facing might be much more difficult. If the 45-year-old Spaniard manages to win the final, which would be his second “double” in his three years in Munich, his era in Germany might be regarded to as being fairly good after all. If he loses, Guardiola will have to live with public opinion that he did not bring the expected success when missing out on a place in the Champions League final in each of his three seasons at the club, the winners of the treble in 2013.
“I’ m sure we’ ll win the final,” said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm. “After all we want to dedicate this Cup final to Pep Guardiola and see it as a farewell present for him.”
And the club’ s keeper Manuel Neuer added: “We don`t expect Mats Hummels to have any problems. He’ s still playing for Borussia Dortmund and of course he wants to win the final for his club.”
Losing for Mats Hummels will mean he will have lost his third consecutive cup final after Dortmund was beaten 2-0 by Bayern in 2014 and 3-1 by VfL Wolfsburg in 2015. Dortmund have won the cup on three occasions (1965, 1989 and 2012) and record winner Bayern have lifted the cup 17 times.
As for Pep Guardiola, the 2016 final is also a duel against a coach he admires. He went to dinner Thomas Tuchel before the latter took over Borussia Dortmund. It took several hours and both coaches hardly got down any food as they were talking tactics for most of the time.
“We think about football in the same way, ” Guardiola says about 42-year-old Tuchel. “He is a coach thinking about football all around the clock, about his tactics, the opponents and his players. That’ s what I like about him,” Guardiola said.
And Thomas Tuchel is a big admirer of Guardiola saying: “I learned so much by watching the games of Pep Guardiola. Every game and training session is a new inspiration.” Both called the 2016 German Cup final “a very special game” with a high amount of emotions.
The 2016 cup final will be the third duel between Guardiola and Tuchel. In the Bundesliga, Guardiola managed to beat Tuchel 5-1 in the first game in Munich and a 0-0 draw in the rematch in Dortmund. But meanwhile Thomas Tuchel and Borussia Dortmund have improved their performance. “Just remember we are playing the second best team in Germany, a team that was right on our heels until the end of the season. It’ s going to be very tough. There’ s little between the two clubs,” said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm.
And Mats Hummels meanwhile hopes the game will not end in a penalty shootout. “Having to shoot a penalty in a situation like that is like you would carry 20 tons of extra weight on your shoulders,” Hummels said.