This evening Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich play each other for the rights to be called the Champions of Europe at Wembley.
It will be the first all German Champions League final in the history of the competition.
The winner will become the first German winner of the competition since 2001, when Bayern lifted the trophy. The Munich club have lost in 2 of the last 3 finals, last year to Chelsea and 3 years ago to Mourinho’s Inter.
Dortmund have also won the competition, back in 1997, beating Juventus 3-1 in the final.
Perhaps more impressive are the paths the two teams took in reaching the final.
Dortmund we’re in ‘the group of death’ alongside 9 times winners Real Madrid and oil rich Manchester City.
Not only did Jurgen Klopp’s men manage to qualify, they won the group with 14 points, remaining unbeaten throughout. Impressive when you consider their group.
In the first knockout round they faced a tricky tie against Shakhtar Donetsk. A comfortable 3-0 home win was enough to see them win 5-2 on aggregate.
In the Quater finals they revealed a different side to their game. 2-1 down at home to Malaga going into stoppage time after a 0-0 draw in Spain, Dortmund needed to score twice. Something which they astonishingly did to reach the semi final.
In the Semi final they were again drawn against Real Madrid. In the first leg they tore the Spanish giants apart with arguably the best performance of the tournament, winning 4-1. To reach the final they held on in 2nd leg, despite losing 2-0. A monumental achievement.
Bayern had a slightly easier group, but there run through the knockout stages was incredible.
Grouped with Valencia, BATE and Lille, they topped the group with 13 points.
In the first knockout round, they were pitted against 2006 finalists, Arsenal. Bayern scored 3 away goals at the Emirates in an impressive 3-1 win. Despite a shaky second leg 2-0 defeat, they went through on away goals.
In the Quater finals they dealt with Italian champions Juventus, with great ease. Two 2-0 wins saw Bayern canter into the semi finals 4-0 on aggregate.
In the semi’s is where Bayern really showed their strength. They were given the plumb task of taking on Lionel Messi’s Barcelona, winners twice in the last 4 years and arguably, the ‘best team in the world.’ Bayern didn’t just beat Barca, they smashed them. A 7-0 aggregate win humiliated the Spanish club. At home Munich won 4-0 and then followed that up with a 3-0 win in Spain.
Whoever wins the final, the reputation of German football will have definitely improved over the last 12 months.
The two teams have earned their right to be in the final, playing some incredible football along the way. After Germany’s poor performance at Euro 2000, they changed the structure of football in the country. 13 years on, they are finally starting to see the benefit.
The number of German players amongst the teams is incredible, something that is missing within the Premier League.
Bayern have the likes of Neuer, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Muller, Gomez, Kroos, Badstuber and Boateng, whilst Dortmund have key players such as Weidenfeller, Kehl, Bender, Gotze (who will join Bayern in the summer), Reus, Hummels, Schmelzer and Großkreutz. This makes up almost half of the national squad from just two teams.
Next year, Pep Guardiola takes over at Bayern and having already signed Gotze, will only strengthen. Dortmund, under Klopp, will continue to progress, despite losing one of their key players.
German football is on the up. How will Spain, England and Italy react?