Bayern Munich must plan without Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Mandzukic
Pep Guardiola’s side take on Borussia Dortmund in German cup final
Bayern Munich’s coach Pep Guardiola at a news conference ahead of the German soccer cup (DFB Pokal) final against Borussia Dortmund at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. Photograph: Reuters
Out-of-form Bayern Munich will be without injured midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and forward Mario Mandzukic when they meet Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup final today, according to coach Pep Guardiola.
Schweinsteiger did not train the last two days and ran only briefly before feeling pain in his knee, said the Spaniard, chasing the domestic league and Cup double in his first season in charge.
Guardiola said he had also decided to leave top scorer Mario Mandzukic in Munich despite the Croatian being fit to play with reports of his departure after being on the bench often this season increasing. “This was my decision. He was fit he could play but we have 18 players and I will play with them,” he said. “It is my decision.”
Bayern, already without Thiago Alcantara who underwent knee surgery on Thursday, are desperate to end the season on a high with a domestic double after their form nose-dived spectacularly following their title victory in March with seven games remaining. They missed out on becoming the first team to successfully defend their Champions League title after being eliminated by Real Madrid in the semi-finals.
Dortmund are in fine form and beat Bayern 3-0 in the league last month to reclaim some bragging rights after their rivals’ treble season last year which included beating Dortmund in the Champions League final. “This is the biggest final you can play as it is the realistic goal at the end of the season,” Klopp said. “And you have to beat Bayern either en route or in the final.” Their dress rehearsal in Berlin on Saturday was perfect with a 4-0 victory over Hertha Berlin and forward Robert Lewandowski becoming the league’s top scorer following his two goals. His return to the capital’s Olympic stadium will be his last appearance with a Dortmund shirt as the Poland international will join Bayern next season.
Broadcast to a record 189 countries, the German Cup final is a repeat of the 2012 edition when Dortmund demolished Bayern 5-2 to win the trophy. “The result of that game will give us a lot of strength for tomorrow’s game and we hope it will end the same way tomorrow,” Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl said.