Two of the biggest clubs in Germany will fight for a place in the DFB-Pokal final when Bayern Munich hostBorussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena Tonight.
Bayern are looking to take another step towards the treble after clinching the Bundesliga title at the weekend, while Jurgen Klopp continues his bid to finish his seven-year spell at Dortmund with another trophy.
Heynckes announced his retirement after leading the club to a famous treble, and despite moving to Germany with a fantastic reputation, Guardiola’s success has often been compared to that of his predecessor.
Guardiola lifted the Bundesliga title and the DFB-Pokal in his first year, and after league success was confirmed once again on Sunday, the focus now turns to triumphing in two other competitions.
The excitement is already building ahead of the Champions League semi-final clash with Barcelona, but the squad face another stern test on Tuesday in the hunt for the treble.
An emphatic triumph over Porto last week restored confidence to a team still battling with injuries, while some of the fringe players were given the chance to impress in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Hertha Berlin.
Clinching the title with four games remaining has allowed Guardiola to focus his attention on the two other trophies, but failure to win both will see him come in for criticism, despite his side’s excellent form in the Bundesliga.
However, morale is high following the Bundesliga triumph, and Bayern will be confident of continuing their fine home record having won 19 of their previous 21 matches at the Allianz Arena in all competitions.
After being forced to survive a penalty shootout against Bayer Leverkusen in the last eight, Guardiola may be preparing for another long night of drama as he looks to follow in the footsteps of Heynckes.
Recent form (all competitions): DWLWWW
When reflecting on his time at Signal Iduna Park, Klopp is unlikely to have many fond memories of the 2014-15 campaign, but throughout all of their struggles in the Bundesliga, Dortmund remain a feared side in cup competitions.
During a largely disappointing season, there have been glimpses of the team’s best form and trademark resilience, and those qualities were on display in a thrilling3-2 triumph over Hoffenheim after being forced into extra time in the previous round.
Successive victories in the Bundesliga have boosted confidence, too, and after moving closer to the top six with a 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, the squad are fully aware that they still have two good opportunities to qualify for the Europa League.
Most of the focus will be on Klopp’s efforts to add one more trophy to the cabinet before leaving the club, but if reports are true, it could be the final opportunity for a number of players to deliver success.
The likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Mats Hummels have been linked with moves away from Dortmund, and upsetting Bayern on the way to triumphing in the DFB-Pokal could be the perfect finish before a possible summer of change.
Recent form (all competitions): WLWLWW
Despite lacking in match fitness, Guardiola has hinted that he is considering including Robben in the squad for the game on Tuesday night, but a spot on the bench is likely to be the best the Dutchman can hope for following his battles with an abdominal problem.
However, Franck Ribery is not expected to be involved, while David Alaba is still bidding to return before the end of the campaign.
A throat infection kept Gundogan out at the weekend, and he remains a doubt for Dortmund, who are still unsure whether Kevin Grosskreutz will be fit enough to be in action.
Marco Reus was fit enough to come off the bench against Frankfurt, and the attacking midfielder is likely to be including in the starting lineup following his own injury problems.
Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Bernat, Dante, Boateng, Lahm; Alonso, Schweinsteiger, Thiago, Gotze, Muller; Lewandowski
Borussia Dortmund possible starting lineup:
Langerak; Schmelzer, Hummels, Sokratis, Durm; Bender, Ginter, Kagawa, Mkhitaryan, Reus; Aubameyang
Head To Head
The two sides met just three weeks ago at Signal Iduna Park, and it was former Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski who played the villain on that day as he earned Bayern a league double with the winner in a1-0 victory.
However, in recent years Dortmund have managed to enjoy their fair share of success against the Bavarian club, with both teams winning two of the previous five meetings in all competitions.
In last season’s final it was Bayern who were left celebrating after goals from Robben and Thomas Muller in extra time secured a dramatic 2-0 win.
|8245||BAYERN MUNCHEN1.38||4.00||BORUSSIA DORTMUND5.68|