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How Germany won the Champions League

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Ahead of the final on Saturday, The Guardian’s Bundesliga expert Rafael Honigstein, reveals how Munich and Dortmund conquered Europe

TOTAL COMMITMENT

“Whereas Bayern have always been a European powerhouse, Dortmund have come a long since almost going bankrupt in 2005, winning domestic titles in 2011 and 2012. They find themselves in the Champions League because they’ve solely focused on it this year - so high is their energy that keeping it up over three competitions wasn’t possible.”

SCOUTS’ HONOUR

“Dortmund’s scouting system was given a huge overhaul a few seasons ago, which has subsequently seen them pick up some great players under the radar of bigger clubs, like Robert Lewandowski who currently only trails Cristiano Ronaldo [12] in the golden boot stakes with 10, and he made a big difference against Bayern when Dortmund beat them 5-2 in the cup a year ago, scoring a hat-trick.”

PRESSING MATTERS

“Unlike recent years when Bayern were just expected to outplay the opposition, they’ve learnt to press more. Dortmund, on the other hand, only press when their opponents reach the halfway line. They don’t like to play with possession. In fact when they won 3-0 against Ajax at home they only saw 33 per cent of the ball.”

UNORTHDOX TALENT

“With frightening pace, intelligent runs and excellent finishing, Marco Reus isn’t your typical European midfielder. He’s taken Dortmund to the next level, allowing them to win the ball in midfield and get it to goal with a maximum of three passes. Bayern also have a strangely skilled player in Thomas Muller - while technically not the best footballer, his decision-making and work-rate is world class. He’s been unplayable in his own strange little way.”

Words: Joe Ellison / Image: Rex

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