Friday, May 24, 2013

[Sports] UEFA Champions League Final Preview


The time has come, the most important club football match of the year will be played tomorrow at Wembley Stadium in London in front 90,000 fans and hundreds of millions around the world. Here's everything you need to know about the match to impress your hipster friends.

1. The Champions League final is considered more prestigious than the World Cup (international play) because the level of play is greater than with the national teams. Think about it, club football takes the best players from around the world and puts them in one team, then the said players practice everyday and basically live together for years. On the other hand, the national teams are limited to the players from their respective country, play a couple of friendly matches a year together (unless it's qualifying time) and hardly practice as a full squad. Of course, the level of play at the Champions League is a gazillion times better.

2. This year's final pits two German clubs against each other for the first time. This is a testament to Germany's investment in the game throughout all levels as you'll witness a lot of German players on both squads. Here's everything you need to know about Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

FC BAYERN MUNICH:



They're considered the jewel of Germany. They've won the most domestic league cups in Germany and they've also won four European Cups (Champions League titles), only Real Madrid, AC Milan and Liverpool have won it more times (European Cups) than Bayern Munich. Also, they're one of the richest clubs in Europe which basically means they can flex their financial muscles with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Paris St-Germain and FC Barcelona. One of the intriguing storylines of this final is the fact that they bought Mario Gotze for roughly $48 million. Who is Mario Gotze? Oh, he's just one of Borussia Dortmund's best players and he's ruled out of the Champions League final due to a hamstring injury.

Bayern are also having a historic season, they won the Bundesliga title (first division of german football) a record-breaking six games before the end of the season. They broke the record for most points in a season (91), breaking Borussia Dortmund's record of 81 by a whopping 10 points. They've won 29 of their 34 games in the bundesliga, which also breaks Dortmund's record of 25 wins. They've accumulated a goal difference of +80 breaking their previous record set in 1972 of +64. They also haven't lost a single match on the road as well. The list goes on and on and on. In short, they're having a season for the ages.

Who they've beaten to get here:  They had a little bit of a scare in the round of sixteen as they beat Arsenal 3-3 on away goals. But they've been a wrecking ball ever since, they've absolutely humiliated the Spanish Champions FC Barcelona 7-0 in the semi-finals and they also beat up the Italian Champions Juventus 4-0 in the quarter-finals.

Players to watch: Toni Kroos, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Tomas Muller.

Other things to know: They have an awesome stadium that changes colors, they bailed out Borussia Dortmund in 2004 and it's the last match for their 68 year old manager Jupp Heynckes who is going to be replaced by FC Barcelona mastermind Pep Guardiola. Also, this awesome internet button dedicated to their striker Mario Gomez.


BORUSSIA DORTMUND:



Historically, this is a team that has had alot of success in German Football. Not quite like Bayern Munich of course but they're considered one of the most important clubs in Germany. They're also a public company, that means you can buy shares of the team on the German Stock Market (BVB:Gr). They're nowhere close to having the financial ressources that Bayern have but they've managed to build an epic squad through great scouting and player development. 

Dortmund have won the german Bundesliga the last two years and finished in second place this year. In the last two seasons, Dortmund have sold two of their best players to traditional powerhouses Manchester United and Bayern Munich (Shinji Kagawa and Mario Goetze). And there are on going rumours that their star striker Robert Lewandowski is also going to be sold to another powerhouse. Basically, they're a selling club.

Who they've beaten to get here: They easily defeated the Ukrainian champs Shakhtar Donetsk 5-2 in the round of 16. They had a scare against the Spanish club Malaga who were considered a huge underdog. However, they went on put a club defining performance at home beating Real Madrid 4-1 and eventually beating the Spanish giants 4-3 on aggregate in the semis.

Players to watch: Their prized possession Robert Lewandowski, the crafty midfielder Marco Reus and their solid defensive back duo Mats Hummels (potentially linked to FC Barcelona) and Neven Subotic.

Other things to know: They have the biggest stadium in Germany and their fans are fantastic, their manager Jurgen Klopp is so awesome that there's a song named "I wanna be like Jurgen Klopp", Borussia Dortmund invented a futuristic training machine to develop their young players.

So there you have it, everything you need to know (roughly) about tomorrow's Champions League Final. Go drop some knowledge on your friends and enjoy the copious amounts of alcohol. For all ya'll in North America, coverage begins at 2:00PM EST. 


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