Champions League Final Preview, and Moyes axes Phelan from United backroom staff
Quote of the day: “Weaknesses?” Maybe that is a question for Dortmund. I don’t think we have any weaknesses at all.” Thomas Müller, Bayern Munich
Runner-up: “If this would be the only final in my life it’s the perfect place against the perfect opponent. If I die in 60 years and that’s the only final I go to, it’s not so bad.” – Jurgen Klopp, Borussia Dortmund
Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund: Champions League Final Preview
Last hurrah of Jupp Heynckes offers chance for Bayern Munich payback (David Hynter, The Guardian) What has happened since has given rise to two clear impressions. First, Heynckes is determined to bow out in a blaze of unprecedented glory. And second, he wants to make it fiendishly difficult for anybody, even Guardiola, to follow him. The Catalan may yet be primed to step into the impossible job.
Bayern Munich dare not think of surrendering Champions League to Dortmund (Daniel Taylor, The Guardian) There was a moment, as Thomas Müller sat on the top table at Wembley and looked far too relaxed for a man about to play one of the biggest games of his life, when the expression on his face conveyed the bemusement you might expect if he had just been asked to announce his pin number in the middle of a press conference. In fact, he had just been asked whether Bayern Munich had any weaknesses. “Weaknesses?” Müller replied. “Maybe that is a question for Dortmund. I don’t think we have any weaknesses at all.”
Jurgen Klopp masters the crying game to forge spirit that can shock Bayern Munich (James Lawton, The Independent) This week he recalled too the copious tears which accompanied his own departure from Mainz, where as man and boy he was a wholehearted player and then a mesmerisingly effective coach before joining Dortmund just a few years after they stepped back from the brink of bankruptcy, leading them to two straight Bundesliga titles and now this compelling challenge for the greatest prize in club football.
Arjen Robben still splits opinions (Tim Rich, The Independent) It was the kind of advert to make you look twice. Firstly, because the footballers were wearing leather shorts and drinking beer. Secondly, because among those doing the drinking was Arjen Robben. The image Robben has in Munich is of a man apart, who, according to Bayern’s great grey eminence Franz Beckenbauer, glories in his own selfishness.
David Moyes At Manchester United: Fergie’s backroom staff axed
Manchester United announce Mike Phelan is to leave the club (Ed Aarons, The Independent) The David Moyes era at Manchester United may not officially begin until 1 July but Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor took his first major decision with the announcement that long-serving coaches Mike Phelan and Eric Steele are to leave their posts, while outgoing chief executive David Gill also admitted he expects England striker Wayne Rooney to remain at the club next season.
David Moyes can settle down to a sneak preview of his Judgement Day (Richard Williams, The Guardian) It will be 45 years ago next Wednesday that Busby’s United blazed a trail by becoming the first English team to win the trophy. Their victory was achieved under the Wembley floodlights in a match that established once and for all the image of a club whose successes were achieved with style and drama. The legacy of that night is the expectation – burdensome to some, inspiring to others – that the successors to Busby and his players will achieve their victories with a similar panache.
Cann Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund stop the Bayern Munich Machine? (Sam Wallace, The Independent) This is FC Bayern, a club that scarcely encountered issues of self-esteem even when it was not considered the new force in Europe. Now they are strutting into their third Champions League final in four years, that belief seems unshakeable. Their coach Jupp Heynckes hailed his side yesterday as the best team in the last 50 years of the Bundesliga and the recent history is indeed hard to argue with.
Michel Platini: Football is in a Golden Age (Henry Winter, The Telegraph) Viewed through Premier League eyes, Uefa’s president is the martinet of Nyon, an administrator who devises strategy on a whim, an instinctive politician. “I’m not ‘instinctive’,’’ countered Platini, sipping a herbal tea in a Park Lane hotel. “Instinctive is animal. I’m a bear! I’m a lion! No. I’m intuitive. You’re totally wrong when you say I’m not democratic. I listen to people.
Lucas Leiva: Players need escape from pressures of English football to stay grounded (Chris Bascombe, The Telegraph) Lucas’ backstory is one of serenity rather than trauma, and an upbringing he believes has enabled him to achieve the correct balance between craving and preserving luxuries as a footballer while embracing the obligations that come with success.