Preview: FC Bayern vs. Borussia Dortmund

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 24: (L-R) Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger of FC Bayern Muenchen attend the training session, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid, at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on April 24, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

In the final of the 2011-2012 DFB Pokal. Throughout the season, we've been talking about gunning for trophies in all three competitions. Well, in the Bundesliga, we came up a bit short (second place is not embarrassing, but we truly did blow our chances when it mattered). In the Champions League, we've accomplished everything we wanted so far, with the Final in a week and a half. But first, we need to put all that aside and focus on the Pokal, which we haven't won since 2010 and which presents us with a little opportunity for revenge against BVB.

The Line-up

This being only Wednesday, the club's official site has no hints as to possible line-ups, although there is a nice interview with David Alaba. With a full week between this match and the CL Final, it's hard to imagine we're going to be resting any of our key players unless they're less than 100 percent fit. Additionally, with Gustavo, Alaba and Badstuber suspended for the CL Final, they're almost certain to play, this being their last match of the season. Gustavo had an injury before last weekend's match, but it looks like he's returned to practice.

My guess:


Ribery - Kroos - Robben

Schweinsteiger - Gustavo

Alaba - Badstuber - Boateng - Lahm


Only possible wrinkles would be Tymoschuk at CB, to get him ready for the role he's likely going to have to play in the CL Final, and van Buyten, for the same reason. But if either of those two get in along the back line, I imagine it would be off the bench, not as starters.

The Opponent

Say what you will about Dortmund, they deserve credit for a great Bundesliga campaign: 80 goals scored, 81 points, and only 3 losses on the year. Their 2 matches against Bayern both ended in 1-0 victories for BVB. The first came on that weird play where the ball bounced up in the air and landed on Götze's foot, and the second was the recent match with the Lewandowski deflected and the Robben penalty miss. So you wouldn't say that Dortmund has really dominated play against us. In both of those matches, we had over 55 percent of the possession and seemed to control the midfield for most of the match. Still, we failed to create much offensively. If we go through this entire match without scoring a goal, it's going to be really depressing.

Last week vs. Kaiserslautern, BVB left Barrios and Götze on the bench to start, although they both get in during the second half. If I had to guess, I'd say that Götze, at least, will be in the starting line-up this weekend. Although the front 4 of Lewandowski, Grosskreutz, Kagawa and Kuba has been deadly, so I wouldn't be shocked to see Götze on the bench again.

Elsewhere in the Competition

Nothing - this is it for the Pokal. Although if anyone's interested in catching QPR / Man City on Sunday and rooting for the underdogs, your supportive thoughts are appreciated.

Final Notes

- We already sort of knew this, but Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud says his representatives have held talks with the Bayern board. We'll keep you apprised.

- There are also reports that Bayern is interested in Leighton Baines of Everton.

- The match starts at 8 PM local time in Berlin, 2 PM Eastern here in the USA. It will be carried live on ESPN 3 in North America, and we'll be here Saturday morning with the Match Day Thread.

- I've got the flu, so I'm not going to be able to sit around and hold everyone's hand this week. If you think someone insulted you, flag their comment (it will automatically notify me the next time I sign in) and just ignore them. Thanks for reading.

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