clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Writer Forum: Which Mario Should Start in Champions League Final?

With the Champions League Final only 11 days away, the BFW Writers answer a burning question: Who should be up top in the Champions League Final? Mario Gomez or Mario Mandžukić? Here's what we had to say:

Alex Grimm

Ryan Cowper: Mario Mandzukic

Mario Mandzukic should be the starting striker come May 25th. This is independent of form, goals, assists, or speed and comes simply down to his ability to press. Despite the quality of Mario Gomez, what he lacks that Mandzukic brings to the table is the engine. That ability to run and run, press and press, has been one of the keystones of Bayern's dominance this season, and is exactly what FC Bayern need against Borussia Dortmund. Ilkay Gundogan, Sebastian Kehl and/or Sven Bender cannot be comfortable on the ball in this match. Gundogen in particular, with his ability to dictate play from deep positions, and spring Reus and Blaszczykowski on the wings need to be blunted and the best way is to decrease his time on the ball and force him into lateral or backwards movement. With the absence of Mario Gotze for Dortmund, Gundogan is going to be the main conduit for creativity in Dortmund's squad, and with the high press engine Mario Mandzukic brings to Bayern's table, he is going to be the best choice to limit Dortmund and win the big eared trophy.

Samrin Hasib: Mario Mandzukic

While Mario Mandzukic's expert build up play and his 'go to hell' attitude towards keepers, defenders and defensive midfielders has helped Bayern really become a better all round team, Mario Gomez's goalscoring exploits cannot be ignored. Since his minor injury prior to the first leg of the semis of the Champions League, Mandzukic has been a bit "off" as such. I would have leaned towards Gomez; however, the opponent is Borussia Dortmund. I believe the two main reasons aside from the pressing introduced by Jupp Heynckes for the two victories and one draw against BVB are Javier Martinez and Mario Mandzukic. (Dante has also played his role of course). The victory in the Supercup was achieved without Martinez and with a DM duo of Kroos-Gustavo; Mandzu was the front man. I like the Croat and the German immensely. Leaving each one out would be sad for me. With a heavy heart, I declare Mario Mandzukic the winner of the battle. He should start the finale.

Phillip Quinn: Mario Mandzukic

How many clubs would love the opportunity to choose between two great forwards like Mario Mandzukic and Mario Gomez? We're a little spoiled here, let's be honest. For me, this is the toughest choice that Jupp Heynckes is going to have to make before the Final. I've been tossing this around in my head for some time now, and I've finally made my decision. Mario Mandzukic, if healthy, should start. His pestering/defensive work on Andrea Pirlo in the quarterfinal was instrumental in the club progressing to the next round against Barcelona. That's not to discount the work that Gomez put in against the Catalans. However, if Mandzukic can replicate that defensive work against Marco Reus, Bayern can find themselves in an advantageous position in London.

Scott Schroder: Mario Mandzukic

Simply put, Mandzu is extremely important in our strategy to out gegenpress the gegenpressers at their own game of gegenpressing. If Bayern are winning in say the 65th minute, leave him in to finish the match. However, if FCB need a goal, I feel better about Gomez or Pizarro in that situation. Let's hope it doesn't come to that, eh?

Davis VanOpdorp: Mario Gomez

You know, I've given this a lot of thought. I even wrote a pros and cons list to try and make my decision a little easier. Mario Mandzukic is great; he plays deep, has a high work rate, and can score goals. Mario Gomez, however, is a proven, celebrated goal scorer – he's scored 20 or more goals in three of the last five Bundesliga seasons, counting this one. Bayern have done well against Dortmund this year, winning twice an drawing twice, but watching the DFB Pokal, Bayern looked a little stagnant offensive with Mandzukic. Gomez has been gunpowder for Jupp Heynckes's side all year, being loaded from off the bench to provide a bigger bang (Exhibit A: his six-minute hat trick against VfL Wolfsburg). Of course, it seems like the roles are already pretty well intrenched, with Mandzukic covering every edge of the pitch for 70 or so minutes and then Gomez bringing a bang of the bench, but why not bring the bang first? Bayern already has a lot of holding guys, especially with Bastian Schweinsteiger or Javíer Martinez in the middle. why not have a guy provide a lot of high pressure and await Lahm and Ribéry crosses to tap in the back of the net? Mandzukic is a great player, but Gomez can help Bayern shoot ahead early, with Mandzukic coming in later. I know I would be tinkering with something that has worked all campaign, but why not throw something at Dortmund they have not seen before?

Enough from us! What do you think! Vote and comment below.

From all of us, thanks for reading.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bavarian Football Works Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Bayern Munich news from Bavarian Football Works