THE GERMANS HAVE invaded London for this evening’s showdown.
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Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Bayern Munich
18.26 – Guten abend und herzlich willkommen! London is the venue for 2013 Champions League final as Germany’s two biggest clubs face off for the right to call themselves champions of Europe.
We’re still over an hour away from kick-off but both sets of fans have been soaking up the atmosphere since early this morning.
Credit: Press Association
18.32 – The teams are in and they’re as we expected:
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba, Martinez, Schweinsteiger, Robben, Muller, Ribery, Mandzukic.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer, Gundogan, Bender, Blaszczykowski, Reus, Grosskreutz, Lewandowski.
18.34 – And Wembley is beginning to fill up…
And if you’re hosting a Champions League final party, you better get down to your local Lederhosen stockist quick!
18.51 – No, Justin Bieber isn’t at Wembley (at least we don’t think he is). That’s Mario Gotze, Borussia Dortmund’s soon-to-be departing midfielder. He’s off to Bayern in the summer and misses out tonight due to injury.
19.10 – €100-a-pop for an official match ball? I’ll take two…
Credit: Darren Rovell
19.16 – Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is expected to deploy a 4-3-3 formation, with Kevin Grosskreutz moving infield from the left flank to stiffen the midfield.
Bayern, who play 4-2-3-1, have made just one change from the team that completed a 7-0 aggregate win over Barcelona in the semi-finals, with Brazilian central defender Dante replacing Daniel Van Buyten.
In the absence of injured attacking midfielder Toni Kroos, lone striker Mario Mandzukic is supported by Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller.
Bayern are bidding to win their fifth European Cup, following defeats in the final in 2010 and 2012, while Dortmund are appearing in their first final since winning the trophy for the only time in 1997.
19.26 – 12 months ago, Bayern suffered heartbreak at their home ground. Ending 1-1 after 120 minutes, a penalty shootout saw Bastian Schweinsteiger’s spot-kick tipped onto the post by Petr Cech before Didier Drogba’s winner.
YouTube credit: superkally
19.33 – In our poll, it is clear that Dortmund are the peoples’ favourites to win despite the fact that Bayern are the bookies’ choice.
You can still vote here:
19.36 – Eamon Dunphy fans, here he is giving his two cents’ worth. He’s predicting a close game which could go to extra-time.
YouTube credit: RDinHD
19.36 – The pre-match ceremony has begun and there’s a horse on the pitch. Not strange at all.
19.40 – Now there’s a medieval battle taking place on the field.
Credit: RTE.ie screengrab
19.41 – Bastian Schweinsteiger picked up a knock in the warm-up but has shaken it off and will start. That would have been a huge loss.
19.43 – Here come the teams. Wembley looks impressive.
19.45 – The referee for tonight is Nicola Rizzoli. He flips the coin and Dortmund win the toss.
19.47 – And they’ve kicked off. Bayern, wearing all red, get us underway. Dortmund are in their traditional yellow and black stripes.
19.56 – Frantic tempo to the opening ten minutes with nothing in the way of clear-cut chances. Dortmund pressing high and Bayern just beginning to string a couple of passes in the opposing half.
Polish international Kuba Blaszczykowski gets a ball back after attempting a through-ball but blazes it over the bar.
20.01 – Robert Lewandowski has shown a glimpse of his talent in the past couple of minutes – his latest effort forces Manuel Neuer into a decent save.
From the resulting corner, the ball is cleared but Reus is picked out by Gundogan and his cross is directed on target by Blaszczykowski. Neuer is on hand to turn it around the post.
20.06 – It’s Dortmund again on the attack, the increasingly-involved Neuer palming Reus’ strike away.
20.10 – Not the easiest player in the world to spell…
I’ve got the word ‘Blaszczykowski’ saved in a document and am copy and pasting it across to save myself the hassle of misspelling it.
Meanwhile, Sven Bender has had an effort on goal. Bayern yet to get going. Ribery and Robben been quiet.
20.14 – Ribery catches Lewandowski rather cynically with an outstretched arm and concedes the free. The Frenchman then creates a super chance for Bayern – his cross is headed on goal by Mandzukic and Weidenfeller saves.
When the corner comes in, Javi Martinez isn’t far away with his header. Better from the Bavarians.
20.17 – Yellow card for Bayern centre-half Dante. Reus drags it by the Brazilian who decides to obstruct him.
All of a sudden, Robben has acres of space in front of him. He storms down on goal but Weidenfeller stands tall to make a block.
20.22 – So far, it has been all about the goalkeepers. Lewandowski is away from Boateng from with his first touch but Neuer is out like swiftly to narrow the angle.
20.24 – Robben is through but, unfortunately, is on his right foot. He hesitates and defenders crowd him out. Muller’s header from the resulting corner goes wide.
20.30 – With 5 minutes to play before half-time, it’s an extremely evenly-matched contest. Nothing between them.
Reus has skewed a shot wide and Robben then blasts his attempt at Weidenfeller’s when a long ball falls kindly for him. Should’ve done better.
20.32 – Half-time: Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Bayern Munich
Weidenfeller saves with his face from Robben.
20.46 – Second half, here we go.
20.50 – Early free-kick for Dortmund. Reus gets plenty of whip on it but it comes off the head of a defender and Neuer is out to collect the high ball.
20.59 – Mandzukic takes an elbow to the head from Subotic before Boateng is caught in the face by a trailing leg of Reus. They’ll both live.
21.02 – GOAL! Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Bayern Munich (Mario Mandzukic)
They’ve broken the deadlock! Ribery threads through to Robben, who cuts back for the Croatian striker to stroke home from close range.
21.08 – PENALTY TO DORTMUND!
21.10 – GOAL! Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Bayern Munich (Ilkay Gundogan)
Reus is brought down and it’s Gundogan and not Lewandowski who steps up. The German international finds the back of the net for his first Champions League goal.
21.14 – WHAT. A. CLEARANCE. Tomas Muller goes past Weidenfeller and rolls the ball towards the goal but Subotic makes an unbelievable clearance on the line with Robben ready to tap in.
21.16 – Lewandowski smashes in a volley from distance but the ball is brought back for a handball from the striker. It would have been some goal.
21.18 – We’ve witnessed a much more open second half. David Alaba, who scored against Ireland back in March, hits a powerful strike which is punched away.
21.19 – That Subotic clearance.
YouTube credit: Franck Ribery
21.20 – Muller gets away from the last man and plays a pass when being pulled by Subotic. Mandzukic shoots from a narrow angle but can only find the sidenetting.
21.22 – Boateng is receiving treatment at what looked like an intentional stamp from Lewandowski.
Credit: Feint Zebra
21.28 – 5 minutes to play. Still no substitutions made. Extra-time beckoning?
21.30 – Good build-up play by Bayern and Muller leaves it for Schweinsteiger, who lets fly. Not for the first time, Weidenfeller is a match.
21.30 – GOAL! Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Bayern Munich (Arjen Robben)
My word… he has surely won it. The Dutchman weaves his way past a couple of defenders and slops the ball into the bottom corner. Incredible.
21.35 – And after missing a penalty in last year’s final. Redemption.
21.36 – Full-time: Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Bayern Munich
21.40 – Brilliant final.
21.53 – Klopp shakes Michel Platini’s hand. You’ve got to feel for the Dortmund manager and his players. Bayern suffered the disappointment last season, however, and they are worthy winners.
On a side note, make August 30 into your diary… it’s likely to be Pep Guardiola’s Bayern v Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. What a start to the season that would be.
21.59 – That’s my lot, cheers for joining me.