Wembley will provide the backdrop for two huge football fixtures over the next few days as the magnificent stadium hosts the Champions League final before the Championship play-off final on Monday.
Saturday’s Champions League showdown will be the first time in the tournament’s history that two German clubs have ever reached this stage. We have seen three finals where clubs from the same nation have met – England in 2008, Italy in 2003 and Spain in 2000.
Bayern Munich are here after dismantling Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate in a game that shook the footballing world. Perhaps most impressively is that they kept Barcelona out for two games to make it four successive European clean sheets. That’s one more than Borussia Dortmund have managed in 12 European fixtures and that’s where Bayern hold the edge.
Jupp Heynckes’ side are strong favourites, but their struggles on the biggest stage have been well documented. They have lost three of their past four finals and only last year Chelsea edged them out on penalties after dominating the game.
Even though Dortmund have not lost to their next opponents for six straight league games, they were utterly outplayed over the course of the campaign as Bayern romped to a 25 point advantage. This will be Heynckes final game in charge of the Bavarian club and I fancy them to send him off with the Champions League trophy.
Mario Gotze has been ruled out of the final and his supply for 10-goal man Robert Lewandowski will be sorely missed. Bayern on the other hand have no such worries and Franck Ribery is playing some of the best football I’ve seen from him. I’d recommend backing Bayern to win within 90 minutes to avenge last year’s disappointment.
Monday sees Watford and Crystal Palace meeting in the play-off final in a game that is reportedly worth £120 million to the victors. There’s no doubt that the Hornets have used the loop-hole in the loan system to build a decent side but it doesn’t subtract from Gianfranco Zola’s work.
Zola has his side playing with real flair and this promises to be an enthralling game. Brighton were favourites at home to Palace and Ian Holloway’s side executed a perfect plan and they fully deserved their 2-0 win on the South Coast.
Holloway has a superb record in the play-offs, but Watford are a class act. Glenn Murray’s absence is a big loss, but Wilfried Zaha is available and desperate to sign off his Palace career by sending his boyhood club to the top-flight.
Unfortunately Palace’s dreams are set to end in tears and I’m keen to back the Hornets to get the job done in 90 minutes.
Betting on BETDAQ – Alan’s Punts:
Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund – Back Bayern at 1.79
Watford v Crystal Palace – Back Watford at 2.30
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