1. “Both sides love to attack,” says former England international and Cologne striker Tony Woodcock. “Dortmund are young and energetic, while Bayern Munich have got some big international stars like Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry in their ranks – this is going to be an attacking showcase for the German Bundesliga.”
2. “Bayern have got height, power and pace and a winning mentality, which is a lethal combination. But in Robert Lewandowski, Dortmund have a striker who just needs half a chance to turn the game,” says Woodcock, who once won the European Cup with Nottingham Forest in 1979, and who remains one of the few Englishmen to have forged a successful career in the Bundesliga.
3. “German football is on a real high at the moment,” says Woodcock. “But the key is to sustain it. The Spanish are technically brilliant, while the Germans have always been organised and robust. But now the Germans have also developed that technical excellence allied to a high-tempo pressing game so it’s an irresistible type of football.” He wasn’t surprised that Bayern thumped Barcelona 7–0 over two legs in the semi-final and Dortmund beat Real Madrid 4–3. “That class is reflected in the German national team, too.”
4. Home-grown talent flourishes in the Bundesliga. Clubs must pick 12 German players in their matchday squads, whereas the Premier League conforms to Uefa’s rule of only eight (including foreign nationals who have spent three years at a Premier League club academy). Little wonder that the Dortmund team that took on Manchester City in the first leg of the group stages in the Champions League contained seven Germans, while the City team started with only one Englishman, Joe Hart. “We don’t have to buy so many ageing foreigners any more,” explains Bayern’s Thomas Müller, 23.
5. Germany’s “50+1” principle requires that non profit-making supporters’ groups have to retain a majority stake in each Bundesliga club. Meaning ultimate control lies with the fans. As a result, ticket prices are low (Bayern season tickets start at €120), which in turn means crowds average above 42,000 – the best in Europe.
6. “The stadiums that were built for the 2006 World Cup are fantastic,” says Woodcock. “The football played by young, homegrown players is technically excellent and exciting to watch and fans pack the grounds out, creating an incredible atmosphere. I know fans who even travel from London to watch Borussia Dortmund because at £9 a ticket it still works out cheaper than watching Premier League football in London.”