Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will contest the first all-German Champions League final tonight in London.
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Jupp Heynckes: Not feeling the pressure Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes dismissed suggestions he is feeling nervous ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.
Heynckes will leave take charge of Bayern for the penultimate time, having already helped them depose Dortmund as Bundesliga champions and guiding them to the German Cup final against Stuttgart on 1 June.
The 68-year-old will be keen to secure the treble before handing over to Pep Guardiola at the end of the season but he was in relaxed mood at Friday’s pre-match media conference.
“I’m sure I’ll be able to sleep soundly,” he said.
“The match has a different importance to a Bundesliga game or a German Cup game, but it’s a football match, with 11 players on each side.
“Both teams are German and a German team will win.
That’s what I’ll think about in bed tonight.
I have nothing to worry about.” Heynckes led Real Madrid to Champions League glory in 1998 but Bayern, who last won the European Cup in 2001, were beaten finalists in 2010 and again last year, when Chelsea were the victors.
That could add to the pressure on Bayern but Heynkes himself insists he has seen it all before.
“Last Saturday, the game against Borussia Moenchengladbach was my last Bundesliga match as a coach and tomorrow will probably be my last opportunity to hold one of these trophies with my own hands,” he added.
“Tomorrow is a special game for Bayern.
We have a generation of players who are a bit older – 28, 29, 30 – and for those players, it would be the crowning glory of their careers.
“For me as well, of course, but I’m a bit more laid-back because I’ve experienced this before with Real Madrid.
For Munich, it’s a really important match, but for me, it’s just another match.” Last season’s defeat to Chelsea came on home soil at the Allianz Arena and Heynckes is hoping their luck improves at Wembley.
“Of course it’s a place with real tradition in English football, international football and European football,” he said.
“And I think that’s a particular incentive for the players, to be playing in such a venerable location for a Champions League final.
“We will have two different fan groups here from Germany tomorrow, which very rarely happens, and I think the atmosphere will be unique.
“We hope Wembley will turn out to be a better venue for us (than Munich).
Maybe another city will bring us luck.
“Last year in the Allianz Arena, our own stadium, we were the better team and perhaps the football gods will be on our side tomorrow.” As for opponents Dortmund, Heynckes admits he has been impressed by Juergen Klopp’s side.
“In recent years, Borussia Dortmund have been playing at a high level,” he added.
“The team’s been advancing and creating their own kind of play.
“Both coaches play a very modern game and the collective approach is the focus for both teams, but we both have great individuals as well.
“On the pitch, I think it’ll be intense, that’s obvious.
You expect that in a Champions League final.
“There’ll be a quick pace, lots of one-on-one challenges, a lot of passing and both teams will be working hard to win.”
Just 18 overs were bowled on the third day of Durham’s LV= County Championship match against Middlesex at Chester-le-Street, during which time the hosts moved on to 89-1 in their second innings to lead by 152.
Play began at 4.15pm in gloomy light and five overs later they were off again as further rain prevented a resumption until a further hour had been lost.
There were still 20 overs to be bowled, but after 13 umpires George Sharp and Martin Bodenham decided the light was too poor to continue and play was abandoned.
By 6.30pm conditions were better than they had been all day.
Durham resumed on 37-0 with Mark Stoneman on 31 and he reached 50 for the fifth time in his last seven championship innings before falling to the next ball.
James Harris appeared to stifle his lbw appeal, but Sharp’s finger was already raised.
Harris went close to bowling Keaton Jennings on 16 with a ball which moved sharply into the left-hander and passed just over his off stump.
Otherwise the former South Africa Under-19 captain looked untroubled in reaching 28 not out, while Scott Borthwick was unbeaten on 11.
3 View comments Wembley welcomed Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund as both teams arrived for training on the eve of the first all-German Champions League final.
After landing in London earlier in the day, both teams got a chance to have a look at England’s national stadium, which will host European football’s showpiece match for the second time in three years.
Dortmund return to the Champions League final for the first time since 1997 when they beat Juventus 3-1, while Bayern hope to make amends and win their fifth title after the disappointment they suffered last year.
Deep discussion: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery at Wembley The legendary German accuracy from the penalty spot suffered a malfunction 12 months ago when Bayern were beaten by Chelsea.
But Thomas Muller is not panicking about the prospect of more Champions League final shoot-out misery at Wembley .
Indeed, if today’s performance in the pre-match media briefing is anything to go by, he is rather looking forward to it.
‘What happened last year has nothing to do with self-confidence,’ he said.
Tunnel walk: Bayern Munich players walk out onto the Wembley pitch for a training session Footballing stars: Robben (left) and Ribery are just two of the big names at Wembley this weekend ‘You never know who will be on pitch at that point and some players better at penalties than others, but no-one will be wetting their pants over it.’ The German invasion of Wembley does appear to mark a shift in the European balance of power.
Lauded as possibly the greatest club side ever for their performances over the previous four seasons, Barcelona were slaughtered by Bayern in the semi-final.
The four-times winners scored seven times without reply in a quite staggering two-legged display, even if Lionel Messi played through injury in the first encounter and sat out the second completely as Bayern romped to a 7-0 aggregate triumph.
Shooting boots: Robben (above) and Ribery (below) get their shooting in order ahead of the final Shooting boots: Ribery gets his shooting in order ahead of the final ‘Barcelona were extraordinary in what they have done over the last few years,’ said Bayern skipper Philipp Lahm.
‘They have won the Champions League on a couple of occasions and we felt they were the team we knew we had to beat if we were going to be successful this season.
‘But we have developed by working together as a team.
We have lots of attacking qualities and we didn’t let them through our defence at all.’ Having a word: Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes speaks to his team during training Jump: Mario Mandzukic heads the ball over Manuel Neuer ‘It is difficult to know whether we can take the torch away from them, we shall have to see how it develops.
‘But things are looking very positive for the future of the team.
We have a great team, at the right age and we work well together.’ Gloomy: Cloudy skies over Wembley ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final Press talk: Philipp Lahm and Thomas Muller speak during a press conference ahead of the final Coach Jupp Heynckes reported a fully fit 21-man squad, which will allow Bayern to start favourites to lift their first European crown since 2001.
With the Bundesliga title already confirmed and a German Cup final against Stuttgart to follow next week, Heynckes’ final season as a manager is threatening to leave new boss Pep Guardiola with a difficult act to follow.
The 68-year-old accepts his team are something special.
‘We have achieved some extraordinary things,’ he said ‘Overall, our season has been the best in the Bundesliga from any team in 50 years.
‘But we have the aspiration to carry on.
We want to maintain our form tomorrow and in the German Cup Final.
‘I am fortunate.
I have won the Champions League before when I was at Real Madrid.
For the players in our squad who are 28 and over, tomorrow could be the crowning moment of their entire careers.’ Though Bayern have not beaten Dortmund in six meetings since February 2010, they start overwhelming favourites given the manner in which they have transferred their imperious domestic form onto the European stage.
Coming through: Bayern Munich supporter Helmut Robers arrives at Wembley stadium on his bike Muller acknowledges the side Bayern wrested the Bundesliga title from have plenty of quality despite the absence of Bayern-bound Mario Gotze.
However, he is adamant his side are the stronger.
‘Borussia are a complete team,’ he said.
‘That is harder to deal with than a group of individual players, even though their individuals are also very good.
‘But I don’t have believe we have any weaknesses.
‘We have played a lot of games, scored a great deal of goals and not conceded many.
‘I have a really good feeling about tomorrow.’ Touchdown: Muller and his Bayern Munich teammates arrived at London City Airport Arrivals: Muller, Manuel Neuer and Mario Mandzuki walk through London City Airport
Nicolas Colsaerts: Belgian well-placed at Wentworth Nicolas Colsaerts is looking forward to the weekend at Wentworth after making a solid start in the BMW PGA Championship.
The 30-year-old Belgian has missed the cut in the last two years but is only four shots behind halfway leader Francisco Molinari on two under after rounds of 72 and 70.
“It was very cold today and the course is playing difficult so it all adds up to a pretty good test out there,” said Colsaerts.
“I thought I did pretty good.
This is one of those weeks when you get yourself into position because everyone will make mistakes and if you can put together a good six or seven holes you can get right up there.
“It was a very long year last year and it took its toll.
I’m still recovering a bit from everything that happened and I can’t wait for my season to kick off.” Colsaerts reached the semi-finals of the preceding World Match Play Championship two years ago before winning it 12 months later.
However he was eliminated in the quarter-finals of last week’s World Match Play in Bulgaria by eventual winner Graeme McDowell.
“I missed the cut here in 2011 and 2012 probably because I had long weeks leading up to the event,” he added.
“I got knocked out early in Bulgaria so I’ve probably come to Wentworth feeling a little more fresh than normal.
“When you add everything up, a few differences here and there can mean a lot against the best players in the world.”
14 View comments Everybody at Chelsea is looking forward to the anticipated return of Jose Mourinho, according to striker Demba Ba.
The Portuguese manager led the club to two Barclays Premier League titles in his first spell between July 2004 to September 2007, as well as an FA Cup and two League Cups.
Mourinho now looks set to return to Stamford Bridge for a second stint in charge after spending time at Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
Scorer: Demba Ba (left) celebrates scoring Chelsea’s first against Manchester City His summer departure from the Bernabeu is already confirmed and Ba, who scored in the 4-3 defeat by Manchester City in St Louis in the early hours of Friday morning, is excited by the prospect of working with the ‘Special One’.
‘You see what he has won, what he has brought to his teams and to his players individually, and of course he is one of the best,’ he told Sky Sports News.
‘He knows everything about Chelsea having already managed the team for three or four years.
He knows everybody here and he knows the club.
‘Everybody is thinking about it and everybody is happy.
They know that he is a person that wants to win.’ Comeback: Jose Mourinho is set to return to Chelsea where he enjoyed so much success (below) Mourinho
Nicky Law: Sealed his move from Motherwell to Rangers Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet Rangers have signed out-of-contract midfielder Nicky Law from Premier League Motherwell on a three-year contract.
Law will be able to play for the Third Division winners from September when the club’s 18 month transfer embargo comes to an end.
The 25-year-old has spent the last two years at Fir Park helping Motherwell to reach the preliminary rounds of European competition.
And Law insists he is quite happy to drop into the lower levels the Scottish Football League with his new club after recent talks with the Rangers manager Ally McCoist.
“It has maybe taken a few people by surprise that I’m here but I’m looking forward to the season ahead now,” Law said.
“I learned of the interest in me quite a while back and in the last few weeks it has grown a bit more.
I spoke to the manager before and we had a really good chat.
“When I left the meeting I had with him, I felt then that I knew where I wanted to go and I pretty much made the choice then that if we could make it happen, I would like join Rangers.
“Thankfully it has happened and I’m here now.
The fact the team isn’t in the SPL any more doesn’t put me off and you’ll see that with the other new players hopefully coming in too.”
Durham’s Graham Onions completed the 18th five-wicket haul of his career against Middlesex at The Riverside.
Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images Nothing sharpens the focus for a cricketer with ambition like an Ashes series and its presence on the horizon has coincided with Graham Onions’s return to top form.
On a delayed second day punctuated by five stoppages for rain and hail, Onions completed the 18th five-wicket haul of his career to provide Durham with a significant advantage over the Division One pacesetters, Middlesex.
Following a frustrating winter on the sidelines with England, the nine-cap Test bowler is intent on proving his readiness should duty call against Australia.
“At this stage I am down the pecking order but I am only a loss of form or a couple of injuries away, so I have to make sure I am fit, strong and performing.
And it’s nice to be doing well for Durham, the club I love,” Onions said, after returning figures of 20-5-39-5.
Failure has been a state of mind for Middlesex on recent visits here they were shot out for 102 last year chasing 118 to win and froze again, quite literally as the breeze from the North Sea blew in.
Indeed, they were hard set when John Simpson joined the former captain Neil Dexter at the crease shortly after lunch.
But from a position of 35 for five, the left-handed Simpson shunned the submissive mood infiltrating his team for some derring-do.
With indifferent weather forecast for the next couple of days Durham’s best chance of toppling their opponents appeared to be to make them follow on.
So it was something of a surprise when the home captain, Paul Collingwood, opted to bring on his change bowlers immediately after the 40-minute interval rather than go for broke with the new-ball pair Onions and Callum Thorp.
Although the decision paid an immediate dividend when Ben Stokes terminated the nightwatchman Tom Smith’s one and a half hours of resistance, there was enough erring in length to allow Simpson to strike some cheap boundaries.
The sixth-wicket stand was worth 68, in fact, by the time the left-hander took a liberty against the returning Onions and toe-ended a catch to mid-off.
Middlesex struggled from the moment play began at 11.45am, and Joe Denly had already survived a leading edge chance to Thorp in his follow-through when he followed one from Onions outside off stump.
Dawid Malan followed for a 13-ball duck when Onions won a debatable leg-before decision.
Dexter retained his poise on a pitch of occasional tennis-ball bounce to reach a second championship half-century in as many innings but was undone by a beauty from Stokes that jagged back to take the inside edge.
Middlesex’s tail wagged for another dozen overs thereafter but James Harris and Toby Roland-Jones clubbed straight to fielders in quick succession to leave the visitors a boundary short of a batting point, and Durham swelled their lead to an even 100 by the close.