LahmÃ¢ÂÂs rabbits, SchweinsteigerÃ¢ÂÂs coffee and Bayern's lucky square posts
Whatever happens in Madrid, one thingÃ¢ÂÂs for sure: after the game, Philipp Lahm will ring home to enquire about the health of his pet rabbits Milky Way and Brownie.
Lahm isnÃ¢ÂÂt the only Bayern player with intriguing hobbies. On the club website Bastian Schweinsteiger lists his hobbies as Ã¢ÂÂMusic, meeting friends, travel, new experiences, StarbucksÃ¢ÂÂ.
Bayern coach Louis Van GaalÃ¢ÂÂs hopes of defeating his protÃÂ©gÃÂ© Jose Mourinho at the Santiago Bernabeu may come down to a phenomenon German fans refer to as Ã¢ÂÂBayern duselÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ that special kind of luck with which the Bavarian giants have, so often through the years, snatched a trophy or seven.
A good example of Ã¢ÂÂBayern duselÃ¢ÂÂ would be the square posts at Hampden Park in 1976 which repelled Jacques SantiniÃ¢ÂÂs header and Dominique BathenayÃ¢ÂÂs shot as the Germans beat St Etienne 1-0 to win their third European Cup in a row.
That run had started with a big dollop of Ã¢ÂÂBayern duselÃ¢ÂÂ in May 1974 when, with 119 minutes on the clock and Bayern trailing 1-0 to Atletico Madrid, George Schwarzenbeck stupefied his teammates by choosing not to pass to predator extraordinaire Gerd Muller but to shoot from 35 yards.
Luckily for Schwarzenbeck the shot flew past Miguel Reina, PepeÃ¢ÂÂs dad, to earn a replay that Bayern won 4-0. And coming bang up to date, Miroslav KloseÃ¢ÂÂs header against Fiorentina, arguably the most offside goal of the year, helped Bayern defeat the Viola in the last 16 this season.
But Ã¢ÂÂBayern duselÃ¢ÂÂ can be a fickle mistress, conspicuous by her absence in the 1987 and 1999 finals when Bayern blew two 1-0 leads in astonishing fashion.
The first upset Ã¢ÂÂ against Porto Ã¢ÂÂ now feels like instant karma. The clubÃ¢ÂÂs then president Frits Scherer was so confident he drafted his victory speech the night before the match. But in 1999, after the late, late horror show at Camp Nou, even Germans who didnÃ¢ÂÂt support Bayern felt (briefly) sorry for the club.
In 2001, Bayern won the shootout and the UEFA Champions League, a triumph that owed more to Oliver KahnÃ¢ÂÂs genius than luck though there was something miraculous about KahnÃ¢ÂÂs save from Amedeo Carboni.
So with a big hunk of Ã¢ÂÂBayern duselÃ¢ÂÂ Van GaalÃ¢ÂÂs team may yet defy the odds Ã¢ÂÂ as they did, after all, against Manchester United. If they are at their best Ã¢ÂÂ and Inter arenÃ¢ÂÂt Ã¢ÂÂ that part of Germany that is forever Bayern could be celebrating on Saturday night.
I was tempted to rehash the old Jimmy Tarbuck gag Ã¢ÂÂ Inter look the better team on paper but the final isnÃ¢ÂÂt played on paper, itÃ¢ÂÂs played on grass Ã¢ÂÂ but I wonÃ¢ÂÂt.
It will be fascinating to see how Van Gaal sets up Bayern. His favourite ploy is to have Mark van Bommel and Schweinsteiger in front of the back four with one player Ã¢ÂÂ often Mario Gomez or Miroslav Klose Ã¢ÂÂ upfront.
Then as Ulrich Hesse, author of the great Tor! put it on an email: Ã¢ÂÂThat leaves three players whose positions are not so easily definable. Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and Ivica Olic are neither midfielders, nor strikers, they are something in betweenÃ¢ÂÂ.
These in-betweenies are incredibly flexible. Against Fiorentina, Ribery and Robben were the wide men with Muller behind Gomez, not as a playmaker but as a striker with a bit more room.
The imaginative, industrious Olic can play behind the striker, as the striker (in one Bundesliga match Klose played behind the Croatian) and on the wing.
Muller has also starred on the wing instead of Ribery and, in a German Cup game against Schalke, behind Olic, Robben and Klose in the hole and in front of the holding midfielders.
However Van Gaal sets Bayern up, he will remind his players of the importance of possession. Keeping the ball will be essential if his team are to protect their weakest link Ã¢ÂÂ a defence which has shipped 13 goals on the way to the final.
That record must influence his game plan. BayernÃ¢ÂÂs best hope, as Barney Ronay has suggested in The Guardian, is probably to swashbuckle their way to victory, trusting in the cavalier genius of Arjen Robben whose volleys, free-kicks and feints could carry the day.
If Robben doesnÃ¢ÂÂt deliver the crucial magic, Van Gaal will hope that Gomez, Klose or Muller are efficient with the few chances that may fall their way.
Swashbuckling is something of a departure for Van Gaal, a famously methodical coach who, at Barcelona in the late 1990s, dared to improve on CruyffÃ¢ÂÂs 3-4-3 to make it structurally sounder.
But his Bayern share one trait with their boss: pure, bloody-minded resilience. SchweinsteigerÃ¢ÂÂs personal motto Ã¢ÂÂNever lose beliefÃ¢ÂÂ could be the teamÃ¢ÂÂs rallying cry. And that quality could make this final more competitive than many pundits would have you believe.
The key word there, of course, is could.
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