Guardiola: German Cup equal to clasico
On Saturday, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are set to meet in the DFB Pokal finale, their third meeting in a final in three seasons. It's a match that can be compared to el clasico in Spain, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola says.
In 2012, Borussia Dortmund won the domestic double when they beat Bayern Munich 5-2 in the German cup final. A year later, at Wembley, the Bavarians took revenge and secured the Champions League title through a last-minute goal from Netherlands winger Arjen Robben.
The two Bundesliga meetings this season saw both teams taking 3-0 away victories back home. However, Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga title with a 19 point gap to Borussia Dortmund. Yet, their season has come under high scrutiny since their historic 5-0 aggregate defeat against Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinal.
On Saturday, Germany is set for another showdown between the two most successful clubs in recent years at Berlin's Olympiastadion.
"By now, I certainly know that FC Bayern versus BVB is the biggest meeting in German football. We will see that again in Berlin," Pep Guardiola told dfb.de in a double interview with Dortmund boss Juergen Klopp.
"It can be compared to the Spanish clasico. Although the duels between Barcelona and Real Madrid have a much longer tradition and sometimes have even more sting."
Klopp echoed Guardiola's words and said that "over the last four or five years those meetings have turned into a real big duel."
"But it wasn't foreseeable five years ago that BVB could be part of this clasico. That's why we can be even more proud to be back in Berlin," Klopp said.
Berlin has been the host of the German cup final since 1985, and the match at the Olympiastadion has turned into one of the highlights in the German football calendar. "To me, the German cup final is at the same level as the Champions League final," Klopp said.
"With the outstanding atmosphere and the perfect organisation by the DFB, this is the biggest final of them all. It's worth making the trip, even if you are not part of the match."
The former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola also praised his BVB counterpart as an "extraordinary coach."
"What he has achieved in Dortmund is incredible. The squad carries his thumbprint," Guardiola said, and Klopp handed the back the compliment by saying: "I am under the impression that we both love the game. Maybe it's down to different character traits that we play different systems. But you can always see the love of the game."
Both styles will clash on Saturday, and Bayern Munich hope to turn their good season into a very good one.
"This game will decide which stamp will be put on this season," Bayern midfielder Thomas Mueller was quoted by Bild, and captain Philipp Lahm added: "If it's going to be a good season or a very, very good one will be decided on Saturday."