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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 18, 2008

Kahn hails Toni ahead of DFB-Pokal final

Bayern Munich captain Oliver Kahn has hailed Luca Toni as one of the best strikers to play for the club ahead of the DFB-Pokal final on Saturday.

Bayern head to Berlin looking to claim their second piece of silverware in a season which could yet yield four trophies.

Ottmar Hitzfeld's side, who triumphed in the League Cup prior to the start of the season, take on Borussia Dortmund, a team they thrashed 5-0 in the Bundesliga just a week ago, in the cup final.

With a seemingly unassailable lead in the Bundesliga and a place in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup, it promises to be a glorious end to the campaign for the Bavarian giants.

Toni, a summer signing from Fiorentina, has been a key factor in Bayern's success, having scored 33 goals in 40 competitive games so far this season.

And Kahn, 38, believes the Italian has done enough in his nine months at the Allianz Arena to prove he will go down as a club legend.

He said: 'He is one of the best I have ever seen playing here at FC Bayern for his qualities as a striker.

'He is a poacher, of which there are only very few around.

'His home is in the penalty area and he always stands in the right place and needs only very few chances (to score). As a goalscorer, his qualities are excellent.'

Saturday's match will be Kahn's last appearance in a domestic final before he retires at the end of the season.

The veteran custodian is going after the 17th trophy of a glittering career - he has win the DFB-Pokal five times - and Toni hopes to give him a winning send-off.

He said: 'Kahn's career speaks for itself. He has won an extraordinary amount, but you can see that he still wants to reach the top and we will all help him on Saturday to win something important.'

The Italian hitman has fond memories of Berlin's Olympic Stadium, having won the first piece of silverware of his career there - the 2006 World Cup.

'I am sure Willy Sagnol and Franck Ribery (members of the France side Italy beat in the World Cup final) will have different memories of that day,' he said.

'But Berlin has been good to me and when you go into the stadium and see the cup there on view, you do think to yourself 'my god, maybe I can have that in my hands at the end of this game'.

'I hope we are fortunate and are able celebrate at the end of the match.'

While Bayern are firing on all cylinders, Dortmund's cup run has been a welcome distraction from their dire league form.

Thomas Doll's side are closer to the relegation zone than the European places, although they do have a guaranteed UEFA Cup spot for reaching the final.

A 3-1 defeat to Hannover in the Bundesliga in midweek, which followed their humiliation at the hands of Saturday's opponents, has increased the pressure on the coach, whose job may only be saved with victory in the capital.

Doll has called on his team to prove they are 'worthy opponents' for Bayern.

'We must hold our heads high, show our true colours, march out and claim the trophy,' he said.

Defender Philipp Degen will miss out after tearing ligaments in midweek, but goalkeeper Marc Ziegler and Toni Rukavina were both back in training on Friday.

Should Ziegler not make it, 21-year-old Marcel Hottecke will start in goal in only his second game for Dortmund after conceding three in midweek.

Sagnol is Hitzfeld's biggest injury doubt after the full-back limped out of Wednesday's 3-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Christian Lell is on standby to take his place, while Miroslav Klose, Ribery, Martin Demichelis, Philipp Lahm, Mark van Bommel and Ze Roberto should all return to the starting XI after being rested on Wednesday.