Saturday, 30th May, 20:00 GMT
The DFB Pokal final is a chance for redemption for both Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund. Wolfsburg will not want to finish second best again after having given Bayern a very brief scare in the Bundesliga title race while Dortmunda s season simply did not take off. The fixture will be JA?rgen Kloppa s final game in charge of Dortmund and hea ll want to finish on a high.
Dieter Hecking, on the other hand, will definitely want his side to win some silverware after having played so well in the league. Wolfsburg are unbeaten against Dortmund this season. After having drawn at the Signal Iduna Park, Wolfsburg beat Dortmund at home in the penultimate game of the Bundesliga. However, the last time these two sides met in the DFB Pokal over a year ago, Dortmund triumphed by two goals with a certain Robert Lewandowski on the score sheet.
Klopp against Hecking is a clash of two sides who favour the counter-attacking style of play. The head to head records of both the managers is massively in favour of Klopp, however, Wolfsburg seem to have a better team at the moment.
Team news and tactics
Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp will have a challenge on his hands as Wolfsburg have shown this season that they can destroy almost any defence. Keeping De Bruynea s impending threat in mind, Klopp could deploy a double pivot of Sven Bender and Ilkay Gundogan in midfield. The duo will play in front of the four-man defence consisting of Marcel Schmelzer, Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic and Eric Durm.
Lukasz Piszczek is back from his injury, but he hasna t played more than 20 minutes in either of his two games since his return and will most likely start on the bench.Bender’s primary role will be to neutralise Be Bruyne’s threat in attack. The 26-year old will be preferred over Kehl who isn’t the most player.
In attack, we could see Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan as the wide players with Shinji Kagawa playing as the attacking midfielder. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to lead the attack. Ilkay Gundogan will have a big role to play in the match as he is the one who can disrupt Wolfsburga s defensive stubbornness with his smart runs from midfield.
When Wolfsburg have played well this season, Kevin De Bruyne has been a big contributing factor in it. Dutch striker Bas Dost has finally come out of his shell at the club, but he simply hasna t been consistent enough and has endured a few mini-goal droughts in the campaign. The same can be told of Andre Schurrle who has been disappointing since his move from Chelsea.
Hecking will most likely go with the same setup that Dortmund use; a 4-2-3-1 system with a dynamic box-to-box player being deployed in the double pivot. Luiz Gustavo and Max Arnold will have key roles to play for the side as they will be up against an attack who like to pass it around. The duo will play in front of the flat back four of Marcel Sch fer, Robin Knoche, Timm Klose and Sebastian Jung. Ricardo Rodriguez will face a late fitness test and could have a part to play.
The absence of Naldo at the back could be a blow for the Wolves as he has been a key member of the defence. The 32-year old is not only a good defender, but also a huge threat in set pieces.
Wolfsburg attack will consist of former Dortmund man Ivan Perisic on the left wing and Daniel Caligiuri on the right. De Bruyne will be the creator in chief with Dost leading the attack.
Predicted XI: Benaglio; Sch fer, Knoche, Klose, Jung; Gustavo, Arnold, Perisic, De Bruyne, Caligiuri; Dost
- Klopp has won 11 out of 20 matches against Hecking and has a point per match ratio of 1.9.
- Dieter Hecking has an awful record against Klopp and has won just four games out of 20 matches.
- Both the sides have won two games and drawn the other in their last five encounters.
- Kevin De Bruyne was the leaguea s leading goal maker with an incredible 21 assists.
- When it comes to average ages, the two sides are neck to neck at 26 (Dortmund) and 26.3.
Player to watch out for
Marco Reus has had a good season despite being injured for some time. After having missed out on the World cup and Dortmunda s early success in the DFL Super cup against Bayern, Reus will want to play a big role in helping his side lift the Pokal and give Kloppo a good send-off.
Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Wolfsburg (Dortmund to win on penalties)
There is no doubt that both the sides possess a lot of quality. We might be in for a humdinger with some goals in it. The tie could go into extra time with Dortmund eventually clinching it on penalties.