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All set for Berlin, the 'German Wembley'

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All set for Berlin, the 'German Wembley'

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu May 13, 2010 7:15 pm

It came as little surprise when the German FA (DFB) announced at a news conference on 20 April that the contract to stage the German men's cup final at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin had been extended to 2015. "The DFB Cup final is a huge sporting event in Germany. It's been the highlight in Berlin for many years, and like the FA Cup final at Wembley in London, it's no longer imaginable away from the capital," said Berlin FA President Bernd Schultz.

The German cup final has taken place in Berlin since 1985. Players, coaches and fans who've experienced it once continually seek a way back. "The atmosphere in Berlin is unique, it's the German Wembley," declared FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. He never featured in a Berlin final as a player, but Saturday's meeting with Werder Bremen will be his eighth as an official at the club.

"Attending the final in Berlin is very special," agreed Werder CEO Klaus Allofs. Bremen have won the cup six times and lie second behind Bayern (14 victories) in the all-time chart. Five of Werder's triumphs came at the German Wembley, including a penalty victory against Munich in 1999. FCB avenged the defeat by a clear-cut 3-0 scoreline a year later.

The key to the final's appeal is that it is on neutral territory, with the support divided neatly between the two sides. "It's sensational with the fans, your colours here and theirs there, and you know at once you're in a final," said Philipp Lahm ahead of his third Berlin showpiece. "I've been lucky enough to win it twice. It's always special and terrific, which is why I'm looking forward to Saturday."

Lahm aiming at third triumph

Lahm has been telling all to newcomers like Thomas Müller and Holger Badstuber, he revealed. "A one-off match in the evening with the whole country watching - when I first turned pro, I couldn't have imagined how tremendous it is." DFB General Secretary Wolfgang Niersbach recently went so far as to claim: "The atmosphere's now better than at Wembley."

Mario Gomez is also looking forward to the match. "It's fantastic in Berlin, the huge stadium, split half-half between the fans - you don't get that very often. There's a very special atmosphere at the ground." It will be the Germany international's second final. He lost three seasons ago in extra-time with VfB Stuttgart against Nürnberg, but now aims to lay hands on the trophy.

Bayern beaten in Berlin premiere

Arjen Robben will enjoy a maiden German Wembley experience on Saturday. Bayern's leading scorer won the English version in 2007 with Chelsea. The FA Cup final has been staged at Wembley since 1923. "They were always fabulous games, although it's only really enjoyable if you win," admitted Robben: "We celebrated with our fans in the same place last weekend, and we'd like to do it again on Saturday."

Half of FCB's 14 cup triumphs have been achieved in Berlin, although both their final defeats were at the Olympic stadium: the first Berlin final in 1985, when holders Munich fell 2-1 to Bayer Uerdingen, and the penalty defeat to Werder eleven years ago. "It's a one-off. You end up with a cup, or with nothing," mused Lahm.
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