It’s a huge weekend for… Heynckes, Lewandowski, Zaha and Watford
The potential to establish to crowning glory in what would surely be the greatest ever send-off in football management?
After a season in which his Bayern side have been utterly dominant, the demand of coach Jupp Heynckes to go out on a high has raised the club to a level they have never previously raised. In the Bundesliga, no team has ever won the title so early, with as many points or by conceding so few goals, and in the Champions League Bayern’s swatting aside of Barcelona was almost unfathomable in it’s ease.
Heynckes still has the German Cup final to play before he bids auf wiedersehn to Munich, but win on Saturday and this season should live long in the memory of football fans worldwide.
For a man who scored four goals against Real Madrid in the semi-final and is the second top scorer in both the Champions League and the Bundesliga this season, Robert Lewandowski may be slightly concerned about Saturday’s final.
The Polish striker has scored one goal in four games against Bayern this season, failing to have a single shot during their league game in December and then missing a penalty in May (one of only two shots).
Without Mario Gotze, the pressure on Lewandowski to be Dortmund’s goal threat and matchwinner is simply increased. Dortmund may push Ilkay Gundogan further up the field, but he does not have Gotze’s goal threat. If Dortmund are going to play well, you feel that Lewa will need to be at his best.
It is difficult to imagine how Watford’s end of season could get any more dramatic. After a final day in which their rivals contrived to miss and then concede late penalties, the Hornets then lost to Leeds after losing one goalkeeper during the warm-up and only through freak injury.
And then came the playoffs, and the frankly unbelievable scenes where Leicester not only missed the chance to knock out Watford, but then somehow contrived to allow their opponents to score within twenty seconds of another missed penalty.
And so to the final. Watford’s fans may have suffered enough, but if they overcome a Crystal Palace and reach the Premier League in the most sensational of manners, this will be one to tell the grandchildren. Just please, no more penalties.
With a big money move to Manchester United already completed, Saturday will be the end of Wilfried Zaha’s loan spell at Crystal Palace before he leaves the club for good, and you just feel that on Wembley’s big stage, fireworks should be expected.
After all, the semi-final second leg could also have been Zaha’s last appearance, only for the forward to take the tie by the scruff of it’s neck, two goals sealing Brighton’s defeat.
A precocious, if still slightly inconsistent talent, Zaha will be hoping to bid his fond farewell to fans in the most fitting of manners at Wembley.