Bayern Munich can win the first treble in German football history on Saturday. The only thing standing in their way is the 2013 DFB Pokal Final against VfB Stuttgart. The Bavarians will be the clear favorites for the match and should make easy work of their opponents and add another record to their spectacular season.
Path To The Final
Stuttgart opened their Pokal campaign away to sixth division side SV Falkensee-Finkenkrug. After a two goal halftime lead, Stuttgart turned the screws in the second half and walked away 5-0 winners. The second round saw 2.Bundesliga side St. Pauli visit the Mercedes-Benz Arena only to be turned away after three first half goals from the hosts. The used two quick goals in the first half to edge Köln 2-1 in the third round. Their 2-0 quarterfinal victory over Bochum came easy enough, but it was their semifinal win against Freiburg that stands out. Freiburg were flying high in the league at the time and were the favorites to win the match. Stuttgart put together a solid defensive effort in a 2-1 victory to advance to the final.
Bayern opened the tournament with a 4-0 victory against Jahn Regensburg that didn't get out of hand until late in the second half. The second round also saw a 4-0 victory, this time over Kaiserslautern. Again, it was close until the second half when Bayern finally put them away. The third round match away to Augsburg was a tense affair that saw Ribery sent off for slapping Ja-Cheol Koo. Bayern managed to grab a late goal that saw them advance with a 2-0 scoreline. The final everyone wanted to see happened in the quarterfinals when Bayern edged Borussia Dortmund 1-0 on a strike from Arjen Robben just before halftime. They then put a 6-1 beatdown on Wolfsburg in the semifinals to make it to Saturday's final.
Key Player To Watch
For Stuttgart, a lot is going to fall onto the shoulders of Vedad Ibisevic. In two league matches against Bayern this season, they lost both and were outscored by an 1-8 total. The Bavarians only allowed 18 goals all season long (34 games) so, obviously, scoring a goal against them will not be an easy accomplishment. That's why it will be extremely important for Ibisevic to be a predator in the box on Saturday. If he's able to get his foot on the ball in the Bayern penalty area, he needs to test Manuel Neuer. There can be no wasted opportunities. Stuttgart will likely need at least three goals to beat Bayern. It starts with Vedo.
With Dante being forced out of the squad by the Brazilian FA, Bayern are turning to Daniel Van Buyten to replace him. While Van Buyten has played very well this season when called upon, it will be important to keep an eye on his partnership with Jerome Boateng at centerback. Boateng and Dante were stretched at times in the Champions League Final, allowing Borussia Dortmund a lot of space to operate. While Stuttgart don't have players of the same talent that BVB do, any talented player only needs one opportunity to capitalize and give his side a goal especially in a cup final. Van Buyten and Boateng will need to be aware of the other's position at all times in order to not allow a late run out of midfield spell their doom.
Bayern Munich will be the first ever winners of a German treble on Saturday when they beat Stuttgart to win the 2012-2013 DFB Pokal. They've steamrolled their opposition this season and will do the same against Stuttgart. Bayern will win 4-0.
Time: 20:00 CET / 2:00 PM EST
Location: Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany
TV: ESPN News / Univision Deportes (USA), ESPN (UK),
Streaming: ESPN 3 (Western half of the USA)