Combined XI: 2013 Klassiker Champions League Final

Combined XI: 2013 Klassiker Champions League Final

After losing the Bundesliga title on goal difference last season, Borussia Dortmund fans were hoping for more progress this season.

Fast forward 12 months and the club find themselves in a UEFA Champions League final.

This is despite Edin Terzic’s side sitting in fifth place in the league, 27 points adrift of champions Bayer Leverkusen and four behind RB Leipzig in the top four.

Currently on 60 points, ‘die Schwarzgelben’ will finish the campaign with their lowest tally for six years.

However, in Europe, they are on a dream run.

They advanced from a ‘group of death’ containing Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Newcastle to reach the knockouts.

In those knockouts, BVB took down PSV, Atletico Madrid and PSG again to reach their first final in 11 years.


A valiant effort over two legs against French champions PSG has seen Dortmund capture the hearts of the footballing world once more.

With club legend Marco Reus set to depart at the end of the term, ‘die Borussen’ have the perfect chance to give him a fairytale ending.

Reus was in the squad the last time the club were in the final of Europe’s most prestigious competition.

He started as Jürgen Klopp’s side lost 2-1 to Bayern Munich at Wembley in 2013.

They return to Wembley yet again on June 1st to take on Real Madrid.

The Spanish giants took down Bayern in the semi-finals, denying the Black and Yellows the opportunity to avenge their demons from 11 years ago.

That all-German final was contested by two iconic sides.

Fans at Wembley Stadium for the 2013 UEFA Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

As the build-up starts for another London final, how do those teams stack up against each other?

GK: Manuel Neuer – Bayern

Widely regarded by many as the greatest goalkeeper of all-time, even the most passionate member of the Yellow Wall would struggle to argue against Manuel Neuer’s place in this 11.

The German is an extraordinary shot-stopper but is especially credited for almost reinventing his position.

His unworldly skills with the ball at his feet – furthered by the coaching of Pep Guardiola – make him undeniably the best ‘sweeper keeper’ of all-time.

He has paved the way for countless ‘keepers who have followed in his footsteps.

RB: Philipp Lahm – Bayern

A similarly difficult one to argue, Philipp Lahm is one of the most universally-liked footballers of his generation.

While Lukasz Piszczek was a terrific servant at Signal Iduna Park and one of the best right-backs in the world at the time, Lahm captained that Bayern side to the treble that year.

Just a year later he captained Germany to the 2014 World Cup.

With eight Bundesliga titles to his name, he has to be there. Not to mention the fact he retired without ever receiving a red card.

CB: Mats Hummels – BVB

The first Borussia Dortmund player of this list is a man who played for both clubs.

Mats Hummels has had a fantastic career and based on current form, he would arguably get into a ‘Klassiker’ combined XI today.

The centre-back has been at the top of German football for over a decade but enjoyed some of his best years under Jürgen Klopp, forming a top defensive partnership with Neven Subotic.

CB: Jerome Boateng – Bayern

Hummels can be paired at the back alongside his longtime international teammate Jerome Boateng.

The former Manchester City man was integral for Jupp Heynckes’ side that season and was intergal for years to come at the Allianz Arena.

On the road to Wembley, he only missed matches through injury and suspension.

LB: Marcel Schmelzer – BVB

Marcel Schmelzer, Borussia Dortmund
(Photo: GoodFon)

David Alaba may feel harshly done by to miss out on a spot in this team.

But one-club man Marcel Schmelzer enjoyed his best years in Klopp’s side and played every minute as the club made it to London.

Along the way, he even netted and grabbed an assist against Real Madrid.

CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger – Bayern

The first midfield spot in this side goes to the 2013 German player of the year: Bastian Schweinsteiger.

That season, he claimed nine goals and 11 assists from midfield.

Schweinsteiger was a key man in the Bavarian giants’ Champions League campaign, claiming assists in three consecutive games in the quarter-finals and semi-finals against Juventus and Barcelona respectively.

CM: Mario Götze – BVB

Given the pool of outrageous talent in the attacking arsenals of both sides, some players needed to be shifted around to fit others in.

Such is the case for attacking midfielder Mario Götze.

Dortmund legend Matthias Sammer said that Götze was “one of the best talents Germany has ever had”.

Bayern and Germany’s legendary Franz Beckenbauer said there was “no partnership better” than the Götze-Reus duo.

That season was undoubtedly Götze’s best in black and yellow – and arguably the best of his entire career.

He registered two goals and eight assists in the UCL, four goals in four DFB-Pokal games, along with 10 goals and 12 assists in the Bundesliga.

If he was fit for the final, who knows how it could’ve ended. Perhaps then he wouldn’t have moved to Munich that summer.

RM: Arjen Robben – Bayern

One of the best wingers of his generation, Saturday, 25 May 2013 remains one of the greatest days in Arjen Robben’s glittering career.

Scorer of the 89th minute winner and UEFA man of the match, the Dutchman would struggle to pick out many better moments than that.

Cutting in from the right onto his left foot like clockwork, Robben’s numbers for Bayern are ludicrous.

While he missed a fair amount of football in the 2012-13 campaign, his two goals in the semi-finals and goal and assist in the final see him get in almost by default.

CAM: Thomas Müller – Bayern

The reason why Götze doesn’t retain his natural position in this side is quite simple: Thomas Müller exists.

Like Robben, Müller’s numbers are quite frankly insane.

He has hit 21 Bundesliga assists in three different seasons.

Thomas Muller, Germany
(Photo: Flickr)

242 goals and 267 assists in 706 Bayern appearances, Müller is one of the best to ever do it in Germany.

Still going strong at 34, it seems as though the ‘Raumdeuter’ has been a star of European football for decades.

The 2012-13 season was no different. Müller scored three times in the semi-finals against Barcelona and notched a goal and an assist in the Pokal final against Stuttgart.

Just the 23 goals and 17 assists in all competitions that season. Ridiculous.

LM: Marco Reus – BVB

Along with Neuer, Hummels and Müller, Marco Reus also remains in the same place he was 11 years ago.

And it’s no surprise why. He bleeds black and yellow.

Reus needs no introduction. A BVB legend in every sense of the word.

With 19 goals and 16 assists across all competitions, that campaign remains one of his very best.

ST: Robert Lewandowski – BVB

Leading the line, there could only be one man.

While Mario Mandzukic was the man who opened the scoring for Heynckes’ Bavarians, Robert Lewandowski is surely a shoo-in.

One of seven active players remaining of this 11, the Polish icon is still going strong at 35 years old with Barcelona.

Under Jürgen Klopp, Lewandowski put up three successive 20+ goal seasons.

He was crucial for ‘die Borussen’.

While he went on to become an absolute monster of the goalscoring game at Bayern, it seems the world really started to take notice in the 2012-13 UCL campaign.

That season, he scored 36 goals and claimed 13 assists in all competitions.

In Europe, he registered 10 goals and two assists – four of those strikes came in the semi-final first leg against continental royalty Real Madrid.

Reflecting back on this period of time reminds you just how good of an era this was for German football.

Having two great sides reach the final of world football’s most prestigious club competition.

Phenomenal players from front to back in these teams. World Cup winners. All-time greats in their positions. All-time greats of their generations. All-time greats full-stop.

This makes for quite the eleven.

(Featured Image: Flickr)