Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund in Germany Cup final
Saturday's game is departing coach Pep Guardiola's last
Jerome Boateng tells CNN he improved as a player under Guardiola
It’s time for Bayern Munich to say goodbye to Pep Guardiola as the club prepare for his final match in charge – Saturday’s German Cup final – before the coach moves to England and takes charge of Manchester City in the Premier League next season.
Guardiola has delivered domestic dominance to Bayern – three successive Bundesliga titles – but no such hegemony has been established in the Champions League.
It’s also arguable that the former Barcelona coach never quite won over the Bayern fans and it was noticeable that at the club’s title celebrations last week, Guardiola chose not to address the 15,000 fans who gathered at Munich’s Marienplatz.
However, Bayern’s German international defender Jerome Boateng has nothing but praise for the departing Guardiola.
“Since he came I think I’ve improved my game – especially technically,” Boateng told former Bayern player Owen Hargreaves for CNN earlier in May.
“With the ball on the feet I’m more calm now, but it started also with Jupp Heynckes but now I think I’m on a different level,” added Boateng, referring to Guardiola’s predecessor.
“I think we’re all really thankful that he was here for three years and he made everybody better in the game and us as a team, so we will see what will come next year with Carlo Ancelotti, but we are all excited.”
Italian Ancelotti has been appointed as Guardiola’s successor after taking a one-year sabbatical after he was sacked by Real Madrid.
It was Heynckes, who guided Bayern to their last Champions League triumph – a 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley in 2013 – already knowing that the Bavarian club had decided to bring in Guardiola.
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Under the 45-year-old Guardiola, Bayern have coasted to that hat-trick of Bundesliga titles, but exited the Champions League on three occasions at the semifinal stage, losing to Real Madrid, Barcelona and most recently Atletico Madrid.
“I’m still sad for the game because I think after the second game we deserved to go to the final but in football it’s the details and you saw maybe we made one mistake too much and we didn’t score at Madrid so they go through,” said Boateng, looking back on Bayern’s defeat by Atletico.
“They didn’t play pretty football but yeah that’s football and we have to continue and for the next year and now we’ve got three times out in the semi-final so now I think it’s time to go to the final again.
“We have a great team, we show this every year but at the end the details bring you to kind of finals.”
Roc Nation Sports
If Bayern win the German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium it would mark Guardiola’s second domestic double in three seasons.
Boateng will come up against Dortmund captain Mats Hummels, who is playing his final match before moving to Bayern next season.
A product of the Bayern youth academy, Hummels signed for Dortmund in 2009, but will now become the third BVB player to join Bayern in recent years, following Mario Goetze and Robert Lewandowski.
“Well he grew up here so I think he’s a great defender, he did a great job at Dortmund and became a national player there, he won titles in the Bundesliga with Dortmund and I think he grew up and he’s a really good defender and good signing,” said the 27-year-old Boateng of his new defensive partner.
On Saturday, as well as listening to Guardiola’s final pep talk ahead of the game against Dortmund, the Bayern players will be getting in the zone by listening to music – in Boateng’s case, the likes of Drake, Rihanna and Jay Z.
“Music is part of our lives and especially sport guys like us, when we train or go to the games we like to hear music … I need this for myself,” said Boateng, who last year signed with Jay Z’s label Roc Nation Sports.
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