Creative absences to change Champions League final dynamics

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Although Toni Kroos would almost certainly have started for Bayern Munich in the Champions League final if he was fit, it is fairly obvious how Jupp Heynckes will line up without him.

But Dortmund’s starting side without Mario Gotze is not so clear cut and it seems the young forward, who is joining Bayern over the summer, will not pass a fitness test on his injured hamstring.

Gotze failed to complete training just days before the Wembley showpiece, giving the impression that his leg had not sufficiently recovered.

For Bayern, as was the case against Barcelona in the semi finals, Thomas Muller will move into the central position off lone striker Mario Mandzukic and Arjen Robben will start on the right.

This could be a negative for Bayern, as Kroos has previously caused Dortmund problems by drifting into space between their defence and midfield and effectively running the game from this position.

Muller does not have the same movement, creativity in possession or ability to link attacks. Playing him centrally will naturally make Bayern a little more direct.

Meanwhile, not having Muller wide will rob Bayern of another of their attacking strategies that has reaped success against Dortmund in the past, as he had been an outlet aerially against Marcel Schmelzer.

This season, Dortmund have changed from their common formation when facing Bayern, alternating from playing Jacob Blaszczykowski, Marco Reus and Mario Gotze behind Robert Lewandowski to a just the latter pair, with the former moving narrow into a more central role.

Jurgen Klopp may do something similar this time in an attempt to starve Bayern of central space, with the battle to replace Gotze between Nuri Sahin and Kevin Grosskreutz, depending if the manager would prefer to move Blaszczykowski back out wide.

What is clear is that both teams will be without their leading creative influence and this must increase the possibility of a fourth straight meeting between Dortmund and Bayern witnessing under 2.5 goals being scored, which can be backed at 20/21.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.