LONDON - Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will take their increasingly acrimonious rivalry to a new level Saturday in the first all-German Champions League final.
Relations between Germany's top two teams were always likely to be fraught ahead of their clash at Wembley Stadium, but a power struggle off the pitch has increased the stakes for the biggest prize in European club football.
Dortmund, in particular, is unhappy with Bayern's transfer dealings as Mario Goetze, one of Dortmund's top players, is switching to the Bavarian side next season, and top scorer Robert Lewandowski is apparently keen to follow suit.
Despite finishing a record 25 points ahead of Dortmund in the Bundesliga, Bayern is keen to cement its status as the country's undisputed No. 1 after suffering the ignominy of watching Dortmund claim back-to-back titles while earning plaudits for its attractive style of play.
"Dortmund really annoyed us for two years. This is a wonderful response," Bayern president Uli Hoeness said after his side wrapped up the title with a record six games to spare.
Goetze is arguably Germany's most exciting prospect, and Bayern is paying his buyout clause of 37 million euros ($50 million) for the two-pronged effect of reinforcing an already-formidable side while dealing a blow to its main domestic rival.
Lewandowski is another issue of contention.
The Polish striker has refused to sign a new deal at Dortmund and had reportedly told club management he wants to join only Bayern.
While Lewandowski is set to play what could be his last game for Dortmund on Saturday, Goetze will miss out after failing to recover from the hamstring injury suffered 12 minutes into the semifinal second leg at Real Madrid.