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Sport

Eleven years on, Hummels and Reus hope to set things right at Wembley

todayMay 30, 2024 5

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Eleven years after a heartbreaking Champions League final loss to arch-rivals Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund veterans Mats Hummels and Marco Reus are returning to Wembley on Saturday to set things right.

This time around, 14-time winners Real Madrid, who eliminated Bayern in typical last-gasp fashion in the semi-finals, stand in the way.

Hummels, 35, and 34-year-old Reus face an uncertain future ahead of what is likely their last Champions League final.

Reus has already announced Saturday’s match will be his last for Dortmund.

Hummels, whose contract expires in the summer, said he was “excited to see what Saturday’s match triggers in me and then I’ll make a decision sometime in June”.

Adding a Champions League victory, the first for each, would be a fitting farewell for two modern Dortmund greats.

Managed by Jurgen Klopp, Dortmund came into 2012-13 having won back-to-back titles, including a league and cup double in 2011-12.

They made it to Wembley with an exciting young team seemingly on course for more success.

Hummels, a modern defender who blended attacking flair with shrewd game understanding, had established himself at the heart of Germany’s defence.

Reus, a Dortmund junior who made his senior debut at the club in 2012-13 after a stint at Borussia Moenchengladbach, appeared to be the country’s next great attacking talent, having just been named Germany’s Footballer of the Year.

That loss to Bayern would instead be the beginning of the end of Dortmund’s time in the sun.

Klopp left the club in 2015, joining Liverpool five months later, where he has made three Champions League finals, winning one, with both losses coming against Real Madrid.

Hummels returned to Bayern, where he had come through the junior system, in search of Champions League glory.

The defender’s quest was unsuccessful however.

With questions around his age and health, Hummels returned to Dortmund three years later — and Bayern lifted the Champions League the following season.

Five years after returning to Dortmund, Hummels is in the midst of a career renaissance, named Man of the Match in both semi-finals having kept Paris Saint-Germain and superstar Kylian Mbappe goalless.

On Tuesday, Hummels said he was “disappointed” to be left out of Germany’s Euro 2024 squad, but had a chance to wash it away in London.

“If I hold the trophy in my hands, I’ll give my career an A,” Hummels said, saying disappointment would be “filed away”.

Reus — who missed his chance at World Cup glory alongside Hummels in 2014 due to injury — stayed at Dortmund since the 2013 final, despite offers from Germany and further afield, as Bayern won the next 11 Bundesliga titles.

While Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen broke Bayern’s streak this season, Reus leaves Dortmund having never won the league.

He came agonisingly close last season, when a final day 2-2 draw with Mainz saw Bayern lift the shield again, but a win on Saturday would remove any remaining disappointment.

Besides Hummels and Reus, captain Emre Can tasted defeat against Real in the 2018 final with Klopp’s Liverpool, while Niklas Suele won in 2020 when Bayern beat PSG.

Can revealed he had been in touch with Klopp, who told him to set things right on Saturday.

“He texted me after the (semi-final) in Paris and just said ‘go and win the final’.”

Dortmund manager Edin Terzic recognised the romance of Reus’ story but said he would be in the squad for footballing reasons.

“Marco has shown that he’s not finished yet,” said Terzic.

“To have a final at Wembley in his first and his last seasons with Borussia Dortmund… it would be the perfect way to close the circle.

“I need Marco on Saturday. I need his qualities and we need his quality. We need Marco because he has this experience and he has played on this stage before.”

Karim Adeyemi, 22, the lightning-fast winger who has saved his best performances for Europe this season, said Saturday “was not just about us, but also about having a nice farewell for Marco.

“And I will personally do everything I can to make sure he leaves the pitch happy.”

dwi/ea/dmc

Borussia Dortmund

AFP

(NAMPA / AFP)

Written by: Staff Writer

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