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Football: Sammer urges Bayern to claim historic treble

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Bayern Munich's sporting director Matthias Sammer has told the Champions League winners to write themselves into the history books in Saturday's German Cup final as they bid to become the first Bundesliga side to win the treble.

Having won the German league with a record tally of 91 points and lifted the Champions League trophy at Wembley last Saturday, Bayern face VfB Stuttgart in Berlin looking to seal an unprecedented treble, which no other German team has achieved.

"This is a historic opportunity and we have to grasp it," said Sammer.

"This is much, much more than just a final."

With a capacity crowd of 74,244 expected at Berlin's Olympic Stadium, the European champions start as overwhelming favourites against Stuttgart, whom they have already beaten 6-1 at home and 2-0 away in the league this season.

"We have a huge chance of doing something which has never been done before," said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm.

After the final, Bayern will wave farewell to coach Jupp Heynckes, who steps down after two years in charge to be replaced by Pep Guardiola.

The 68-year-old has said he will announce his future plans either after Saturday's final "if I am in a good mood" or next week at the latest.

"We want to win this trophy for him," insisted Bayern's vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger with Munich chasing their 45th victory in their 53rd match this season.

"Stuttgart will say anything is possible in one game and they are right, but if we play to our potential, it'll be difficult to beat us."

Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia, a former Bayern player, has already quipped: "We're considering whether we should compete at all", but as Germany coach Joachim Loew has pointed out "the favourite is not automatically the winner".

Labbadia has compared Stuttgart, who finished 12th in the league, as a "small-vehicle manufacturer" compared to Bayern's "Mercedes-Benz", but Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge called for caution.

"We must not allow ourselves to make the mistake of believing the cup is already won," said Rummenigge.

"Stuttgart won't raise the white flag, more likely they will give their all."

Rummenigge provoked Stuttgart in his speech after Bayern's Wembley win when he told his team they should celebrate hard as they could beat Stuttgart half-drunk in the German Cup final.

Stuttgart's sporting director Fredi Bobic branded the remark "respectless", but Labbadia refrained from biting back saying there "is already enough circus without a deliberate war of words".

Bayern arrive in Berlin without Brazil pair Dante and defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo, who have been called up by their country for Sunday's friendly against England and the Confederation Cup from June 15-30.

"I have rarely seen players struggle to maintain their composure as much Dante and Luiz Gustavo," admitted Heynckes, who spoke to Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari in a failed bid to resolve the situation.

"They worked the whole year and have lived for success, then suddenly they are told, two days before the final: 'No, you need to travel home'.

"That is a huge disappointment for the players, but I didn't want them to miss out on playing at the 2014 World Cup."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130531/football-sammer-urges-bayern-claim-historic-treble