They have formed a potent midfield partnership all season and now Mark van Bommel and Bastian Schweinsteiger are convinced FC Bayern München can complete a remarkable treble in Madrid.
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Mark van Bommel and Bastian Schweinsteiger are convinced the opportunity to complete the most successful season in FC Bayern München's illustrious history will spur the team to victory in the UEFA Champions League final.
With the Bundesliga shield and German Cup already in the trophy cabinet back in Munich, Bayern would complete a clean sweep by defeating FC Internazionale Milano – who are in exactly the same position having won Serie A and the Coppa Italia – at the Santiago Bernabéu. "We have a positive attitude," Schweinsteiger told the pre-match press conference. "The atmosphere is great within the team. Every player knows that we can achieve something historic; we can become the first team from Germany to win the treble so every one of us can't wait to play, and win, this final. We had a great evening [at the German Cup final] in Berlin and I assume it will be an even greater evening on Saturday."
In spite of their confidence, the Bayern pair were keen to emphasise their respect for the opposition in Madrid, Schweinsteiger saying: "Inter are very good at the back, but they also have players up front who can decide the game even if they have only two or three chances. That's what makes them dangerous." His captain Van Bommel was more expansive: "Inter have a very strong team and they deserve to be in the final. They are very compact and aren't just defensive; they are very strong going forward too. We saw against Barcelona that their defence was very good; they almost played the whole [second leg] in their own half, but here they are. We will try to attack, but in every game Inter have shown they have a good team as a whole – not just in defence."
The Dutch international had words of praise for compatriots on both teams, describing Inter playmaker Wesley Sneijder as "a world-class player who has all the qualities to become the world's best footballer" and offering a detailed assessment of Arjen Robben's role in the Bayern team. "I'm glad he plays for us," he summed up. Van Bommel is the only member of his squad to have featured on the victorious side in the UEFA Champions League final having played for FC Barcelona's 2006 winners and is eager to repeat the experience. "It's a great feeling. If you ask me how I felt that day, I cannot say exactly, because it was really intense and very emotional. You have to enjoy it, and of course if you win it it's the most beautiful thing that can happen."
That is something Schweinsteiger – who has flourished this season alongside Van Bommel in a deeper-lying central midfield role – is understandably keen to discover for himself, the German international pointing to the influence of Louis van Gaal as a key reason for Bayern's success. "When you have a new coach and new staff, it changes your own philosophy," he said of the Dutchman. "This year we have had a very successful philosophy.
"At the beginning we needed patience, we had to get to know each other and adapt to each other. But even though the results weren't there, we had a good feeling. Now we're getting rewarded for it and that's great. [Van Gaal's] mindset fits the team really well. I hope that we will get rewarded. We must not make any mistakes and play our own game and if we do that, we have a really good chance to win the trophy."