Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich - prediction, team news, lineups
The German football calendar heads towards its conclusion for the 2019-20 season on Saturday as Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen face off at the Olympiastadion for the right to be crowned DFB-Pokal champions.
The two sides endured contrasting Bundesliga campaigns, with Leverkusen just missing out on a spot in the top four whereas Bayern became top-flight champions for the 30th time in the club's illustrious history.
Leverkusen's 2019-20 Bundesliga campaign ended in bitter disappointment as they were pipped to the final Champions League spot by Borussia Monchengladbach on the last day of the season.
Peter Bosz 's men did all they could as an early Kevin Volland winner was enough to see off Mainz 05, but Leverkusen's failure to pick up all three points against Schalke 04 and Hertha Berlin ultimately proved to be their downfall as they prepare for another season in the Europa League.
However, their attention now turns to the Olympiastadion as they look to win the DFB-Pokal for only the second time in their history - their solitary triumph in the competition coming in the 1992-93 final against Hertha Berlin.
Since then, Leverkusen have reached the final twice in the 2001-02 and 2008-09 seasons, but Die Werkself were forced to settle for runners-up medals against Schalke and Werder Bremen respectively.
Bosz's side had a relatively straightforward run to the final as they overcame Alemannia Aahcen, SC Paderborn, Stuttgart, Union Berlin and Saarbrucken to set up a tie with the 30-time Bundesliga champions, and the fixtures do not end there as Leverkusen still have a Europa League last-16 second leg against Rangers to look forward to in August.
It seems to be a case of if rather than when Bayern's dominance of the German football scene will let up, with the Bavarian giants securing their eighth straight Bundesliga title by a margin of 13 points over closest rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Bayern ended their triumphant campaign in perfect fashion with a 4-0 victory at Wolfsburg, and Hansi Flick would have been delighted by the way his side went about their business despite having the title wrapped up well before the final weekend of the season.
Unsurprisingly, the Bundesliga champions have recorded more DFB-Pokal successes than any other side, with last season's 3-0 victory over RB Leipzig in the final representing their 19th triumph in the competition.
However, the Bavarian giants failed to win in 2017 and 2018 - with Dortmund and Frankfurt taking the accolade respectively in those years - and Bayern have been knocked out before the final just three times since 2010.
Flick's men also remain on course for a historic treble following their 3-0 victory over Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash - and it is difficult to imagine Frank Lampard 's side turning the tie around in Bayern's own backyard.
The Bundesliga champions overcame Energie Cottbus, VfL Bochum, Hoffenheim, Schalke and Frankfurt to reach their 24th final, and victory over Leverkusen would stretch Bayern's winning run across all competitions to 17 matches.
Bayer Leverkusen DFB-Pokal form: WWWWW
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions): LWDWLW
Bayern Munich DFB-Pokal form: WWWWW
Bayern Munich form (all competitions): WWWWWW
Bosz will be hopeful of having a fully-fit squad to select from for the clash with Bayern, although Karim Bellarabi may be forced to miss out with a hamstring issue.
Speculation has continued to grow over the future of 21-year-old Kai Havertz in recent weeks, but the German playmaker should be handed a starting role behind Volland on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Bayern are well-positioned to name their strongest lineup possible as they look to record their 20th success in the DFB-Pokal.
Thiago Alcantara and Corentin Tolisso have returned to training but are unlikely to be risked by Flick, while Niklas Sule and Javi Martinez will both watch from the sidelines.
The prolific Robert Lewandowski has scored four goals in the tournament thus far, and the 31-year-old will hit the 50-goal mark in all competitions for the season if he finds the back of the net in Saturday's final.
Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; L. Bender, Tah, S. Bender, Wendell; Aranguiz, Baumgartlinger; Diaby, Havertz, Bailey; Volland
Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski
We say: Bayer Leverkusen 1-3 Bayern Munich
Leverkusen will be determined to bounce back from their Bundesliga disappointment and clinch a piece of silverware, but they have been handed a mammoth task against one of the most dominant sides on the planet right now, and we cannot see anything other than a comfortable victory for Bayern as they endeavour to lift the DFB-Pokal trophy for a 20th time.