LONDON // Philipp Lahm insisted that this is the strongest Bayern Munich in recent times as the club projected a mood of confidence ahead of today's Uefa Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund.
A traffic accident meant they arrived at Wembley almost half an hour later than scheduled for yesterday's news conference but there was no sign of irritation as the Bayern captain maintained that past traumas will not haunt them.
The Dortmund coach, Jurgen Klopp, seemed rather more exercised by the issue of traffic. "Can the police not use the blue lights?" he asked, albeit jokingly.
"For getting to the game punctually that would be very useful. If anybody knows a policeman, maybe they could ask?"
Bayern lost in the final to Inter Milan in 2010 and to Chelsea last year but Lahm believes they are a better side now.
"If you look at the recent past, this is a huge step forward," he said.
"We've matured a lot and we're developing really well. It's the third time in four years we've been in the final and I'm quite certain this team will have more opportunities to play in these finals in the next few years."
Dortmund may not. With Mario Gotze leaving for Bayern and Robert Lewandowski's future at the club in doubt, there is a sense that this might be this Dortmund's only chance at a Champions League.
Neven Subotic acknowledged the difference in stature between the sides.
"This is a chance to show players who think they might like to go to Munich that they'd be missing out," he said
Losing in their own stadium last year came as a particularly bitter blow to Bayern but Lahm claimed that that frustration has fired them this season as they seek a treble.
"I think last year's final won't have a negative impact on tomorrow, only a positive one because we're motivated," he said.
"We'll be more attentive in our actions than in a standard scenario. We certainly won't be giving things away. I think it will only sharpen our senses."
Looking back to last year's loss on penalties to Chelsea, Lahm added: I think we really did play very well last year but up to the 83rd minute we didn't score a goal, and then only the one. That's the thing.
"So I think maybe in terms of making the most of our opportunities, that maybe cost us the title. We'll have to be more rigorous. I do think we're doing the right things. I think performances have been good and the team has progressed. We're close together and the team is efficient."
Asked if Bayern had a weakness, he bullishly denied they have any vulnerabilities.
"Our weaknesses?" he said. "I can't say I have a feeling we have any weaknesses. We've played a lot of games without any goals being scored against us. We feel good about tomorrow." Even the prospect of another penalty shoot-out doesn't daunt them. "I don't think anybody is going to wet their pants over it," he said.
Thomas Muller, who scored in last year's final and played in the defeat in 2010, confirmed that confidence is high, all the more so because Bayern have had the better of their four meetings with Dortmund this year, winning two and drawing two. "I don't feel quite as nervous as I did in the last two finals," he said. "Of course I'll start getting goose bumps but you need that. We're aware of what we're playing for here."
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