By John Hynes
Borussia Dortmund legend Karl-Heinz Riedle believes that his old side will be facing the best Bayern Munich team he has ever seen in the Champions League final on Saturday.
Wembley will host the all-German showpiece in Europe's premier club competition, and the treble-chasing Bavarians go into the game as strong favourites after strolling to the Bundesliga title with a record points tally before dismantling Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals.
Riedle feels that Jupp Heynckes' Bayern have surpassed even the great side of the 1970s, when legends such as Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller and Sepp Maier were the stars of the team.
"By far, I think this is the best Bayern team I've seen," Riedle told Goal.
"They're probably the best since Beckenbauer played for them and they won the European Cup three years in a row in the 70s.
"They were confident about defeating Barca. Now they'll be even more confident going into the final."
Former Germany star Riedle was Dortmund's hero when they won the Champions League in 1997, scoring twice in a 3-1 final win over Juventus in Munich, and the 47-year-old believes his former club can upset the odds again this year.
"For many people, Borussia won't be favourites but nobody expected us to win it in 1997," the World Cup winner explained.
"Progressing to the final has been a massive step for Dortmund. After the team I was in won the European Cup they had a few difficult years with some financial problems.
"Now they are enjoying a good period even if they have not won the league this season. The way they play seems ideal for European football.
"The group they were in before Christmas - with Real Madrid, Ajax and Manchester City - looked like it was going to be very tough. Instead, most teams have struggled to cope with them."
BVB secured their passage to the semi-finals of the competition by scoring twice in stoppage time to defeat Malaga 3-2 on aggregate in the last eight and Riedle is still amazed by their miraculous comeback.
"It was a wonder... a miracle. I was watching and didn't believe they could do it. To score twice late on was quite lucky. But overall, if you looked at both legs, you would agree that Dortmund were the better team."
The 47-year-old went on to hail the quality in Jurgen Klopp's squad, and paid tribute to the coach himself.
"They have so much talent all over the pitch. The best two players are Marco Reus and Mario Gotze. Robert Lewandowski is in brilliant form and Mats Hummels is an impressive defender too.
"They're a young team, but they have already gained a lot of experience.
"Klopp is a top guy. He gets the most out of his team and is the right person to help all of the young players reach their potential. He wants them to play in a certain way and so far it has proved very successful."
It was confirmed at the end of April that Gotze will join Bayern this summer in a €37 million deal, and Riedle believes further high-profile exits from Signal Iduna Park are inevitable.
"Offers will come, that is certain. I was older when I left, 31 nearly 32. Playing in England was always a dream for me," he added, referring to his four years at Liverpool and Fulham.
"Maybe the younger Dortmund players should stay for another year or two as that time will help them develop and grow."
During a glittering career, which also saw him excel in Serie A for Lazio, Riedle won three Bundesliga titles, a Champions League and a World Cup.