Only a bit of Samba in Berlin

Posted by Susie Schaaf

After Saturday night's Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge joked that Bayern could still complete the treble with a DFB Pokal final win over VfB Stuttgart, even if the team was still a bit inebriated. "I know we have another final in six days," he said at the post-match party, "but I think we still have a chance even with 1.8 mg [blood alcohol content]!"

Maybe yes, maybe no. But now the question is whether they can beat Stuttgart while drunk and without two Brazilians. Brazil's football governing body, the CBF, has insisted that Dante and Luis Gustavo report for training 14 days before the June 15 start of the Confederations Cup per a FIFA mandate -- meaning the defender and holding midfielder will miss the DFB Pokal final Saturday in Berlin.

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A scheduling error by the DFB led to this conflict, and despite Bayern trying to reach some sort of agreement, Brazil will not budge. "We were forced into this step," Rummenigge said at a news conference. "We tried to find a solution with FIFA and the DFB -- the situation is unpleasant for us.

"We had the impression some sort of psychological pressure was put on the players in that it would be the end of their international careers if they did not report on time. I find that absolutely unacceptable."

It is perplexing, given Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari gave Neymar special permission to travel to Barcelona for the young star's coming-out party Monday with his new team. Surely the chance at winning a historic treble is just as important?

At least Vicente del Bosque seems to think so. Spain's coach selected Javi Martinez for the Confederations Cup squad, but Martinez will be allowed to feature in the Pokal first.

For Bayern Munich, the loss of the pair is devastating and will force Jupp Heynckes into a more rigid team selection. Dante has been the most outstanding center back in the Bundesliga by a long stretch this season, and Gustavo -- while not being given a regular starting berth -- has been used smartly by Heynckes as a game changer.

The duo have not spoken much about the club vs. country conundrum they find themselves in, but one can only imagine them to be heartbroken. Former Bayern and Moenchengladbach star Kalle Del'Haye remarked, "I've never seen Dante with such sad eyes."

Furious, and with heavy hearts, Bayern finally consented to release the pair, with Rummenigge stating it would be "inhumane" not to. Bayern now marches on to Berlin with just a bit of Samba. Indeed, Rafinha will have to pick up some slack. And one can only hope, at the end of it all, that Bayern will be holding up two additional jerseys: Dante's 4 and Luis Gustavo's 30.

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