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The Independent Online

Van Gaal's the man

There are two European Cup finals today, the Champions League between Bayern Munich and Internazionale in Madrid tonight, and a few hours earlier the Heineken is staged in Paris between Biarritz and Toulouse.

Apart from Englishman Howard Webb being the Bernabeu referee we have no national interest at stake. So the bookies have a job getting us worked up for an all-French final, and a match between the teams that knocked out Chelsea and Manchester United.

OK, so I'm playing the "little Brit" but even if we're not moved by today's showdowns we should still watch and learn. What sort of snare will Jose Mourinho unfurl for his former boss Louis van Gaal? Neither man is short of ego – try reading Budd Schulberg's What Makes Sammy Run? for a picture of a Mourinho-like rise – so the betting interest is not so much in the teams as their coaches. I marginally favour Van Gaal (below), and will take Bet 365's 5-2 about Bayern to a £10 stake. I'll also have £2 on each team to win on penalties, at 10-1 with sportingbet.

The French international XV is more or less divided up between Biarritz and Toulouse but the latter may have the more influential players – £20 win, at 4-11, at Coral. In the French Open tennis, both favourites could win – £10 on Rafael Nadal at 2-5, the same on Justine Henin, at 5-1, both with sportingbet.

*After our bout of "seconditis", England's T20 team impressively defeated Australia to land a 12-1 bet – sometimes it pays to be a little Brit.

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