May sees Dortmund reach the final and play out final league games
With the league already tied up, all that was left for Bean to do was lead his side to the Champions League final, which he did with two successive 1-0 victories against Arsenal.
Bean was adamant that his tactic of continuing to play his first team players in league fixtures, despite the league already being secured and safely in trophy cabinet back in Dortmund's training complex, Bean told the press it was vital to "Keep his starting players fresh before the big final. Resting players for a month, is not a viable option, it leads to rustiness and poor quality."
Not many people can disagree with that statement, despite his side perhaps not playing at 100%, they still got game time and escaped injury.
Dortmund VS Nurnberg 3-0
A dominant and confident win for the home side, as the reigning champions trotted out 3-0 winners over the struggling visitors.
Bean emphasised in his pre-match press conference that he wanted to see his players playing as well as they ever have, performing at the levels which got them to the upcoming Champions League final in the first place.
Aubameyang duly delivered with a superb hat-trick within the opening half an hour to kill this game before it got started.
His first of the game, came from the penalty spot after just four minutes, as he was brought down himself. The man brushed himself down and as cool as you could like, finessed the ball into the far corner.
His second came just five minutes later, this time following a cross from Mario Fernandes and the striker rose the highest to head home.
The hat-trick and the rout was completed, when a Marco Reus pass found the striker in acres of space on the left hand side. He duly cut inside, pulled the ball back outside, before blasting it past the keeper at the near post.
Admittedly the keeper should have saved it for certain, but Aubameyang was not complaining as he scored yet another hat-trick this season.
My man of the match is of course Aubameyang, the striker was in superb form and he could have actually scored several more.
Darmstadt VS Dortmund 0-1
A truly shock loss for the league champions, who fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of lowly Darmstadt.
It was later described as "the dullest match I have ever been charge of" by Bean. He quickly assured the press it was not meant as a dig at the match winners, but about the general quality of play produced by his own side. He even went on to admit that his side deserved to be several goals behind rather than just one at half-time, let alone the final result.
In the end it was an early deflected shot which did it for the home side and Dortmund fell to a shock defeat.
No man of the match for this game as it was just that dire!
Dortmund VS Werder Bremen 4-0
Four goals and four different goal scorers.
Dortmund were in unreal form, the form that could win them the Champions League? Well that is yet to be seen, but one for certain is that, they were in fine form against mid table Bremen side.
Marco Reus, the German international, opened the scoring with a beautifully curling free-kick from just outside the edge of the area.
Mkhitaryan added the second of the game, volleying home from point blank range following a Reus cross, on the right hand side. The second goal of the game and both from Dortmund wingers.
The game entered half-time 2-0 and Dortmund were cruising.
Julian Weigl followed up his superb recent few weeks, by adding a goal himself, sweeping the ball home from the six yard box, after Aubameyang had a volley blocked bravely.
Young fullback Jorge, scored the fourth and final goal of the game as Dortmund fans gave their side a standing ovation.
Bean and his side completed the annual lap of honour, this time carrying the trophy around with them and Bean finished the day with his end of season speech, thanking the fans and urging them for one last roar against Manchester United.
Bean and İlkay Gündoğan were spotted by keen eyed photographers, embracing inside the tunnel, just before the lap of honour took place, with Bean gesturing to the fans as to indicate it was essential he made sure he took part in his lap of honour.
This sparked fierce rumours post game that the German central midfielder was on the way out in the summer.
It is tough to choose between four goal scorers as to who was the key man, but today Marco Reus narrowly scrapes it. He was in superb form and deserved the post match plaudits from journalists.
We landed in Cardiff without a hitch, our state of the art private jet being gifted a private runway to make sure our departure from the airport also went without a hitch.
The excitement among the players was at the highest yet, tomorrow evening we will be playing in the Champions League final!
Cardiff was abuzz with excitement at being able to host the Champions League final, pubs were offering half-price drinks to anyone who could predict parts of the game such as first goal scorer or full-time score.
Many Manchester United fans were yet to arrive, being one long but do able coach journey away meant many were just arriving that evening to hit the pubs. Whereas Dortmund fans crowded the streets, yellow dominating the normally red colour of Cardiff.
This proud rugby city and country was just about to host the biggest event in club football.
Manchester United legend and Wales fan favourite, Ryan Giggs walked down the streets of Cardiff by chance as we were walking up them. As a team we decided to take a walked tour around the streets near our team hotel, to get a grasp for the area.
Ryan came straight over and shook my hand, congratulating me on my teams progress to the final. He went on to speak to all the players, as a crowd of media and football fans gathered round.
As Ryan departed, aiming to catch a train towards the media centre of Cardiff for his punditry role, we reached our 5* hotel.
The standard procedures were carried out, the players split themselves into twos and went to their new rooms, as I relaxed in the lobby.
It still felt surreal that we were in the Champions League final, in just my second season. I know I was very fortunate to take over such a talented group of players but the past two seasons have been nothing short of exceptional.
I had decided to take a different approach to pre-game tactics today, we had our usual causal training session before matches, today focusing on defence to counter-attacks in quick success. But on an individual player basis I decided that I would randomly pull them to the side subtly and offer them some encouragement and small instructions for how I want them to play tomorrow.
With training all finished and players given permission to relax for the evening, I checked my watch. Damn it's nearly time for press conference I muttered. I signalled to Reus, Aubameyang and Steve Walsh that it was time for the four of to go, this was to be the group of Dortmund players and staff to face the media one last time before the biggest final of many of our lives.
Bean enjoys last press conference before "biggest day of my life"
Joshua Bean and his side arrived in Cardiff for the Champions League final around midday today and after bumping into opposition retired fan favourite Ryan Giggs and a quick walk around the surrounding streets of their hotel, the side had a quick rest inside the hotel.
It is believed that Bean and assistant manager Steve Walsh both oversaw training later that evening, with the help of their coaching staff.
After this, it was time for Bean, Aubameyang, Marco Reus and Steve Walsh to be sped off by local police convoy to the media centre for their pre-match press conferences.
Bean was the last to take his seat, dead in the centre of the other men and thanked the press for coming out tonight in such large numbers. Bean insisted that the opening few questions should be directed at the two players and Steve Walsh.
Reus and Aubameyang answered questions ranging from, "what has bee your favourite moment so far in the Champions League?" to "what do you think of coming against a Louis Van Gaal, United side that has destroyed all in their path?".
Steve Walsh answered questions to do with the fitness, training and readiness of the players before the big game and then it was Bean's turn to answer the presses questions.
"Josh you opposite number in Van Gaal, of course has far more experience than you and has even won the competition back in 1995 with that great Ajax side. Do you feel you can cope under the pressure like he already proven he can?"
"Well, I have already won two league titles and the DFB-Pokal so I have shown myself to cope with pressure. Of course nothing compares to the Champions League, but it is not like I am coming into this match without a single trophy to my name."
"Fair enough. What about the fact that Manchester United have quite literally destroyed anyone in their path on their way to the finals, whereas you scraped past Inter Milan 1-0, Manchester City 3-2 and Arsenal 2-0. Manchester United beat Leverkusen by more goals than you scored in the entire knockout stages!
"I think we have shown that we are just as good as anybody when it comes to goal scoring. But you are making out as if my defence is one of the worst in Europe? It is actually on of the best, so if anyone will be able to combat the explosive attack of United it will be my guys."
"How do you plan to set up your side for this game?"
"Well obviously I won't be giving away my tactics just now! But I can admit that defensively we are going to look to be a lot more secure than perhaps people are used to seeing, but that is to be expected in such a big game.
"Finally Josh, just how big is tomorrows match for you?"
"Well it goes without saying that the Champions League final is huge. It is honestly the biggest day of my life, without a doubt."
With that Bean and his team departed back for their hotels where they will be looking for a good rest, before what Bean is labelling the biggest day of his life.
Up and down I paced, the teams were out, the stage was set, the trophy was on show. Like two gladiators buckling under the roars of the crowd, both teams entered their shells for the Champions League anthem.
All the players entered their shells for a final moment of thought. A final moment of reflection. Perhaps for some a final prayer before the big game.
As the anthem ended both sides shook hands and set up on their sides of the field. It was nearly time.
The whistle sounded our around the Millennium Stadium and the roar from the sea of yellow to my left hand side was deafening almost, the flares were already being put in good use.
I wouldn't ever admit this to the press, but I had quite clearly set my side up to counter-attack tonight. I was of the opinion Dortmund were the second best team in Europe at this moment in time.
Miles behind the Manchester United side we faced, who seemingly crushed everyone and anyone domestically and in Europe.
The first 20 minutes went without a hitch, we were yet to create a proper chance but yet to give way to a United attack. So it was even I thought.
Reus had my heart in my mouth for a moment, when his edge of the area free-kick clattered into the crossbar, but I watched on distraught as De Gea was able to catch the rebound.
What reflexes he has, I admitted. If I could have any keeper in the world it would be him truth be told.
The remainder of the first half passed without much action, I must admit it was a rather dull match thus far, but we were stifling the United attack and not looking too bad going forwards ourselves.
I simply reminded the players, that the fans have travelled all over Europe this season, paid so much money for the games, hotels and flights, that we should be doing this for them.
The second half saw Van Gaal unleash the shackles on his players, perhaps brought about by big day nerves and I watched in horror as my Dortmund side represented nothing more than a stiff phalanx on the edge of the area.
The defenders looked impenetrable but the lack of attacking threat worried me.
Suddenly former Dortmund loanee Adnan Januzaj, burst past the two centre backs before pulling the ball across the face of goal. I may not be a religious man, but I thanked the Gods as I witnessed Rooney baring down on an open goal, only to slip on the wet turf and hit the ball wide.
I knew that as painful as this performance was to watch, I had to stick with it. Defensively we were just holding out, if we tried to push forward we would be hurt, that is how potent this United attack have been.
Just as I was considering changes to make, Aubameyang surged forwards running onto a loose ball, he was able to tap the ball past Chris Smalling before delivering a wonderful cross towards the back post, all I could see was Weigl launch himself at the ball but he was just unable to get any contact onto the ball.
It was 0-0 and the full whistle screeched around the Millennium Stadium. This game was going to be a tactical masterclass.
It was just as I was about to send the players back on, I decided upon my strategy for the game. A boring and risky one perhaps. But one I thought wold win us the game.
I was going to make sure we reach penalties.
All season we had missed one penalty, Xabi Alonso hitting the bar.
United had missed eight, struggling with penalties in all competitions all season. We reach penalties and we win was my logic.
What we saw in the next 30 minutes, was nothing short of a brick wall and a few busses being thrown in front of our goal, United threw every single ounce of effort they had at our goal. Hell they even stuck De Gea on free-kicks inside their own half to punt into our box.
It was a bombardment on our area, the footballing equivalent of the siege of Stalingrad. Thankfully less like the siege of Troy, as we were not to be tricked out.
I looked each and everyone of my players in the eyes, there was not a single player here I couldn't trust to win me this final if it came down to them. Not a single player looked nervous, I was happy with that.
Win or lose, it was inevitable that someone from my band of players were going to miss, I needed to make sure that the rest of the players would not be affected by this.
"Lads, I believe in every single one of you, I have no doubt in any of you. It is well known how much United have struggled this season when it comes to penalties, it was documented enough in the press, that is going to play on their minds, this is ours for the taking lads. Make sure we are coming home with that trophy on the plane and not flying off to Manchester! Come on lads!"
I looked on and stared at the sky, it was in the hands of fate now. I was powerless.
"And welcome back from the break, talking you through this penalty shoot out is myself Martin Tyler and former United player Gary Neville. Dortmund to take first in front of their own fans, this could be a big deal."
"Indeed Martin, this could be huge in the outcome of the shootout. Dortmund have their fans on their side here and take first. It is Aubameyang walking forwards towards to take first."
"Aubameyang has lined up his run up, a very long one at that. Ref signals the start of the shootout, Aubameyang runs up. It's good! Confident start for Dortmund as Aubameyang blasts it bast De Gea who nearly got a hand on the ball"
Rulli looks confident here against Mata, Mata runs up.. It is saved!! Sensational diving save from Rulli! Dortmund take first blood here!"
"My oh my what a save that was!! Incredible! Reus is to take for Dortmund. Emphatic from the German as he salutes the crowd behind the goal, he sends De Gea the wrong way and blasts it home!"
"Indeed Martin, that was superb from Marco Reus who has had a quiet game tonight. Januzaj with an important penalty here. He looks confident I must add. It is saved again! Rulli is two for two! Dortmund are on the verge of European greatness!"
"Mkhitaryan has already finished his run up, he is ready. He runs and slots it into the self hand corner! De Gea went the wrong way! Any miss from United or successful penalty from Dortmund wins them the Champions League. Pressure is all on, Bernardo now... My goodness it strikes the post and goes in what a lucky, lucky man!"
"Now, Julian Weigl who won so many plaudits last season for his form, has the chance to win the Champions League. He's gone for power.. And it doesn't pay off! It strikes both posts before eventually rolling harmlessly away from goal, my oh my United cling on!" Now it is Bastian Schweinsteiger former Bayern Munich man. And he does convert it! United are well and truly back in this now!"
"Mehmet Topal to take for Dortmund, the substitute. AND HE HITS THE BAR! Dortmund are imploding here and Manchester United are back in this. João Mário to take for United to make it 3-3. He does! He hits the top left corner with power and precision and Bean looks in shock on the touchline, how have Dortmund messed this up!"
"My my this is a big risk from Dortmund, already we see José Giménez coming up to take, the centre back. A short run up, he goes for finesse and it hits De Gea and rolls in! So unlucky for the United goalkeeper but José Giménez will not be moaning. Dortmund lead again, pressure on United now.
"Eric Dier now, he is waiting for Rulli to get on his line. The keeper playing all kinds of mind games right now. But that doesn't matter!! Dier calmly slots it the opposite direction to the keeper, pressure back on Dortmund and it is Sokratis Papastathopoulos to take now. Dortmund will be hoping his penalty is easier than his name is to pronounce! The Greek international looks steely eyed ahead and he hits the bar and it GOES IN! Unbelievably lucky there!
Now then, Smalling to take the penalty to keep United in the game. He has gone for a long run up here. Rulli is pointing to where he is going to dive, to the right he is telling Smalling. Smalling runs up. ITS SAVED, ITS SAVED. DORTMUND WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! RULLI SAID HE WAS GOING RIGHT, HE WENT RIGHT AD SMALLING FOLLOWED SUIT! UNREAL BY THE KEEPER! DORTMUND HAVE DONE IT!
********** I was nearly watching between my fingers as Chris Smalling placed the ball on the penalty spot. If he scored it goes on for more if he misses we win the Champions League.
I could see the concentration on Rulli's face as he told the United defender exactly where he was going to dive. Smalling seemed to ignore this. Up he ran,all I could see was the ball moving in slow motion as he struck it. He has gone right please for the love of God, Rulli best dive right now.
All I remember was seeing Rulli take off to his right, just has he said he would and the ball smash into the hands of the Argentine.
"YESSSSSSS" I screamed, "We've done we've done it"! I screamed at any one I could grab hold of, the players were off, every single player was off towards Rulli, some crying, some screaming and some others just fell to the ground in celebration and joy.
The United players and coaching staff littered the floor as they fell to their knees in despiar, the juxtaposition of emotions was something that looking back at seems odd to have been in the centre of.
But as Steve Walsh lifted me in the air and several other members of my backroom staff, that I put together myself, ran over to jump on me I realised this was the greatest moment of my life.
I found myself sprinting onto the pitch, diving on the players and being paraded around the stadium.