Final pits Brazil vs Germany and old ghosts

RIO DE JANEIRO: The first half was not even over and Brazilian fans, 3-0 up in the semi-final against Honduras, were chanting, "Germany, just you wait, your time is coming."

A few hours later, their wish came true and after the Germans beat Nigeria 2-0 in the other semi-final one of the most intriguing sub-plots of the Olympics was set: an under-23 version of the unforgettable 2014 World Cup semi-final that finished Brazil 1-7 Germany.

That six-goal mauling left a huge scar on Brazil's footballing psyche and as the chants showed, fans in the host nation are desperate to get revenge if not on the full German side, then at least on a German side.

As they left the Maracana after their 6-0 win, Brazil's players did not know if Germany would overcome Nigeria in the second semi-final.

But they did, and that was good news for full back Douglas Santos.

German sides, meanwhile, were reluctant to let their top stars prioritise the Olympics over the Bundesliga and clubs are not obliged to release them.

They came to Brazil with no players from the country's dominant club Bayern Munich and only four from the other three clubs that finished in the top four of last year's Bundesliga. Their three over-age players have just 26 full caps between them, while Brazil's three have 81.

As if those advantages were not enough, Brazil will have home advantage.

That made little difference in 2014 but Brazil hope that the Maracana is more intimidating that the Mineirao in Belo Horizonte and that the young German players are easier to ruffle than their older peers were two years ago.

"The fans help us," said Gabriel Jesus after 52,000 supporters roared them to victory over Honduras. "It makes a difference. I am sure they will help us even more on Saturday."