Barcelona – Juventus
Today the premier event in European club football is due to be contested by FC Barcelona of Spain and Juventus of Italy. Both clubs have recently won their respective leagues and cup competitions meaning that the winner of this game will also complete a championship treble.
The treble has only previously been won 7 times with Glasgow Celtic wining the first treble in 1967 and FC Bayern Munich the latest in 2013. The treble is considered extremely difficult to win as a club would typically need to perform well in their domestic league, generally comprising of around 38 games and also going on two long cup runs which is usually around 18 games (not taking into account replays). 60 games may not sound like a lot but these games are played over 10 months averaging 6 games a month at the very top level.
On top of the treble that is up for grabs, the Champions League is seen as the grandest prize in club football with the winning team being crowned the champions of Europe. This is the epitome of a great team and establishes the winning players as stars in their own right.
So let’s look at the two teams:
Manager: Luis Enrique – former Barcelona & Spain Midfielder
Colours: Blue & Red
Key Player:Lionel Messi – Vice-Captain, World Player of the year 4 times, current 2nd all-time leading scorer in the UEFA Champions League and Barcelona’s all-time top goal scorer.
– Won the Champions league on 3 previous occasions with Barcelona
Barcelona are currently ranked 3rd in the UEFA Champions League all time club rankings.
They appeared in the final in 2011 beating Manchester United 3-1, 8 Players in the Barcelona squad were also in the squad for their last final appearance. They have won the tournament 4 times in the past, 3 of which were in the last 10 years.
Their record in the final is Won 4, Lost 3
How they got to the final:
APOEL Agg. 5-0
Paris Saint-Germain Agg. 5-4
Man City Agg. 3-1
Paris Saint-Germain Agg. 5-1
Bayern Munich Agg. 5-3
Manager: Massimiliano Allegri – Former Midfielder and AC Milan Manager
Nicknames: la Vecchia Signora (the Old Lady), Juve
Colours: Black & White
Key Player: Andrea Pirlo, fourth most capped Italy player, 3 time Serie A Footballer of the Year, World Cup winner and Olympic bronze medallist.
Juventus are currently ranked 6th in the UEFA Champions League all time club rankings
This is their first final in 12 years, the last time they were in the final they lost on penalties to AC Milan at Old Trafford. Their Goalkeeper, Buffon, is the only player still in the squad from the 2003 final, Pirlo did also play in the game but for AC Milan. They have won the competition twice in the past.
Their record in the final is Won 2, Lost 5
How they got to the final:
Malmo FF Agg. 4-0
Atletico Madrid Agg. 0-1
Olympiacos Agg. 3-3
Borussia Dortmund Agg. 5-1
Monaco Agg. 1-0
Real Madrid Agg. 3-2
This is the first Champions League Final to be hosted in Berlin. The stadium was originally built for the infamous 1936 Olympic Games and has hosted numerous football events over the years including two world cups. It has also been used for other sporting and concerts.
Both Pirlo and Buffon won the 2006 World Cup in this stadium with Pirlo scoring the first penalty in the shootout.
Juventus and Barcelona have faced each other in this competition twice in the past, each team winning one game apiece. Juventus won 3-2 on aggregate in 2003 and Barcelona won 2-1 on aggregate in 1986.
Who will win?
This is a tough question to answer as both teams are very strong. Barcelona play an exciting attacking style of play which is led by their three forwards Messi, Neymar and Suarez.
Juventus on the other hand are a defensively minded team who are very hard to break down and will hit teams on the counter attack.
The odds as of writing are as follows:
Juventus – 9-2
Barcelona – 8/13
We will find out if the bookies are correct this evening and hopefully the final will live up to its expectations of an exciting and thrilling match!
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