After 124 games in the 2016/17 Champions League, the 125th and final game will see Juventus and Real Madrid battle it out for continental supremacy on 3 June at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Looking at their road to the final, it is safe to say that both teams deserve to be there.
Defending champions Real Madrid beat the likes of a highly-fancied Bayern Munich and arch-rivals Atletico Madrid while Juventus shut down a resurgent Barcelona and knocked out dark horses AS Monaco. It promises to be a thrilling encounter dubbed as one of the best attack vs the best defence.
While Real have won the trophy 11 times, Juventus have only won it twice; losing the final on six occasions – most recently in 2015. However, they are undefeated so far in the competition this season. So what does Massimiliano Allegri have to do to ensure that luck favours The Old Lady this time?
1) Juventus should stick with a back-three
Allegri has experimented with various formations in the Champions League this season as the Italian manager picked teams based either on the opposition or the personnel available to him. The most common formations he used were the 3-5-2 or the 4-2-3-1 while he has also used a 3-4-2-1 on a couple of occasions.
Of course, a lot will depend on whether Gareth Bale will be fit to start the game or not. But knowing Zinedine Zidane, he will not make the same mistake he made in El Clasico where Bale hobbled off in the first half, so Isco could be given a start.
That would make Real’s formation narrow in attack with Cristiano Ronaldo effectively playing in the box as a centre-forward alongside Karim Benzema rather than out wide. Isco would most likely drop into a no.10 role and drift right.
Allegri should pick Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, and Giorgio Chiellini in defence (thereby ensuring that at least one of the BBC trios plays the final). It is the ideal formation with wing-backs dropping back to make it a back-five when they are without the ball.