UEFA Champions League Final: Match preview
The Champions league final is just round the corner and it’s a great occasion for football fans all over the world to relish this spectacle.Last years final saw Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund battle it out for the trophy.This year will see Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid pitted against each other,which is the first final in the competition’s history to have two teams from the same city.
It will be played at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon, Portugal.Match will kick off on 25th May,2014 at 12.15 am (IST).The Los Blancos side will be eyeing their 10th European cup ,while Atletico will try their best to win the UEFA Champions league for the first time.Let us take a brief look at both the teams and what to expect.
This team has been dominant throughout this years campaign.They have reached a record 13th final after beating Bayern Munich 5-0 on aggregate in the semifinal stage.Their key players have performed when it mattered.Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest goal scorer so far with 16 goals to his name.Goalkeeper Iker Casillas has made most number of saves(41).Out of the 12 games they have played so far,they have won 10,drawn 1 (vs Juventus ) and lost 1 (vs Dortmund).
The Italian coach Carlo Ancelloti has massive expectations riding on him,becoming the seventh Real Madrid manager to lead them to a European Cup final.On a personal front ,its his fourth CL final,who previously led Milan to three finals.If Real go on to win in Lisbon,he will join manager Bob Paisley as the second coach in history to have won three European cups.
It was a dissapointing season for Real Madrid in La Liga as they missed out on the title.So they will be keen on bringing the Champions league crown to the Bernabéu after a long span of 12 years.It will be two cups for the season ,as they have already won the Copa Del Rey title.
What a fantastic season its been for the Los Rojiblancos side.After winning the La Liga title this season they now look for a cup double.Its been a long wait as they played their previous European Cup final against Bayern Munich in 1974,which ended in a defeat.Diego Simeone’s efforts are to be lauded.
When he took over the reigns at Atletico during the 2011-2012 season,Atletico were not in good condition financially.But he has backed his players very well and the results are clearly visible on the pitch.They are unbeaten in the competition so far with 9 wins and 3 draws out of their 12 matches.
Going into the clash they have less pressure on their shoulders as they face bitter rivals Real Madrid and could go on and spoil the party by depriving them of the La Decima.Out of the two meetings in the league this season,Atletico have defeated Real 1-0 at the Bernabeu and drawn 2-2 at the Vicente Calderon.Lets see how they cope up with the pressure of the finals.
Players likely to miss out
Both teams are slated to miss key players in the buildup to the finals.Real may be the team worst affected as there are major doubts about Pepe and Benzema being able to play.Cristiano Ronaldo though not 100 percent fit because of a muscle problem may start.He has not been able to take part in training properly.Xabi Alonso will not be a part of the finals after he picked up a second yellow card of the knockout stages against Bayern Munich in the semifinals.According to reports either Sami Khedira or Asier Illarramendi will replace Alonso.
On the other hand,Atletico have issues of their own. Although Atletico won the nail biting contest against FC Barcelona,striker Diego Costa who has been instrumental to their success in recent times was taken off in the 16th minute due to a hamstring injury.It is most unlikely he will play.The midfielder Arda Turan also had to leave following a knee problem.David Villa who is likely to lead the attack is in poor form as he has not scored in six appearances in the tournament.
Ronaldo vs Courtois
The Portuguese striker has been in prolific form this season scoring 16 goals and setting a record.He is all set to extend the number of goals.Even though he is not fully fit he is still dangerous.Thibaut Courtois,the Belgian Goalkeeper playing for Atletico on loan from Chelsea is considered as one of the finest in the world.Watch out for this.
Bale vs Luis
The Brazilian Filipe Luis,who plays as a left back for Atletico has a task on his hands as he may come face to face with Gareth Bale.The Welshman has proved his worth with quick runs and is difficult to stop when he gets going.
Ramos vs Villa
In the absence of striker Costa,David Villa is mostly going to lead the attack for Atletico.He faces a tough challenge in the form of Sergio Ramos who has shown he can defend as well as score important goals
Ambassador-Former international portuguese player Luis Figo,has been named as the ambassador for the final.
Logo-UEFA unveiled its logo for the final on 29th August 2013
Match Officials-Dutch referee Björn Kuipers was named by UEFA on 7 May 2014 as the referee of the final. He has previously taken charge of the 2011 UEFA Super Cup and the 2013 UEFA Europa League Finals.
According to odds,Real Madrid are favorites to lift the trophy for the tenth time,but you can never leave out Atletico who have shown everyone they have got what it takes.I hope it will be a mouth watering fixture and one we all can sit back and enjoy.