As another season of European football comes to a close, we once again find ourselves looking at the prospect of another Champions League final victory for Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid. If Ronaldo & Co. can guide Real to the trophy once more, it’ll be three in a row for the Galacticos. Only Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool stand in their way and while they might not quite match up to their Spanish counterparts man to man, they’re an unpredictable and free-scoring side that are more than capable of springing a surprise.
The sheer number of goals that both mobs are able to score points to an entertaining fixture. Unlike last weekend’s rather predictably turgid FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United, this is all but guaranteed goals and excitement. We’re excited and if you dig top drawer football, so should you be too…
Let’s talk a little look at The Big Game, shall we?
When’s it on?
This year’s Champions League Final is due to take place on Saturday 26th May at the 63,000-seater NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. Kick off is 9.45pm local time, which works out as 7.45pm here.
How they got there
To reach Kiev, Liverpool had to beat the odds. They firstly had to dispatch Hoffenheim in the play-off stage, something they were able to do 6-3 on aggregate. The group stage saw Klopp’s lot go unbeaten, with three draws and three wins. The most notable of which were the two 7-0 hammerings of Maribor and Spartak Moskow.
The Reds then put five past Porto in the Last 16 and – to the surprise of everyone – took apart Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in their Quarter Final, winning 5-1 on aggregate. The semi final saw them cruise past Roma in the first leg, but lose the second leg 4-2, setting up a grandstand finish in which they only squeaked through to the final 7-6 on aggregate.
For Real, they had to make do with finishing second in the group stage, with Spurs coming top. Comfortable wins over APOEL Nicosia and Borussia Dortmund were marred only be the draw and defeat to Poch’s men. A 5-2 aggregate win over PSG in the Last 16 lead to a bizarre Quarter Final that saw them nail Juve 3-0 away from home and then allow The Old Lady to return the favour in the Bernabeu. Luckily Real got on the score-sheet for 3-1, thereby securing a 4-3 win.
It was also 4-3 to Zidane’s charges in the Semi Final, after a tug-of-war with Bayern Munich saw the Spanish side reach yet another final.
As for head-to-heads, there have been five meetings between the two European giants, with Liverpool coming out on top three times to Real’s two. Their first tussle was back in the 1981 European Cup final in Paris, in a game which was decided by full back Alan Kennedy’s solitary goal. They wouldn’t meet again until the 2008/09 season when Rafa’s Liverpool side would expertly outfox the Madrid side with 1-0 and 4-0 victories. Six years later Real had their revenge as they comfortably eased by Brendan’s Rodgers’ outfit in the group stages with 1-0 and 3-0 wins.
European cup final pedigree
It may have been eleven years since Liverpool last reached a Champions League final, but they still demand serious respect in the competitin. They’ve featured in seven European Cup finals, winning five of them. Few clubs can boast much better records. Unfortunately for Reds fan everywhere, though – Real Madrid can. Their record is ridiculous – 15 finals and 12 wins. Snag the trophy in Kiev this year and it’ll be three on the bounce too.
Predicted Champions League final line-ups
Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo
Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Isco
Benzema, Ronaldo (c)
Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson
Wijnaldum, Henderson (c), Milner
Salah, Firmino, Mané
There’s one thing we’re certain of and that’s a good game. These are two sides that like to attack. In fact, they’re two sides that don’t know how to do anything else other than attack. Both have strengths, both have weaknesses. Both have incredible goalscorers that love breaking records, both have goalies and full backs that are capable of lapses in concentration. There are goals in this bad boy, that’s for sure.
So you’ve got to back a pretty high-scoring affair. And as much as we’d love to tip Liverpool to overcome Real Madrid (and there’s every chance they could…), we’re still going to side with the Spaniards here. The Reds can be devastating and we see them scoring. But Cristiano Ronado doesn’t do losing all that often. And we see his – and the rest of the side’s – experience being the difference. 3-2 to Real.
To guarantee the best seats in the house for the Champions League Final, buy one of our Pitchside Tickets. For just £13.99 per person you’ll get a Rileys beefburger, a serving of skin-on fries plus a selected drink. Not only that but our always friendly staff will be on hand to top up your refreshments throughout the entire game… Olé!