Saturday 3rd June. 7:45PM. BT Sport 1 (available for non-customers too)
Cardiff is ready, and as the champions of Italy and Spain prepare to do battle for club football’s biggest prize, football fans from across the globe wait in anticipation for the season’s showpiece event. The Champions League final is here!
History will be made by one of these great sides while there are plenty of sub-plots that will surely add to the excitement. It’s set to be one of the most exciting finals in living memory, and you can watch it for free with BT Sport even if you’re not a customer.
It will be a fascinating encounter to end the season in style. With a little luck, we’ll be winning some money too.
Bianconeri Gunning For Historic Treble
Max Allegri’s Juventus have already created history this term by registering a record sixth straight Serie A title, as well as the Coppa Italia, and they are now just 90 minutes away from completing a truly historic treble.
However, this is one trophy that has eluded them for over two decades. The Old Lady has suffered defeat in four finals since last winning it in 1996, including two years ago to Barcelona. The Italians do look stronger than ever this term, though, proving their class against the likes of Barcelona and Monaco en route to Wales.
Most of the headlines have surrounded Gianluigi Buffon’s pursuit of a Champions League winners’ medal, but Juventus boast immense quality throughout the squad with Dani Alves, Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic all shining at several stages this term. Meanwhile, Sami Khedira and Gonzalo Higuain would love to haunt their former club.
Victory in Cardiff would be the perfect end to their season, but the holders might have something to stay about that.
Zidane Faces Choice Between Bale And Isco
Real Madrid boast a glorious history in this competition, particularly in recent years thanks to winning titles 10 and 11 within the last three seasons. Can they notch up a 12th European Cup here? Zinedine Zidane will certainly be confident against a team he once played for.
Los Blancos are bidding to become the first team to successfully defend the title in it’s Champions League guise, but the French manager faces one huge conundrum in the choice between Gareth Bale and Isco.
The Welsh wizard’s injury problems, coupled with Isco’s recent performances behind the front two, could see the Spaniard and a 4-4-2 diamond get the nod. The holders have enjoyed far greater control over the ball since making that formational switch, which could be key against a stereotypically solid Italian unit.
This certainly won’t be easy, but Real Madrid are flying high after winning La Liga and will desperate to create history here. If they offer the same level of drama that they have in their two most recent finals, we could be in for a treat.
Juventus V Real Madrid Betting
The bookmakers have struggled to establish a firm favourite, but Real Madrid just about edge it at 17/10 with Ladbrokes while Juventus can be backed at 2/1. Alternatively, if you think it will go to extra-time, the draw is available at 21/10.
Whatever happens, it’s hard to see either side running away with this one. Juventus boast a greater attacking threat than ever before while Real Madrid boast far greater defensive stability than they did in previous years too.
With a tight, albeit exciting, match expected, we think there could be a lot of bookings. Both teams are likely to pick up a couple from German ref Felix Brych, and we wouldn’t be surprised if one gains four or five. Take the over 5.5 line at 6/5.
Sometimes in football, fate takes over, and we think that might happen in Cardiff. After years of sitting in the shadows, Isco is finally looking like the potential main man at the Bernabeu and has been superb in recent weeks. A big display in the final could confirm his promotion to the top table, and may also open the door for Bale’s summer exit.
Of course, it’s worth waiting for the confirmed team news. If he does start, though, the Spaniard is our pick for Man of the Match. At 10/1, that’d make it one of our favourite finals in living memory.