Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Champions League Final: Juventus V Barcelona
Saturday 6th June. 7:45PM. ITV
The stage is set at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium for the biggest club match of 2014/15 as the champions of Italy and Spain do battle to see who will be crowned kings of Europe.
After recent scandals with governing body FIFA, this year’s event carries an extra significance. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, the winner will complete a memorable treble.
Prepare yourselves for an absolute cracker.
Can Italians Defy The Odds?
Juventus have dominated Italian football for the last few years but they failed to really stamp their authority on the continental stage under former boss Antonio Conte. New head coach Massimiliano Allegro has completely changed that by leading Juventus to a first Champions League final since 2003.
In stereotypical Italian fashion, Juve’s success has been built upon a solid foundation. The experience of Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Patrice Evra has been invaluable and the fact they limited Real Madrid to just two goals in 180 minutes says a lot.
However, this Bianconeri team does boast attacking flair with the likes of Carles Tevez and Alvaro Morata providing a strong presence in front of Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and the classy Andrea Pirlo. This is a quality squad that has reached Berlin on merit alone.
The Old Lady enters Saturday as a huge underdog but if it starts strong then there is no reason Juventus can’t cause a few problems. A positive start could be vital.
MSN Connection Could Be Key
Like Allegri, Luis Enrique has enjoyed a phenomenal first season in his new managerial job and his entire Barcelona squad has played a key role in leading the Camp Nou side to within 90 minutes of a treble. However, the formidable attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar have been unstoppable.
MSN, as they’ve been affectionately branded, boast 120 goals in all competitions and underlined their quality in last weekend’s comfortable Copa del Rey final win over Atletic Bilao. Whilst Neymar completed a perfect team move, Messi’s best ever goal will be eulogised for years to come. Perfection.
Barcelona aren’t just purring in the attacking third, though. Their defensive record has been equally sublime and cup goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen provides a sturdy foundation behind one of the best defences in world football.
Make no mistake; Barcelona could have their work cut out. However, if they hit top gear then the Liga champs will complete this treble.
Champions League Final Betting: Juventus V Barcelona
Whilst Juventus have been absolutely brilliant this term, it is no surprise to learn that Barcelona are heavy favourites with the bookies. Bet365 have priced Enrique’s side at 8/13 to get the job completed in 90 minutes, while the underdogs are available at 9/2. If you think it will go to extra-time then the draw can be backed at 3/1.
From a betting perspective, several bookmakers are offering various promotions and Coral’s enhanced odds are definitely worth a look.
There is one obvious candidate that stands out as great value to us. We’re backing Barcelona to win, with Messi securing the golden boot on the process.
The battle between Barcelona’s attack and Juve’s defence is a truly fascinating prospect. It’s an old cliché, but the first goal really could be crucial here.
If the Italians can take a shock lead then Barca could be in for an uphill battle against a formidable backline. However, if the Catalan giants strike early it could leave the Serie A side very vulnerable as they chase for a way back into the game. With this in mind, we think this is a great outside selection.