Juventus take on Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League final at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on Saturday. Here we look at Tuesday’s build-up.
Luis Enrique: Everything about Juventus worries me
He may have secured a domestic double – beating Real Madrid in the process – but Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique is pretty concerned about this weekend’s clash, praising Juve’s strength all over the pitch. However, the thought on a unique treble is keeping the 45-year-old going, a feat that would see him match Pep Guardiola’s achievements in 2008-09.
Lichsteiner concerned by Barca’s experience
Juventus defender has repaid the compliment bestowed on his side by Luis Enrique in suggesting Barcelona are favourites to lift the trophy. Speaking to Sky Sport Italia he said: “They have a squad which has already won a couple of Champions League titles. I think Barcelona are certainly favourites.”
Ter Stegen relishing clash with “legend” Buffon
Both sides are well equipped in the goalkeeping department ahead of the final with Juve’s iconic stopper Gianluigi Buffon facing off against Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, and the German is looking forward to facing his idol: “He’s a great goalkeeper, a legend. And he’s at the peak of his career.”
On your bike for a cup final ticket
Someone will be desperate to see both goalkeepers go head-to-head is Juventus fan Nicolo De Marchi, and so eager is he to reach Berlin he has set off from Turin on his bicycle. De Marchi is already halfway through his journey, with Juve’s promise of a ticket for the match spurring him on to complete the 1,100 kilometre trip.
Messi-Suarez-Neymar raring to go
Barcelona’s front three have been in sensational form all season for the Catalan giants and have 120 goals between them, and Lionel Messi has credited their bond off the pitch for helping them deliver on it, he told UEFA: “We get along with each other really well, not only on the field but also off it. I think that if you get along well off the pitch, this makes things easier on the pitch.”
Munir the secret weapon?
Beware Juve, while all the attention is focused on Barcelona’s attacking trident Luis Enrique could have a secret weapon up his sleeve. The Barca boss brought young striker Munir El Haddadi into training on Tuesday, suggesting he could be a surprise inclusion in his squad. Munir scored on his first-team debut earlier this season, and has already made three appearances in the Champions League group stage.
Deschamps backs Pogba to shine
Linked with a move to Camp Nou, Saturday could be the perfect place for Paul Pogba to show Barca exactly what he can do on the big stage, and his international boss Didier Deschamps has backed him for great things wherever he ply’s his trade.
Ballack – anything is possible
Michael Ballack has been there and seen it all before after two Champions League final appearances, and the former Germany international does not think Barcelona will have it all their own way in Berlin. “People suggest the betting is done and it’s Barça’s trophy, but I’d be careful. Italian teams always know how to get a result,” he said. “Anything is possible in Berlin.”
Mascherano wary of old friend Tevez
“He is one of the best players I have shared the field with,” Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano on Juve’s Carlos Tevez. “He has a winning personality and he has left his mark at every club he’s played for. If you play against him, you have to be careful, he is a player who likes to play these games and obviously for Juve he is one of the most important players.”
While the players go through their preparations ahead of the biggest game of the season, the fans will also have the chance to settle into their new surroundings at the official fan park. UEFA unveiled details of the Champions Festival that will take place at the iconic Brandenburg gate, with entertainment, music and football-themed events beginning on Thursday.
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