Best Odds: 2/1
History could be written at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday night when Serie A champions Juventus go head to head with the Spanish title holders Real Madrid.
Having successfully defended their league title this season to clinch the record-breaking sixth successive Calcio, Italy’s heavyweights Juventus have set their sights on European glory and a trophy that has eluded them for many years. Massimiliano Allegri has once again done a great job in transforming his squad following departures of several key players last summer. Bianconeri have bolstered their ranks to add much-needed depth to the squad and are currently picking up fruit of their hard labour. Guided forward by the Italian icon Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus boast one of the best defence lines in Europe and a formidable attack-oriented squad spearheaded by the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic. There is a man however who stole all the headlines from Juventus’ attacking trio however. Former Barcelona star Dani Alves has used the Champions League semi-final as an opportunity to show the world he is still a top-class footballer, providing three assists and a goal in two legs against AS Monaco.
Sami Khedira returned just in time for Juventus’ final match of the season after an injury in the semi-finals. Both him and Mario Mandzukic should be fit to start.
Marko Pjaca remains the only unavailable player for the nominal hosts in Cardiff as he still nurtures his knee injury.
La Liga giants Real Madrid will break a couple of records if they manage to lift the coveted trophy at the weekend. Zinedine Zidane’s Spanish champions could become the first-ever team to defend the Champions League trophy, whereas the French tactician could also make it in history by becoming one of rare men who won it as players and managers. Los Blancos are coming off from an excruciatingly difficult season and will be extremely motivated to finish it in style. Real Madrid were force to fight for La Liga title until the very end against Barcelona. Emotionally drained, Los Blancos will however need no particular motivation against Juventus, who had more time to rest and prepare for battle than their Spanish rivals. Real Madrid finished the domestic season in style and will be keen to make it four wins on the trot on Saturday. Their record against Juventus is not something to boast with and the forthcoming match will also be an opportunity to beat the Old Lady for the first time in last four games.
Gareth Bale will be keen to make an impression on home soil, but his season has been marred by injuries and Zidane could very much opt to go with Isco from start instead.
Defender Pepe looks set to miss out with broken ribs, which means Raphael Varane will partner Sergio Ramos in the heart of defence.
Key Factors to Consider
- Real Madrid can become 1st club to defend Champions League title
- Juventus & Real Madrid both won their last 3 matches of the season
- Bianconeri are yet to concede in the knockout stages of UCL
- Los Blancos are without a win against Juventus in last 3 matches
- Real Madrid scored 10 goals in their last three games
This promises to be a closely-cut affair between two extremely motivated sides. Juventus boast one of the best defences in Europe and will be a tough nut to crack, which points out to a low scoring match. On the other side, both sides are packed with attack-oriented stars and we could bear witness to an entertaining match. Juventus had more time to rest for the final and that may be the key difference in this matchup.
Best Odds: 2/1
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