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Champions League final: Battle of perennial winners against dark horses [A preview]

Forum 2 weeks ago

Champions League final: Battle of perennial winners against dark horses [A preview]

All roads lead to Wembley on Saturday night.

It’s the Champions League final. And serial winners, Real Madrid are looking to win it for a record-extending 15th time.

It will also be the sixth time in 11 years the LaLiga giants will be lifting the trophy.

Standing in their way is Borussia Dortmund.

The Bundesliga upstarts are looking to win it for only the second time.

If the hype and mystery of Madrid must be believed, then there is no need for the game. Just give them the trophy in Spain.

But it would be foolhardy to dismiss Dortmund so easily.

Madrid, who clinched their 33rd league title this season, have reached the 70th European showpiece with an unbeaten record in the competition.

Dortmund are also in fine form and second only to Madrid in the competition this season with only one defeat in their last 11 European matches.

So, this will be quite an intriguing clash in London – the same venue Dortmund lost the 2013 final to rivals Bayern Munich.

It was almost an exact repeat, but Madrid overcame Thomas Tuchel’s men 4-3 on aggregate after Joselu’s late brace snatched a 2-1 victory in the second leg.

Author and Super Eagles fan, JJ Omojuwa, feels the two teams have been the best on the continent this season.

“They’ve both made the final, you’ve got to respect that,” Omojuwa tells DAILY POST.

“It’s not any of the teams that didn’t make the final were so exceptional one had to isolate them.

“Real Madrid especially had a tough path to get here whilst Dortmund wasn’t given a chance.”

Oluwagbenga Adava, a broadcaster with Breez FM in Akure, agrees with Omojuwa.

“Madrid are definitely among the top three teams in Europe this season alongside Manchester City and Bayern Leverkusen, a top 4 would include Inter Milan,” Adava said.

Dortmund on the other hand have been reminiscent of 2005 Liverpool – barely stringing it together and inconsistent on the home front but giant killers in Europe.”

It has been the season of the underdogs around Europe.

Could we witness a surprise at Wembley?

“Well, it’s a one-off final, so even though Real Madrid are overwhelming favorites due to the experience, pedigree and the quality they possess at this level, we can’t entirely discount the possibility of a shock result.

“Dortmund didn’t get here by chance and have absolutely nothing to lose. There could be a potential shock on the horizon.

“Players like Marco Reus and Mat Hummels who were the losing side in 2013 would definitely be fired up as this is their last hurrah.

“It’s a final and most times it’s determined by tiny details. A referee error, a red card, a momentary lapse in concentration or an off night could have Dortmund getting their hands on the trophy,” Adava said.

Omojuwa added: “It’s football and a major final so you’d expect that both teams stand a chance.

“That said, only one result here. Real Madrid will win.

“If a shock happens, it’d be one of the greatest shocks recorded in sport.”

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