The Champions League Final (Saturday 28th May, 7.45pm) usually provides one of the highlights of the footballing season and, though there’s no English team in it this year, the repeat clash between 2014 finalists Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid should have plenty of fireworks.
Champions League Records
No team can boast a better Champions League Record than Real Madrid and, be it in its present guise or its previous ones, they hold the record with 10 wins and 3 further runner-up finishes. They’ve also won their last 4 finals, winning in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2014, with that latter victory over this year’s opponents fuelling the fire for this confrontation.
Atletico will certainly be keen to gain revenge over Real Madrid but, in order to do so, will have to overcome the pressure of winning their first Champions League Title, having lost twice in the final, in 2014 and way back in 1974.
Real Madrid will no doubt come out with all their usual flair and swagger, and there’s no doubt they have more match winners than their opponents, whilst they’ll also take much confidence from their previous Champions League heroics. However, it is Atletico Madrid who have fared better in their recent head-to-heads, as their unbeaten in the 6 of the last 7 head-to-heads, with the exception being that 2014 Final. Surprisingly, Atletico have beaten Real the last three times they have played at the Bernabeu, whilst they’ve won one and drawn two of their last three home games against them – and it will be interesting to see what happens on a neutral ground.
End Of Season Form
Real will also take motivation from the fact they finished one-point ahead of Atletico in the La Liga standings, by two points, whilst they also had a 31 goal better goal difference. They also won all of their La Liga games throughout April and May, with their only loss in that period being 2-0 away at Wolfsburg in the Champions League semi-final, after which they showed their class to win the home leg 3-0.
Atletico didn’t finish the season as strongly as Real, blowing any chance they had of winning La Liga by losing their penultimate game against Levante, a sign that perhaps they’ve yet to show they can handle the severest of pressure.
Champions League Final Summary
The heart always wants the underdog to do well, but that nagging defeat by Levante makes me think that Atletico may not handle the pressure of the big occasion as well as Real. It’s 8/11 that Real win the Champions League at any time – and their superior big occasion profile makes me think that has to be the value.