The 2017 Champions League Final – Preview
June 3, 2017 (No Comments) by Felipe Wasserstein

the-2017-champions-league-final-preview

The 2017 Champions league final will be played on June 3rd 2017 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Like it has been since the 2004-2005 edition, the tournament’s final will feature two teams from what many consider to be the four top tier leagues (La Liga, Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga). In this case, the 11 time winner of the Champions League Real Madrid, play against the two times winner Juventus FC.

The winner of the final will qualify to the semi-finals of the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup as the representative of UEFA. It will be the second time Real and Juventus played each other in a Champions League final. Their first encounter was in the 1997-1998 season, which ended in a 1-0 victory for Madrid.

Titles Galore

This will be Juventus’s 9th final and Real Madrid’s 15th. If Juventus win, they will conquer their first “treble”, having already won the 2016-2017 Copa Italia (beating Lazio in the final) and the 2016-2017 Serie A title.

If Real win, they will establish a record 12th title and maintain their position as the the successful team of the competition, way ahead of the second team with most tournaments, A. C. Milan (who have 7). A victory on June 3rd would make Real the first team to retain the Champions League title, since its rebranding from the Europan Cup in 1992.

From the Quarters to the Final

Real faced Bayern Munich in the last round of 8. In the first-leg match, the absence of Robert Lewandowski (recovering from a shoulder injury) affected the teams performance massively. Arturo Vidal put Bayern ahead trough a header from Arjen Robben’s corner. Vidal almost doubled it at the end of the first half after wasting a penalty which went over the cross-bar.

Two minutes from the second half, Cristiano Ronaldo scored from Carvajal’s well driven cross. Ronaldo was the recipient of the two fouls that led to an Javi Martinez expulsion from the pitch. One man down, Bayern were saved twice by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who stopped strikes from both Benzema and Ronaldo. But he was finally beaten on the 77th minute, with another goal from Ronaldo.

Real’s victory was followed by a thrilling second-leg match. Bayern scored first with a penalty converted by Lewandowski. Then, Ronaldo headed in a cross from Casemiro to keep the advantage on his team`s side. Less than one minute later, a Sergio Ramos own goal took the game to extra-time. Bayern played with one man down, after Vidal received his second yellow card of the match. Ronaldo scored twice more during extra-time and became the first player to reach 100 goals in the Champions league. Asensio added Madrid’s fourth and last goal, sealing their victory over Bayern.

Real Trump Local Rivals

In the semi-finals, Real faced another old rival, Atlético Madrid, in a huge Spanish derby. Real won the first-leg comfortably by 3 goals to nil. Ronaldo was once again the star of the show, scoring all the matches’ goals including a hat-trick and answering many questions put forward by his many critics.

Atlético had an early 2-0 lead in the second-leg. With less than 20 minutes of play Saul Niguez’s header and Griezmann penalty set hopes high for the Red and Whites. Only one more goal and they would still have a chance of reaching the final. But an Isco rebounded goal kept Reals advantage and meant that, once more, Atletico’s hopes of reaching their first Champions League title were frustrated by their closest rivals.

The Old Lady’s Cast Iron Defence

The Italian club kept an undefeated record during this entire campaign. They beat Barcelona 3-0 in the first-leg of their last round of 8 tie. Paulo Dybala scored twice in the first half, and defender Giorgio Chiellini added a third with a header just 10 minutes after break.

Barcelona had a Messi goal disallowed and an important save made by Gianluigi Buffon who has recently been in some of the best form of his long illustrious career. A champions league medal is one of the few honours which has eluded the clubs captain trophy cabinet. The second-leg ended in a goalless draw. Gonzalo Higuaín and Lionel Messi missed two strikes respectively. Juve’s defensive performance was essential in keeping them unscathed, and kept Barcelona from repeating their heroic victory against PSG during the last round of 16.

Juventus then marched on to play French Ligue 1 Champions, Monaco, in their semi-final. The first leg saw Monaco almost score twice trough Kylian Mbappe with solid chances created by Nabil Dahir. Both his efforts were however saved by Buffon.

Monaco players Radamel Falcao and Valère Germain also came close and if were not for the veteran talisman between the sticks, the Turin giants could have been in trouble. Higuaín scored twice. First trough an impressive team move involving Dybala and Alves. Alves exchanged passes with Dybala and then sent a spectacular cross for Higuaín to convert.

Juventus completed a 4-1 aggregate victory against Monaco overall. Mario Mandžukić and Dani Alves scored in the first half, with Kylian Mbappe pulling one back for in the second for The Monégasques. Mbappe goal was, so far, the only goal conceded by Juventus during the knockout stage, an incredible statistic.

The Road to Cardiff

Juventus and Real have met a total of 18 times in European competitions with eight wins for each and two draws, making this a bit of a predictive nightmare for the majority of pundits! Their most recent encounter was during the semi-finals of the 2014-2015, where Juventus won 3-2 on aggregate.

Juventus haven’t won a Champions League title in over 20 years, last claiming glory in 1996. It has been seven years since a Serie A team won the UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid on the other won in both 2013-2014 and 2015-2016. Teams from La Liga have won the last three championships so Italian football fans will no doubt be cheering for The Old Lady worldwide.

Expectations for the Final

Overall, Juventus have had a better campaign than Real Madrid. The Italian team also has the best defence of the tournament. But let’s not forget Real Madrid has one of the best squads ever assembled, lightening quick pace on either wing and the most ruthless striker our generation has ever seen in CR7. They have a spectacular attack but nowhere near as reliable in defence. In this difficult dispute of opinions, the winner will most likely be the team capable of best exploring its adversaries’ weaknesses.

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The 2017 Champions League Final – Preview
June 3, 2017 (No Comments) by Felipe Wasserstein

the-2017-champions-league-final-preview

The 2017 Champions league final will be played on June 3rd 2017 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Like it has been since the 2004-2005 edition, the tournament’s final will feature two teams from what many consider to be the four top tier leagues (La Liga, Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga). In this case, the 11 time winner of the Champions League Real Madrid, play against the two times winner Juventus FC.

The winner of the final will qualify to the semi-finals of the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup as the representative of UEFA. It will be the second time Real and Juventus played each other in a Champions League final. Their first encounter was in the 1997-1998 season, which ended in a 1-0 victory for Madrid.

Titles Galore

This will be Juventus’s 9th final and Real Madrid’s 15th. If Juventus win, they will conquer their first “treble”, having already won the 2016-2017 Copa Italia (beating Lazio in the final) and the 2016-2017 Serie A title.

If Real win, they will establish a record 12th title and maintain their position as the the successful team of the competition, way ahead of the second team with most tournaments, A. C. Milan (who have 7). A victory on June 3rd would make Real the first team to retain the Champions League title, since its rebranding from the Europan Cup in 1992.

From the Quarters to the Final

Real faced Bayern Munich in the last round of 8. In the first-leg match, the absence of Robert Lewandowski (recovering from a shoulder injury) affected the teams performance massively. Arturo Vidal put Bayern ahead trough a header from Arjen Robben’s corner. Vidal almost doubled it at the end of the first half after wasting a penalty which went over the cross-bar.

Two minutes from the second half, Cristiano Ronaldo scored from Carvajal’s well driven cross. Ronaldo was the recipient of the two fouls that led to an Javi Martinez expulsion from the pitch. One man down, Bayern were saved twice by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who stopped strikes from both Benzema and Ronaldo. But he was finally beaten on the 77th minute, with another goal from Ronaldo.

Real’s victory was followed by a thrilling second-leg match. Bayern scored first with a penalty converted by Lewandowski. Then, Ronaldo headed in a cross from Casemiro to keep the advantage on his team`s side. Less than one minute later, a Sergio Ramos own goal took the game to extra-time. Bayern played with one man down, after Vidal received his second yellow card of the match. Ronaldo scored twice more during extra-time and became the first player to reach 100 goals in the Champions league. Asensio added Madrid’s fourth and last goal, sealing their victory over Bayern.

Real Trump Local Rivals

In the semi-finals, Real faced another old rival, Atlético Madrid, in a huge Spanish derby. Real won the first-leg comfortably by 3 goals to nil. Ronaldo was once again the star of the show, scoring all the matches’ goals including a hat-trick and answering many questions put forward by his many critics.

Atlético had an early 2-0 lead in the second-leg. With less than 20 minutes of play Saul Niguez’s header and Griezmann penalty set hopes high for the Red and Whites. Only one more goal and they would still have a chance of reaching the final. But an Isco rebounded goal kept Reals advantage and meant that, once more, Atletico’s hopes of reaching their first Champions League title were frustrated by their closest rivals.

The Old Lady’s Cast Iron Defence

The Italian club kept an undefeated record during this entire campaign. They beat Barcelona 3-0 in the first-leg of their last round of 8 tie. Paulo Dybala scored twice in the first half, and defender Giorgio Chiellini added a third with a header just 10 minutes after break.

Barcelona had a Messi goal disallowed and an important save made by Gianluigi Buffon who has recently been in some of the best form of his long illustrious career. A champions league medal is one of the few honours which has eluded the clubs captain trophy cabinet. The second-leg ended in a goalless draw. Gonzalo Higuaín and Lionel Messi missed two strikes respectively. Juve’s defensive performance was essential in keeping them unscathed, and kept Barcelona from repeating their heroic victory against PSG during the last round of 16.

Juventus then marched on to play French Ligue 1 Champions, Monaco, in their semi-final. The first leg saw Monaco almost score twice trough Kylian Mbappe with solid chances created by Nabil Dahir. Both his efforts were however saved by Buffon.

Monaco players Radamel Falcao and Valère Germain also came close and if were not for the veteran talisman between the sticks, the Turin giants could have been in trouble. Higuaín scored twice. First trough an impressive team move involving Dybala and Alves. Alves exchanged passes with Dybala and then sent a spectacular cross for Higuaín to convert.

Juventus completed a 4-1 aggregate victory against Monaco overall. Mario Mandžukić and Dani Alves scored in the first half, with Kylian Mbappe pulling one back for in the second for The Monégasques. Mbappe goal was, so far, the only goal conceded by Juventus during the knockout stage, an incredible statistic.

The Road to Cardiff

Juventus and Real have met a total of 18 times in European competitions with eight wins for each and two draws, making this a bit of a predictive nightmare for the majority of pundits! Their most recent encounter was during the semi-finals of the 2014-2015, where Juventus won 3-2 on aggregate.

Juventus haven’t won a Champions League title in over 20 years, last claiming glory in 1996. It has been seven years since a Serie A team won the UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid on the other won in both 2013-2014 and 2015-2016. Teams from La Liga have won the last three championships so Italian football fans will no doubt be cheering for The Old Lady worldwide.

Expectations for the Final

Overall, Juventus have had a better campaign than Real Madrid. The Italian team also has the best defence of the tournament. But let’s not forget Real Madrid has one of the best squads ever assembled, lightening quick pace on either wing and the most ruthless striker our generation has ever seen in CR7. They have a spectacular attack but nowhere near as reliable in defence. In this difficult dispute of opinions, the winner will most likely be the team capable of best exploring its adversaries’ weaknesses.



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