This year’s Champions League Final has many great stories from old legends ending their careers to the emergence of young stars, with the potential for many records to be broken and a rematch between Suarez’s buck teeth and Chiellini’s shoulder…maybe. But we’ll get to all of that. First I will recap both FC Barcelona and Juventus’ journeys to the final match which will be played on Saturday June 6th in Berlin.
When people think of “Big 3s” many think of Boston, Miami, or even Cleveland’s recent successful NBA trios. This same trend has been seen in European soccer, and no three forwards have been as successful recently as Barcelona’s Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez (this year’s acquisition from Liverpool). Not even Real Madrid’s big name, all-European combo of Ronaldo, Bale, and Benzema could compete with attacking threat of Barcelona’s three South Americans. These three Barcelona beauties have combined for 25 of 28 of Barcelona’s Champions league goals. Despite the speculation over Suarez’s transfer due to his international ban following his second biting, he has undoubtedly proved his worth with his with 6 goals and 3 assists over the course of the tournament.
Barcelona has dominated the entire tournament with 10 wins and only 2 losses. The only concern that they may have would be their 3-2 loss to Bayern in their latest Champions League match. While they did win 5-3 in aggregate, allowing 3 goals and losing their 9 game win streak in the tournament isn’t exactly ideal even to a strong Bayern team. Nevertheless their morale will be plenty high going into the match following their capture of the Copa del Rey domestic cup and victory in La Liga. If Barcelona wins on Saturday, they will look to finish out the treble (winning the domestic league, domestic cup, and champions league in one season) and take home their 5th Champions League trophy.
Although they may lack the attacking flare and goal scoring ability of Barcelona, Juventus have proven that they are a top caliber team and deserve to be in the final. After barely advancing out of group stage with 3-1-2 record, Juventus proceeded to go undefeated against Dortmund, Monaco, and even powerhouse Real Madrid. Juventus will be looking to capture the treble as well following their Serie A and Coppa Italia victories.
The teams winning combination of highly experienced leaders and young talent may be the secret behind their success. Juventus is led by Italian legends Gianluigi Buffon (37 year old goalkeeper) and Andrea “the Metronome” Pirlo (35 year old central midfielder). These two ancient stars have combined for 25 champions league campaigns. They are joined by 31 year old Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez who has been phenomenal up top scoring 7 goals so far. As for the youngsters, midfielder Paul Pogba and striker Alvaro Morata have been equally exceptional. At only 22, Morata has a chance to star in his second Champions League final in a row as he was brought in the second half of Real Madrid’s win last year. Although he refused to celebrate as a form of respect for his former club, burying 2 goals in 2 games against Real Madrid to edge them out must have been nice reward after being unwillingly transferred in the previous offseason. It would be safe to say that a win Saturday would make his move to Juventus worthwhile and maybe solidify a promising future at the club alongside Pogba.
- If Barcelona wins, Iniesta would win his record breaking 4th Champions League
- If Messi Scores, he will become the first player to score in 3 Champions League Finals
Barcelona’s attackers are feared by every team that they face, but Juventus’ recent injuries could leave them especially vulnerable to the deadly threat of Messi, Neymar, and Suarez. Juventus already lost two defenders throughout the tournament indefinitely and now starting center back Giorgio Chiellini looks doubtful to play in the final due to a problem with his left calf. This would unfortunately mean no rematch between him and Suarez following the 2014 FIFA world cup biting incident that got Suarez banned. Don’t worry however, there will not be a lack of drama as Juventus defender Patrice Evra will be playing who Suarez made racist remarks at in an EPL game in 2012 that got him suspended.
Even given Juventus’ great run, I feel their weakened defense will be no match Barcelona’s unstoppable attacking presence. But I will not go so far as to call it a blowout by any means, as Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has groomed a tough defending team in his first year that will not be completely run over. Maybe Morata or Tevez will even sneak one in.
FC Barcelona 3-1 Juventus, Suarez only bites his shirt after he scores, and Xavi gets his 151st Champions League appearance adding to his record in his last game with Barcelona