Two of Europe’s footballing giants lock horns on Saturday night in what promises to be a final of firsts.
Zinedine Zidane’s men could seal their place in the history books by becoming the first ever side to successfully defend the Champions League trophy, although to do that, they’ll have to find a way past the imperious Gianluigi Buffon.
The Italian shot-stopper is trying to eclipse his fellow compatriot, Paolo Maldini, by becoming the oldest ever winner of the title at the age of 39.
With both sides having won their domestic titles and with their head-to-head record locked at eight apiece, it’s fair to say Saturday’s final is set up perfectly.
Zidane has a welcome selection headache ahead of this weekend’s final, with Gareth Bale nearly back to full fitness. His stand in, Isco, has impressed the Madrid faithful in his absence, so it remains to be seen whether the Welshman will start on his return to his hometown.
Centre-back Pepe is still recovering from breaking his ribs during the Madrid derby in April, so Raphael Varane looks likely to continue in his starting birth alongside Sergio Ramos.
Massimiliano Allegri’s men are boosted by the return of influential midfielder Sami Khedira, who started the Italian team’s final game of the domestic season after picking up a leg injury in their Champions League semi-final victory over Monaco.
The 30-year-old and Gonzalo Higuain should both be relishing the opportunity to line up against their former club.
As current holders and 11-time winners, it’s perhaps not surprising that Los Blancos are currently slight favourites to lift the trophy on Saturday night at odds of 2.7.
Despite not having won Europe’s premier cup competition in over 20 years, Juventus still look good value at 3.0, with the club boasting one of the best defensive records on the continent.
Many are billing the final as attack vs. defence, so for those that are sat firmly on the fence, the choice of a draw at 3.2 may appeal.
OVER/UNDER 2.5 GOALS
It’s been goals galore in this season’s Champions League for the Spanish giants, with every one of their 12 games featuring over 2.5 goals. Their 2-1 defeat at the hands of rivals Athletico in the semi-final was the first game in this season’s competition that they’d failed to score two or more goals in a match.
In contrast, Juventus’ route to the final has been built on their defensive record, with the men from Turin keeping an incredible nine clean sheets on route to the final. Only three of their games have featured over 2.5 goals, which suggests that much like their archrivals Barcelona, Real may find it hard to break down the Italians.
You can currently back under 2.5 goals at 1.61, but if you fancy Real to carry on their free-scoring exploits, the price of 2.45 for over 2.5 goals may be too hard to resist.
Christiano Ronaldo became the first player in history to score 100 goals Champions League when he hit five past Bayern Munich in Real’s quarter-final against Bayern Munich. Ominously for Juve, the 32-year-old has faced Gianluigi Buffon four times at club level and scored every time, so he looks the pick of the bunch at 1.95.
German referee Felix Byrch will take charge of the final in Cardiff. He’s officiated five games in this season’s Champions League, including Juve’s 2-0 away win at Porto in February.
Back the draw at 3.2
Back Real Madrid in ET at 10