Real Madrid reach the final of the Champions as top scorer in the competition and after knocking out Napoli, Bayern and Atlético.
Real Madrid want to make history in Cardiff and become the first club to win the Champions League twice in a row. The Whites go in to the final after a brilliant run during this campaign. Top scorers with 32 goals, Zidane side have scored in every game they have played.
Their record is 8 wins, 3 draws and 1 defeat. The standout results are the double triumph in the quarters against Bayern and the 3-0 win against Atletico in the first leg of the semi-finals, with Cristiano Ronaldo starting in all those games.
Sporting Clube de Portugal, Borussia Dortmund and Legia Warsaw were the opponents in the Group Stage. The Whites beat the Portuguese side in both games (2-1 both home and away) and the Poles at home in the team’s biggest win in this campaign (5-1). The other three meetings were settled with draws and Real Madrid finished the group unbeaten. With 12 points, they qualified for the Round of 16 as the second placed team in Group F.
The first obstacle in the knockout stage was Napoli. The Whites took advantage at the Santiago Bernabéu with a 3-1 win in which Benzema, Kroos and Casemiro scored. In Italy, again Real Madrid won 3-1 Ramos, Morata and a Mertens own goal, sealed their qualification to the quarters.
In the quarters the most repeated confrontation in the Europe Cup took place. Bayern Munich crossed paths with Zidane’s side, who won both games. First, they took advantage at the Allianz Arena thanks to the Cristiano brace (2-1). And at the Bernabéu, although the match went in to extra-time, the Whites once again beat the Germans with Cristiano’s hat-trick and Asensio’s goal (4-2).
After eliminating Bayern, Atlético were the last obstacle on the road to Cardiff. The Madrid derby brought together the finalists from 2014 and 2016. Another exhibition from Cristiano in the first leg, with a hat-trick included, put Real Madrid on the verge of the final (3-0). Despite the stumble in the Calderón (2-1) in the second leg, the team managed to make their way to the final. Juventus are the final hurdle in the quest for la Duodécima.
JUVENTUS ON THE OTHER SIDE:
Juventus’s most recent triumph on the continent’s biggest stage belongs to a totally different era, after all. And, as if the point needed making further. It is surely time for the Bianconeri to have new heroes to replace Alessandro del Piero, Antonio Conte, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Didier Deschamps and Gianluca Vialli.
Against Real Madrid – the favourites on the night, just as Ajax were 21 years ago – Gonzalo Higuain, Miralem Pjanic, Paulo Dybala and Giorgio Chiellini can etch their names into folklore. Juventus have spent too long being nearly men in Europe, for all their domination back home. Since that win in Rome, they have returned to the Champions League final on four separate occasions. Four separate chances. Four separate defeats.
The first came just 12 months after Vialli lifted Ol’ Big Ears, against the Borussia Dortmund of Paul Lambert and Matthias Sammer – a 3-1 loss in Munich which the Germans’ coach Ottmar Hitzfeld described as ‘a big surprise’. It set a trend. Still, no team has won back-to-back finals – though Real Madrid have a chance to rewrite history on Saturday. And, still, Juventus haven’t won another final.