Monday 23 May 2016

UEFA Champions’ League Final Preview

So, after a qualifying campaign stretching back to last July, three months’ of group games and the knockout stages, the UEFA Champions’ League essentially boils down to a Madrid derby, albeit played on neutral territory at Stadio San Siro in Milan, on Saturday.

Both teams topped their respective qualifying groups, but Real had to overcome a 2-0 first-leg deficit against VfL Wolfsburg at the Bernabeu in their quarter-final, while Atletico also trailed Barcelona 2-1 after their quarter final first-leg at the Camp Nou. The sides finished second and third in the Spanish Primera, separated by just two points, so the repeat of the 2014 final, which Real won 4-1 after extra-time, could be a tense, tight affair.

The bookmakers, understandably, make Real Madrid – the most successful team in the history of the competition – favourites (6/4) to lift the trophy for an eleventh time against Los Colchoneros (23/10), who’ve yet to win it at all.

Los Blancos’ boss Zinedine Zidane will be without French international centre-back Raphael Varane because of a thigh injury but, while Zizou has acknowledged that Real face a difficult task to overcome their old rivals, it’s hard not to fancy any side that includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos, to name but a few.

Of course, Atletico drew 1-1 at the Vincente Calderon Stadium back in October and won 1-0 at the Bernabeu in February, so clearly all is not lost for Diego Simeone’s side, but Zidane has steadied the ship at Real since taking over from Rafa Benitez in January and must have every chance of becoming the sixth man to lift the Champions’ League trophy as a player and a manager. In search of a little value, let’s try both teams to score and Real Madrid to win at 5/1 with Bet 365.

Selection: Both teams to score and Real Madrid to win (5/1 with Bet365)


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