The Champions League final is set for May 26th in Kiev, and two of the biggest clubs in world soccer will battle for the crown. Real Madrid have won the Champions League 12 times, including in three of the last four years. Liverpool have won it five times and will aim to stop Real Madrid’s quest at a three-peat.
What To Know About Real Madrid
Real Madrid got a pair of goals from Karim Benzema in a 2-2 draw at home with Bayern Munich, meaning they won 4-3 on aggregate. You could argue that Bayern Munich was the better team over two legs, but Real Madrid took their chances when they fell to them and took advantage of their opponents’ mistakes. Luka Modric was a colossus in midfield, while Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos threw themselves at everything in defense. Real Madrid might have gotten away with a handball by Marcelo, but you have to be good to be lucky sometimes. Now, Real Madrid stands 90 minutes (plus injury and extra time, and penalties if needed) away from their 13th European title.
What To Know About Liverpool
Liverpool fell 4-2 at Roma in the second leg of their semifinal, but they went through on a score of 7-6. Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum scored in the first half for Liverpool, and Mane was the best player on the night for Liverpool as Mohamed Salah struggled. However, Liverpool’s defense still shows a lot of cracks. Dejan Lovren’s clearance hit James Milner in the face and the ball went in their own net, which just seems like something that would happen to Liverpool. Loris Karius isn’t convincing in goal. But with a front three of Salah (who looked nervous in his return to Rome), Mane and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool always has a chance.
Real Madrid are the favorites for this matchup at 2.20, while Liverpool comes in at 3.00 and a draw in regulation comes in at 3.60. Liverpool beat Real Madrid 1-0 in the 1981 European Cup final, then Liverpool won 5-0 over two legs in the first knockout round of the 2009 Champions League. Real Madrid won 3-0 at Liverpool and then 1-0 at home in the 2014-15 group stage. Liverpool are one of the few teams that can say they might have a better attack than a team that has Cristiano Ronaldo, but they have been that good. Real Madrid’s defense and goalkeeping are much better. Midfield could be where the Champions League final is won. Liverpool has Milner, Jordan Henderson and Wijnaldum going up against Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro, among others for Real Madrid. The defending champions have the edge there and they also have experience from their success in the Champions League in recent years. But Liverpool just needs to be better than Real Madrid for one game and with their attacking trio, they can score three goals in a 15-minute span to pin the champions back. This has the potential to be the most exciting Champions League final in years.
Champions League Betting Pick: Real Madrid
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