The 2014 Champions League Final is here with a Madrid derby as Atletico Madrid take on Real Madrid in Lisbon on Saturday, May 24. Read on for my Champions League Final prediction and preview.
This Champions League season has been an exciting one. To get to the final both teams needed to get past some tough competition. Real Madrid had to defeat last year’s Champions League finalist in Borussia Dortmund for the quarterfinals and holders Bayern Munich in the semifinals. To do this they scored 8 goals compared to the Germans three, with Borussia Dortmund winning the home portion of their leg 2-0.
Atletico Madrid advanced by first defeating AC Milan 5-1 in the knockout round followed by a 2-1 aggregate over Barcelona. In the semifinals they were held at home 0-0 by Chelsea, but pulled away in the second leg to win 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.
This Champions League Final is one that has been anticipated ever since Atletico Madrid advanced out of their group. The Madrid derby has loomed ever larger as this day has drawn closer. Now that Atletico Madrid have won their first La Liga Championship since 1996 and the first without Real Madrid or Barcelona since 2002, this final takes on even more importance. The idea that they could win the double over their neighbors makes this match all the more sweeter for them.
Coming into the final Atletico Madrid is undefeated in their past 12 Champions League matches (which includes their qualifying campaign). On the other side Real Madrid has won seven out of their last eight Champions League matches. In head to head for all competitions Real Madrid holds a slight edge having won three with one draw and two wins for Atletico Madrid. Their last meeting, in La Liga, ended with a 2-2 draw.
I’m picking a Real Madrid win, but it should be a close, hard fought match on both sides. Atletico Madrid have momentum on their side having just won the Spanish League title over the past weekend. Real Madrid did win their final La Liga match, 3-1 over Espanyol, to give them a boost. Prior to this they had gone three matches without a win.
I’m expecting this match to be a good one and wouldn’t be surprised to see it go as far as penalties. Real Madrid may have the money and the big name talent, but Atletico Madrid has the heart and spirit of a team that can pull off an upset win.
Real Madrid only have Jese out injured while Karim Benzema, Diego Lopez, and Alvaro Morata are listed as doubtful, but should be available, after all, it is the Champions League Final. They will be without Xabi Alonso who misses after picking up too many yellow cards.
Atletico Madrid are without their top scorer, Diego Costa, who left their title winning game against Barcelona with a hamstring injury. Raul Garcia will most likely start in his place.
Betting Odds (Bovada):
Real Madrid win: 1.87
Draw (regulation only): 3.60
Atletico Madrid win: 4.20
Real Madrid 3 – 2 Atletico Madrid; winner in added extra time
Possible Starting Lineups
Real Madrid (4-3-3)
GK: Casillas; D: Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; MF: Maria, Illarramendi, Modric; F: Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo
Atletico Madrid (4-4-2)
GK: Courtois; D: Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Luis; MF: Turan, Tiago, Gabi, Koke; F: Villa, Garcia
Saturday, May 24 @ 2:45 pm – Airing Live on FOX; Coverage begins at 2:00 pm