Champions League Final: Juventus vs Real Madrid

Champions League Final: Juventus vs Real Madrid

Real Madrid look to successfully defend Champions League trophy against Juventus.

Champions League holders Real Madrid on Saturday night go head to head with Juventus at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in UEFA Champions League finals.

Real Madrid, having already claimed La Liga title, will hope to complete a double by claiming Juventus’ scalp on Saturday night. The Italians, on the other hand, are not inferior to them in any way as they head into the showdown on the heels of lifting their sixth consecutive Serie A title.

The weekend’s high-profile clash will see sides with contrasting ideologies and playing styles do battle, with the Spaniards banking heavily on their frontline as Juventus’ defensive record being more detrimental than their goal-scoring record.

Cristiano Ronaldo and co. have proven unstoppable having averaged 2.9 goals per game this season. However, their defence has been shoddy at times as they have shipped 71 goals in 59 games this season. They have, however, scored when it matters the most having won UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup besides the Spanish league title.

Juventus will look to capitalise on their defensive loopholes, with Massimiliano Allegri’s underrated forwards tipped to shine on their most important night of the season.

Team news

Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal have both returned to full training; Zinedine Zidane has a full squad to choose from, accordingly. The former has admitted that his chances of starting the Champions League final in his home country is minimal; Isco Alarcon will likely start ahead of him, with many Estadio Santiago Bernabeu faithful expecting the Spaniard to be one of the first names on the starting line-up.

Former Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira is available having played in the final league game. Marko Pjaca and Daniele Rugani will both sit out the game through injuries, unfortunately.

Key stats

·        Real Madrid and Juventus will both be competing in their sixth UEFA Champions League final, which equals AC Milan's record.

·        Real Madrid have won all five of their UEFA Champions League finals, claiming a record number of triumphs, while Juventus have lost the fixture more times than any other club – four. Indeed, their only victory was on penalties – against Ajax in 1996.

·        Real Madrid aim to become the first team to make a successful defence of the UEFA Champions League title. AC Milan (1994, 1995), Ajax (1995, 1996), Juventus (1996, 1997) and Manchester United (2008, 2009) have all returned to the final as holders only to lose.

Player to watch

The Saturday’s showdown does not lack star power. With either side boasting world beaters, one can expect any player – be it former Barcelona man Dani Alves or youngster Paulo Dybala – to decide the fixture. For the 39-year-old Gianluigi Buffon, however, the Cardiff clash may prove his final opportunity to earn a Champions League winner’s medal.

He has had a better season than Real Madrid’s Keylor Navas having secured a 28 clean sheets; he needs to produce a humdinger of a performance yet again to finally win the trophy that has evaded him for 22 years now.