Today is the UCL Final, and there are a lot of questions on everyone’s mind – topmost will be
– Will Juve complete a treble, first since 1996
– Will Real Madrid win back-to-back, first time ever such will be done
However way tonight goes, and whoever wins – history will still be made, all the more exciting for fans and of course for each team because there is something to fight for.
This is part 2 of our UCLFinal Series. You can read part 1 of this series here.
The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff will host the 2017 Champions League final.
It will be the first final of UEFA’s flagship competition to be held in Wales, but the 12th time it will be staged in the British Isles, with seven previous finals at Wembley, three in Glasgow and one in Manchester.
The Millennium Stadium, which is owned by the Welsh Rugby Union, opened in 1999 and staged the English FA Cup finals from 2001 until 2006 while Wembley was being rebuilt.
It has a capacity of 74,500 and staged soccer matches during the Olympic Games in 2012.
Head-to-Head: Teams Stats
Juventus reporter’s view: Paolo Menicucci (@UEFAcomPaoloM)
I see this final as one of the most important even in recent years. Madrid are the reigning champions, Juventus reached the final – and lost – two years ago, but the Bianconeri approach this final with a completely different self-confidence compared to 2015 in Berlin. I certainly do not expect Juve to sit back and defend against Madrid and I don’t see the first goal of the game as crucial as many predict as both sides have enough attacking power to overcome a setback.
Madrid reporter’s view: Joe Walker (@UEFAcomJoeW)
Madrid might have faltered somewhat in the group stage, coming second to Dortmund, but since the knockout phase, they have been irresistible. This competition makes them come alive and they are gunning to make history. Zidane has shown his tactical prowess by switching things up and employing both a 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 setup and he has a big decision ahead of kick-off: does he start local lad Gareth Bale or stick with Isco?
Given the fitness situation of the Welshman I suspect the latter will get the nod and who else better to bring on from the bench than the speedy Bale – especially if Juventus are pushing forwards and susceptible on the counter attack?
Did you know?
Real Madrid claimed their seventh European Cup by beating Juventus in the 1998 UEFA Champions League final in Amsterdam, Predrag Mijatović scoring the only goal in the 66th minute.
Important Stats Before the Final
UEFA crunched the numbers for us ahead of the UEFA Champions League final, with Real Madrid aiming to consolidate their position as the competition’s most successful club.
- Real Madrid needs one more goal to become the first team to score 500 in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final.
- Dani Alves made his 99th UEFA Champions League appearance against Monaco. In Cardiff, he could become the 31st player to bring up his century in the competition.
- Real Madrid’s loss at Atlético in the semi-final second leg leaves Juventus as the only unbeaten side remaining in the competition. The Bianconeri are bidding to become the seventh team to win the UEFA Champions League undefeated, and the first since Manchester United in 2008.
- Madrid and Juve will both be competing in their sixth UEFA Champions League final, which equals AC Milan’s record.
- Madrid has 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.
- Other than Madrid, the only sides to boast a 100% record in UEFA Champions League finals are one-time finalists Marseille (1993), Porto (2004) and Internazionale (2010).
- Madrid aims to become the first team to make a successful defence of the UEFA Champions League title. Milan (1989, 1990) were the last club to pick up consecutive European Champion Clubs’ Cups. Milan (1994, 1995), Ajax (1995, 1996), Juve (1996, 1997) and Man. United (2008, 2009) have all returned to the final as holders only to lose.
- Zinédine Zidane is aiming to become the first coach to win successive UEFA Champions Leagues
- Zinédine Zidane is seeking to become the first coach to win the UEFA Champions League two years running, while Sergio Ramos will endeavour to become the first captain to lift the trophy in successive years in the UEFA Champions League era.
- Not counting 2017, Italy and Spain jointly have the most appearances per country in all-time European Cup finals with 27; Spain has 16 wins from those 27 final appearances while Italy has registered 12 victories and 15 defeats.
- Should Madrid triumph in Cardiff, it will be the tenth UEFA Champions League win for a Spanish side – twice as many as the next highest-ranked nation, Italy. It would also be Spain’s fourth success in a row; no other country has managed two on the spin.
- This will be the fourth UEFA Champions League final between Spanish and Italian clubs, making it the most frequent of all potential match-ups – one more than England v Spain and Spain v Spain.
- In the previous 24 UEFA Champions League finals, there have been 17 outright wins and seven games decided by penalty shoot-outs. A total of 65 goals have been scored, with the most common results being 2-1 and 1-1, which have each happened on five occasions; three finals have finished 1-0.
- Seventeen European Cup finals have gone to extra time, including the 2016 decider. The finals of 1958, 1968, 1970, 1992 and 2014 were settled in the additional period, while the 1974 showpiece between Bayern and Atlético Madrid ended 1-1 after 120 minutes with Bayern winning a replay. The other ten of the 17 finals were decided by a penalty shoot-out after extra time: 1984, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2012 and 2016 when Real Madrid edged Atlético 5-3 in the shoot-out after a 1-1 draw.
- Milan’s 4-0 victory over Barcelona in 1994 final remains the biggest winning margin in a UEFA Champions League final, and the Rossoneri were also involved in the highest-scoring showpiece when they shared six goals with Liverpool in 2005 before penalties.
- In terms of the European Cup, Madrid’s 7-3 conquest of Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 remains the most impressive scoreline while Bayern (1974 v Atlético Madrid) and Milan (1989 v Steaua Bucureşti) also posted 4-0 successes.
- No player has hit a hat-trick in a UEFA Champions League final. Daniele Massaro (Milan 1994), Karl-Heinz Riedle (Borussia Dortmund 1997), Hernán Crespo (Milan 2005), Filippo Inzaghi (Milan 2007) and Diego Milito (Internazionale 2010) all struck twice.
- In European Cup terms, Ferenc Puskás notched four goals in Madrid’s 7-3 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960, when Alfredo di Stéfano netted three times; Puskás bagged another final hat-trick in 1962 with Pierino Prati (Milan 1969) the only other player to score a final treble.
- Only Raúl González (Madrid 2000 and 2002), Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona 2006 and 2009), Lionel Messi (Barcelona 2009 and 2011), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United 2008, Real Madrid 2014) and Ramos (Real Madrid 2014, 2016) have scored in two UEFA Champions League finals – Ronaldo and Ramos can each become the first player to score in three in Cardiff.
- Eighteen players have found the net in more than one European Cup showpiece, with Marcelo and Gareth Bale (Madrid, 2014) and Álvaro Morata (Juventus 2015) having the chance to add their names to that list in Cardiff. Di Stéfano and Puskás lead the list having each struck seven goals for Madrid.
- Paolo Maldini’s goal 51 seconds into the 2005 showpiece is the fastest in a UEFA Champions League final.
- Jens Lehmann (2006) and Didier Drogba (2008) are the only players to be dismissed in a European Cup decider.
- Juventus are striving to become the sixth team – and the fifth club – to land the treble of domestic double plus UEFA Champions League, Barcelona have done so twice, most recently in 2015.
- Should Juve achieve the treble, Massimiliano Allegri will add his name to a coaching roll of honour that contains Sir Alex Ferguson, Josep Guardiola, José Mourinho, Jupp Heynckes and Luis Enrique.
- Ronaldo will join Clarence Seedorf as a record four-time winner of the UEFA Champions League should Madrid prevail in Cardiff.
- Should Juventus triumph, captain Gianluigi Buffon will become the oldest player to appear in a UEFA Champions League final victory at the age of 39 years and 126 days.