Borussia Dortmund Vs Real Madrid Champions League Final Match Preview (1 Viewer)

MartinGee

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The stakes couldn't be higher this Saturday evening at Wembley Stadium, as underdogs Borussia Dortmund face off against Champions League giants Real Madrid in a final that's sure to be epic.

For Dortmund, clad in their iconic black and yellow, a win would end a 27-year wait and secure their second Champions League title. On the other side, Real Madrid, the seasoned pros, are aiming for their 15th European crown.

Dortmund's journey to Wembley saw them triumph over Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-finals, while Real Madrid, under Carlo Ancelotti, overcame a fierce challenge from Bayern Munich to book their place in the final. Dortmund fans still remember the heartbreak of losing to Bayern in the 2013 final, also at Wembley, and this match offers a chance to exorcise those demons.

Club legends Marco Reus and Mats Hummels, possibly the only players left from the 2013 squad, will be keenly aware of the importance of this match. Despite finishing fifth in the Bundesliga, Dortmund's impressive run in the Champions League, including topping the Group of Death and overcoming a first-leg loss to Atletico Madrid, has shown their resilience.

Dortmund's road to the final included a solid defensive display, shutting out PSG in both legs of the semi-finals. A win on Saturday would not only break their long Champions League drought but also be a fitting farewell for Reus, a beloved figure at the club.

For Real Madrid, managed by the incomparable Carlo Ancelotti, the match represents a chance to extend their incredible record in Champions League finals. Ancelotti, already the most successful coach in the competition's history, is chasing his fifth European Cup. Midfield maestro Toni Kroos, playing his final club match before Euro 2024, also brings invaluable experience to the squad.

Real Madrid's path to the final included dominant group stage performances and a dramatic semi-final victory over Manchester City, thanks to a standout performance from Joselu. Los Blancos have an astonishing record in Champions League finals, having won their last eight appearances since their 1981 loss to Liverpool.

Winning on Saturday would complete a treble for Real Madrid, who have already secured the La Liga and Supercopa de España titles. With an unbeaten run since January and scoring in every away game this season, Ancelotti's team is in formidable form heading into this European showdown.

INJURIES & SUSPENSION​

David Alaba, who helped defeat Dortmund in the 2012-13 Champions League alongside the departing Toni Kroos, remains sidelined for Real Madrid due to an ACL injury that has also ended his Euro 2024 hopes. Alaba is one of two Real players who will miss out this weekend; Aurelien Tchouameni hasn't recovered from his foot injury, so Nacho Fernandez is expected to wear the captain's armband one last time before his own anticipated departure.

Most of Carlo Ancelotti's squad is fit and ready, including former Dortmund star Jude Bellingham. However, goalkeeper Andriy Lunin has caught a poorly-timed flu and is currently isolating from the rest of the team. If Lunin recovers in time, he'll travel to London separately, but his illness makes Ancelotti's decision to start Thibaut Courtois easier.

Kroos, in his final game for Real Madrid, is likely to start alongside Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde in midfield, with Luka Modric absent. Despite Joselu's heroics in the semi-final, the Brazilian duo of Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior is expected to lead the attack.

Dortmund also has some injury concerns, with Ramy Bensebaini (knee), Julien Duranville (muscle), and Mateu Morey (illness) being monitored. Morey wasn't included in Dortmund's Champions League knockout squad, so his absence is less impactful. Striker Sebastien Haller, back in training after an ankle injury, is likely to be a substitute behind Niclas Fullkrug, who scored in the semi-finals against PSG.

Ten of the eleven starters from Dortmund's second-leg win over PSG also played in their final Bundesliga game against Darmstadt. The exception was Marco Reus, who replaced Julian Brandt for that match and scored in his last Bundesliga appearance. While Reus is a fan favorite and would love to add a Champions League title to his achievements, coach Edin Terzic is expected to reinstate Brandt for the final.

Manchester United loanee Jadon Sancho, potentially playing his last game for Dortmund, will aim to exploit Ferland Mendy on the right wing. In Reus's likely absence from the starting lineup, Emre Can, a member of the 2012-13 Dortmund team, will captain the side.

HEAD TO HEAD MEETINGS​

Dortmund and Real Madrid, frequent rivals in past Champions League campaigns, have faced off 14 times in Europe’s top competition. Unsurprisingly, Real Madrid holds the upper hand with six wins, while Dortmund has triumphed three times.

Real's most recent victories came in the group stage of the 2017-18 season. Dortmund last tasted success with a 2-0 win in the 2013-14 quarter-finals' second leg, though it wasn't enough to overturn Real's 3-0 first-leg advantage.

Saturday's match at Wembley raises the stakes higher than ever before. The two clubs have clashed in two semi-finals—Real won in 1997-98 and Dortmund in 2012-13—but they've never met with the Champions League trophy on the line.

POSSIBLE LINE-UPS​

Borussia Dortmund possible starting lineup:
Kobel; Ryerson, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Maatsen; Sabitzer, Can; Sancho, Brandt, Adeyemi; Fullkrug

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho, Mendy; Valverde, Camavinga, Kroos; Bellingham; Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior

EXPERT PREDICTION​

Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Real Madrid

By conquering the Group of Death, staging a remarkable comeback against Atletico, and shutting down PSG over two legs, Dortmund has undeniably earned their spot in the final. However, Terzic and his team know they were fortunate to capitalize on PSG's missed opportunities in the semis.

Real Madrid's journey to Wembley has been anything but smooth, yet whether it's the players thriving under pressure, the passionate support of their fans, or the mystique of Ancelotti's leadership, the 14-time champions always find a way to prevail.

We expect no different on Saturday. Last year's final between Man City and Inter Milan was decided by a single goal, and it wouldn't be surprising to see a similar scenario unfold in London, with Real Madrid once again claiming the title of Europe's best.
 

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