Barcelona vs Juventus: Treble wars at Berlin




Amidst all the controversies surrounding the UEFA and its president, there’s a Champions League final to be played on coming Saturday. Since Inter in 2010, this is the first time that an Italian side have reached the final. Juventus last played a Champions League final 12 years ago when they lost to their Italian counterparts AC Milan on penalties. On the other hand, Barcelona has a chance of lifting the Champions League trophy for fourth time in 9 years. This would be the first time since 2006 that Barcelona would not be playing an English side in the final. Arsenal in 2006 and Manchester United in 2009 and 2011 were defeated by Barca in the finals.

Barcelona vs Juventus: Champions League final 2015

Barcelona vs Juventus: Champions League final 2015

Despite winning the competition twice, once in 1985 and other in 1996, the old lady do not a boast a good record in the Champions League finals, losing 5 of them. They played in three consecutive finals form 1996 to 1998 under Marcelo Lippi, winning one against Ajax and losing twice to Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid. Barcelona won their first European Cup in 1992 where they defeated Italian side Sampdoria but suffered a humiliating loss to AC Milan two years later where they were hammered 4-0 in the final. Back in the 1990’s Spanish vs Italian finals were quite a common event with Spanish side wining twice and Italian side winning once. This is the first since 1998 (Real Madrid vs Juventus) that an Italian side would be facing a Spanish side in the final.

Both the clubs have dominated their domestic leagues and domestic cups. Juventus won their 4th straight Serie A title while dominating the league whereas Barcelona had to wait till the penultimate day to call themselves as champions of Spain. Juventus defeated Lazio and cinched the Coppa Italia and Barcelona defeated a strong Athletic Bilbao side to clinch Copa del Rey. On their route to final Juventus defeated previous year’s winners Real Madrid 3-2 on aggregate in the semi finals. Barca took a sweet revenge of the 7-0 aggregate defeat inflicted by Bayern Munich two years ago by thrashing them 5-3 on aggregate and clinching the final berth.

Juventus with the veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon hold a certain edge over Barcelona in the goalkeeping department but Barcelona have a better defence, midfield and offence than Juventus. With Giorgio Chiellini ruled out of the final, onus would be upon Leonardo Bonucci and veteran Andrea Barzagli to defend against a very strong Barcelona attack. The main battle would be won depending upon how both defences handle the strong offences of both teams. Juventus defence have to defend against the trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez who together have scored 120 goals this season. Barcelona defence have to cope against Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Moratta who are in hot form. The center of attraction other than the Barcelona’s front three would be the veteran midfielders Andrea Pirlo (Juventus) and Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona) who maybe playing their last game for their respective clubs and both would look to end their journeys by lifting that Champions League trophy.

Juventus who are termed the underdogs in the contest cannot be ruled out given the fact they defeated Real Madrid in the semi finals and now only have Barcelona between them and the trophy. On the other hand Barca defeated the English champions Manchester City, French champions PSG and the German champions Bayern Munich on their route to final and given their hot form they certainly start as favourite to lift the trophy. With both the teams looking for treble, this final could become one to remember and cherish and one certainly not to be missed. It takes place on 6 June, Saturday at 12:15 am IST at Olympiastadion, Berlin.

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