Champions League Final Real Madrid v Juventus Betting Predictions | Back a Draw at 11/2 with BetfairPublished May 29, 2017
History is always on the line in a Champions League final, but when Real Madrid face Juventus in Cardiff on Saturday, it will be true to a greater extent. Since the competition’s format changed in 1992, no team has successfully defended their crown, but Los Blancos can finally end that wait with victory in this one.
A game of this magnitude is always going to be tight, and two closer teams could not fight it out. Juve were the victors when they met in the semi finals in 2015, the last time Real were aiming to retain the trophy, as they were at the same stage in 2003. But the Spanish side won the final in 1998, and Juve went on to lose both finals they actually reached. Could that lack of success count against them? Maybe, but more importantly, the majority of Zinedine Zidane’s squad have won this game at least once.
It does feel like it could be Juventus’ time, though. Defensively, they have been extremely strong, conceding just once in the knockout stages, despite playing both Barcelona and Monaco, two of the most potent attacking sides in the world, in the quarters and semis. They have eased through in a domestic sense, winning a sixth straight Serie A title after leading the league table all season, while clinching a third Coppa Italia in succession. Real have been forced to dig deep in some games, notably against Las Palmas and Villarreal in LaLiga. They were taken all the way by Barça before winning their first title in five years.
Looking strictly at their European form, backing Juventus looks sensible. Now really could be their time, and our Champions League final tip is a draw HT/Juventus win FT at 11/2 with Betfair.
But there are so many options here. If it is a high scoring game, Real Madrid are the more likely victors, because of their weaker defence, having conceded more goals in one leg of their semi final against Atletico Madrid than Juve have in their last six Champions League games. Real Madrid are at 17/5 to win with over 2.5 goals and 9/2 to win with both teams to score.
Buffon "6 consecutive scudetti, 3 consecutive Italian cups & a champions league final to play. Never forget who we are: Juventus." pic.twitter.com/ibluveo9aP— Tarek Khatib (@ADP1113) May 21, 2017
Key battle – Dani Alves vs Marcelo
It would be understating Juventus’ great achievements this season to suggest their fullbacks have defined them, but Alex Sandro and Dani Alves have played a vital role. Coach Masimilliano Allegri often plays a back four, but he has been known to opt for a back three. In either system, Alves and Sandro were defensively strong but more importantly key in attack.
When they push forward, it allows the likes of Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic to roam more freely, out wide and centrally, because they maintain the balance of the side going forward.
Rarely, though, have they come up against a fullback as strong in that sense as them. Alves will come up against Marcelo, his Brazil teammate, who is afforded space to run into when Cristiano Ronaldo cuts in from the left hand side. Sandro may face Gareth Bale on the right if he is fit enough, but if not he will come up against Isco, who will look to pull him inside.
If Alves and Sandro can dictate the wide areas, Juventus will get the upper hand, but a sublime performance by Marcelo in the semi final first leg win over Atletico shows he can overrun Alves, and Dybala, if they do not remain disciplined. Sandro will also come up against his former FC Porto teammate Danilo.
Predicted line ups for Real Madrid and Juventus:
Real Madrid: Navas, Marcelo, Ramos, Danilo, Kroos, Modric, Ronaldo, Isco, Benzema.
Juventus: Buffon, Alex Sandro, Chiellini, Bonucci, Dani Alves, Pjanic, Marchisio, Mandzukic, Dybala, Cuadrado, Higuain