CL Final – Another Spanish win?

Which team will lift the trophy? Read our CL preview!

The 2024 CL final is set to be a thrilling encounter between two of Europe’s most iconic clubs, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid. Scheduled for Saturday at London’s iconic Wembley Stadium, this clash promises to be a showcase of tactical brilliance, individual talent, and the indomitable spirit of football that the tournament epitomises. This is the last final of the competition before the setup changes to an expanded format. Both these teams have qualified for next season’s edition.

Borussia Dortmund – What to expect

Borussia Dortmund’s journey to the final has been nothing short of remarkable. Under the astute management of Edin Terzić, Dortmund has rediscovered the swagger that made them a force in the early 2010s. Their campaign began in a relatively challenging group featuring Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, and Newcastle. Dortmund emerged as group winners, displaying resilience and tactical flexibility. They will be attempting to win their first piece of silverware since 2021 and their season away from the CL has been unremarkable, ending the Bundesliga league campaign with a fifth place finish.

In the knockout stages, Dortmund faced a series of formidable opponents. They overcame a resilient PSV side in the last sixteen, showing their attacking prowess. The quarter-finals saw them pitted against Spanish side Atletico Madrid, an experienced and tough opponent. Dortmund just about managed to edge out the win with a 5-4 aggregate score, setting up a semi final against PSG. The German team managed 1-0 home and away wins to take their place in this weekend’s final against Real Madrid. This will be Dortmund’s fifth European final and they will face an uphill task here against such an illustrious opponent. They have won two of the previous four, the last time being 27 years ago against Juventus.

Real Madrid – What to expect

Real Madrid have a superb record when reaching the final of Europe’s most prestigious competition. They have won all eight of their CL finals, including one win against German opponents Leverkusen, back in 2002. Overall they have an impressive record against German sides, this season alone managing six wins against three separate opponents, Union Berlin, RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich. Not many will be surprised if they get the better of Dortmund too, given the odds are so much in their favour. 

In the knockout rounds, Real Madrid demonstrated their trademark resilience and ability to perform on the big stage. They dispatched RB Leipzig in the Round of 16 with a narrow 2-1 aggregate win. The quarter-finals saw them face defending champions Manchester City, where a vintage display of defensive football saw them stop their opponents from getting through as they held on to win on penalties and progress to the semi-finals. Their semi-final triumph over Bayern Munich was another tight affair, underscoring their tactical versatility and mental fortitude. The first leg in Germany ended 2-2 and Bayern took the lead in the return leg and looked sure to go through to the final until a late fightback from Real Madrid dashed any hopes of an all-German final. 

The final is poised to be a tactical battle between Terzić’s high-pressing, dynamic Dortmund and Ancelotti’s well-drilled, counter-attacking Real Madrid. Dortmund’s strength lies in their aggressive pressing and quick transitions, often catching opponents off-guard. 

Real Madrid, on the other hand, are masters of the big occasion. Ancelotti’s side typically lines up in a 4-3-3 formation, relying on the midfield trio of Modrić, Toni Kroos, and Eduardo Camavinga to control the game and provide the platform for quick counters. The attacking trident of Bellingham, Vinícius, and Rodrygo offers a blend of experience, speed, and technical prowess.

Ancelotti’s record against Dortmund not impressive

This final is not just a clash of two great teams but also a meeting of contrasting football philosophies. Dortmund’s youthful exuberance and high-energy style contrast with Madrid’s experienced, composed approach. Historically, both clubs have rich European pedigrees. Real Madrid, the record 14-time CL winners, bring a wealth of experience and a legacy of success. Borussia Dortmund, with their single CL triumph in 1997, are eager to add to their European honours.

The history between these two clubs in the tournament is storied, with memorable encounters that have often seen Real Madrid come out on top. However, Dortmund’s victories, such as the famous 4-1 win in the 2012-2013 semi-final first leg, serve as a reminder of their capability to triumph against the Spanish giants.

Interestingly, Carlo Ancelotti doesn’t have a particularly good record against Dortmund, seven wins and six losses from his previous clashes with them. On the pitch, it will be worth keeping an eye on Dortmund striker Niclas Füllkrug, an old fashioned sort of striker who is likely to have quite a battle against the Real Madrid central defenders. Jadon Sancho looked back to his best against PSG and will hope to perform at a high level again and at the back, experienced central defender Mats Hummels will be tasked with organising the backline against the potent Real Madrid attack. Vinicius Junior has scored for Real Madrid against two German teams this campaign already and Jude Bellingham faces an interesting task against his former team.

Unsurprisingly, the Spanish giants are strong favourites to win, currently priced at 1.65, whereas the German team can be backed at a price of 5.15. Goals are expected in this final, despite them often being cagey affairs, as over 2.5vcan be backed at 1.75 whereas both teams to score is favoured, also at 1.75.

The 2024 CL final between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid promises to be a captivating encounter filled with tactical intrigue, individual brilliance, and the unpredictable drama that makes football the world’s most beloved sport. With both teams in top form and boasting an array of world-class talent, the stage is set for a memorable night in London. Fans around the globe will be eagerly anticipating this clash, hoping to witness history in the making as either Dortmund or Real Madrid lift the coveted trophy.

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Last updated: 31.05.2024

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