Champions League final: Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid – meet the teams | UEFA Champions League

by 24britishtvMay 8, 2024, 11 p.m. 26
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Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid have fought off all the competition to take their place in this season's finale at Wembley Stadium on 1 June.

This season

Group F: W3 D2 L1 F7 A4 (winners)

Round of 16: 3-1agg vs PSV

Quarter-finals: 5-4agg vs Atlético de Madrid

Semi-finals: 2-0agg vs Paris

UEFA.com Dortmund reporter

Not many expected Dortmund to be the first team to qualify from an extremely tough Group F. Having lost 2-0 at Paris in the first match and drawn another blank at home to Milan (0-0), back-to-back wins without conceding against Newcastle changed their fortunes. Another mature performance at Milan ensured qualification with one game to spare.

BVB held their nerve under intense pressure from PSV in the last-16 return to reach the quarter-finals, where they edged a classic against Atlético de Madrid. Their surprisingly authoritative progress against Paris showed that BVB are a force to be reckoned with regardless of the opponents.

Why Dortmund can win the competition

When Dortmund get on a roll they take some stopping. BVB stumbled in the first leg in Eindhoven and again in Madrid but, stirred by a boisterous crowd, the Black and Yellows prevailed on each occasion. Against Paris, they showed that they have grown into a close-knit unit over the course of the season – a unit that doesn't need many chances to make their mark.

How Dortmund play

Wary of a difficult task ahead, BVB set out with a counterattacking mindset and a back three for the first group match at Paris. They changed their set-up during that match, brought on a natural No9 instead of two counterattacking forwards, and their game improved right away.

Since then, they have always opted for a system with a back four and three central midfielders, with pacy wingers such as Donyell Malen, Karim Adeyemi and Jadon Sancho playing a decisive role. From that basic formation, Dortmund are capable of progressing the ball or pressing in different ways.

Coach: Edin Terzić

Terzić began his coaching career in Dortmund's academy in 2010. He had a spell as interim first-team boss during the 2020/21 campaign, when he lead BVB to victory over Leipzig in the German Cup final, before taking them within minutes of dethroning champions Bayern last season.

Key player: Julian Brandt

One of the Bundesliga's most consistent and impressive performers for several years, German international Brandt joined Dortmund after five-and-a-half seasons at Leverkusen. Now 27, the creative midfielder has completed four years at BVB, making at least 40 appearances every season and hitting double figures for goals last term. Whenever he is on the pitch, he is the linchpin of this team.

Did you know?

Dortmund are in the final for the first time since 2012/13, when Jürgen Klopp's men lost 2-1 to Bayern at Wembley.

This season

Group C: W6 D0 L0 F16 A7 (winners)

Round of 16: 2-1agg vs Leipzig

Quarter-finals: 4-4agg (4-3pens) vs Man City

Semi-finals: 4-3agg vs Bayern

UEFA.com Real Madrid reporter: Madrid remain fun to watch, and report on. But the nerve-shredding and sensory overload moments which were unheralded themes of their otherwise perfect group qualification became more notable in the round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals. How much Madrid owed to their goalkeeper, Andriy Lunin, for the elimination of Leipzig was increased hugely against City. The Ukrainian was stellar in most of both knockouts, especially his 24-karat display throughout the penalty shoot-out win in Manchester. And a debt too to Joselu, whose late heroics saw off a spirited Bayern outfit in the last four.

Why Madrid can win the competition

Because they're Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti's side live and breathe the stress, the pride, the ambition, the Houdini acts and the majesty any club needs in order to win this trophy. Surely few share the same all-consuming desire to win this trophy. And if there are some candidates across Europe in better form right now, don't discard the big guns in this squad – Vinícius Júnior, Bellingham, Toni Kroos (plus perhaps the returning Thibaut Courtois and Éder Militão, according to the Italian coach) – hitting their stride at just the right time.

How Real Madrid play

Vivaciously. And, latterly, pugnaciously. If you had to state Los Blancos' current predominant formation, it would be 4-4-2. Ancelotti has a treasury of midfield talent and, until injuries intervened, he wanted to field as much of it as feasible. But rather than viewing four in midfield as a defensive measure (Madrid had largely used 4-3-3 since Ancelotti returned), the key is that Bellingham, alternating between the left side without the ball and the tip of the midfield diamond when Madrid are in possession, can attack the box and score. They are arguably the best counter/transition team in Europe.

Coach: Carlo Ancelotti

The man who led Madrid to La Décima in 2014 came back for a second spell in charge in summer 2021 and rewrote the history books by becoming the first coach to win the European Cup/Champions League four times. He also guided Madrid to the Liga title in 2021/22, making him the first coach to win championships in Italy, England, France, Germany and Spain.

Key player: Jude Bellingham

The England international's move to Madrid was one of the most eye-catching of the summer, and after inheriting Zinédine Zidane's iconic No5 shirt, big things were expected of one of European football's most talented midfielders at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Even while, by his own admission, coping with difficult shoulder and ankle problems, the young Englishman has continued to astonish with his goals, assists, will to win and thunderous love-affair with the Madrid supporters.

Did you know?

Real Madrid have reached their 18th European Cup/Champions League final – seven more than any other team (Bayern and Milan have each reached 11).

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