The Champions League final will take place this Saturday between Barcelona and Juventus at the
Olympiastadion in Berlin.
The final will see two of Europe’s largest clubs competing for the contents biggest footballing prize. But what will separate the two teams?
Giorgio Chiellini’s absence
Juventus’ rock at the back has been pivotal to his sides incredible domestic and European success this season. The Italian side won Serie A by 17 points and much of the credit for his sides mean defence must fall on the shoulders of the 30-year-old. Chiellini’s absence will mean Juventus will be left short at the back when facing the likes of Neymar, Suarez and Messi in Saturday’s final.
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We saw the true brilliance of the little Argentine on display in the Copa del Ray final, when his goal vs Atletic Bilbao gave Barcelona the lead. Having picked the ball up near the half way line he drove powerfully towards the Bilbao goal and scored with a marvellous finish.
If Messi can repeat these moments of magic on Saturday he could win the final on his own for Barcelona, irrespective of how Juventus line-up or which tactical techniques they employ to suppress the 27-year-old.
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Barcelona have become a mainstay in this fixture over the last decade. Winning the trophy three times and not losing a final since 1994.
Juventus however are searching for their first final win since 1996, the Italian side have also lost their last three finals. Barcelona’s ruthless ability to get the job done in recent finals could prove pivotal against a Juve team who in recent years have struggled to cope with the occasion.
For any side to win this they will need to make sure that they finish with 11 players on the pitch. With the fierce competitiveness of the fixture, it wont help that Luis Suarez and Patrice have history, and then some.
If either of the pair lose their discipline on the pitch it could leave the door wide open for either side to capitalise on the vacant and win the final. A good indicator of the pairs mental approach to the game could be seen as easily as the hand shakes.
Mangers Massimiliano Allegri and Luis Enrique will go head to head on the touch-line on
Saturday for the first time and both will have a good idea of how the other will set their side up.
Barcelona will play a quick, counter-attacking style with the aim to hit the three front men, Suarez, Neymar and Messi as quickly as possible.
Juventus however will look to pack the midfield with Pogba, Pirlo, and Vidal and get in amongst Barcelona to break up play early, cutting off the distribution lines to Barca’s powerful strike force.
The game will come down to who can execute their plan effectively to crete the chances they'll need to win the game.