Barcelona vs. Juventus: 3 things that will shape the outcome of Champions League final

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Barcelona and Juventus will do battle in Berlin to become European Champions in 2014/15 and for only the second time both finalists are in with a chance of winning the treble.

Although the Catalans go into the match as favourites the Bianconeri will be no pushovers, as Real Madrid found out in the semi finals. Massimiliano Allegri was unceremoniously dumped by AC Milan 18 months ago when the Rossoneri fell some 30 points behind his new employers.

He was therefore an unpopular choice when Antonio Conte resigned from the Old Lady of Italian football. But now only has Allegri carried on the good work of his contemporary, but he is now on the verge of history. Luis Enrique too, can banish the ghost of Pep Guardiola from Camp Nou once and for all if he can engineer Barca's second treble.

Let's take a look at three things that will affect the outcome of the Champions League Final..

Man-marking Messi?

The biggest headache that Juve have pre-game is to devise a workable tactical solution to limit Lionel Messi's influence on proceedings. His first goal against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final is likely to have been met with a mixture of shock and awe in the Juventus dressing room.

Three players stationed on him and the Argentine still managed to get the better of the opposition. Man-marking or zonal marking doesn't seem to matter to Messi, he almost always has the answer.

Do Juve have enough about them to keep Messi quiet for an entire 90 minutes?

Juve's midfield energy

Something that has gone largely unnoticed in the last couple of weeks is the energy and tenacity that Juventus are going to bring in the midfield areas. Both Arturo Vidal centrally and Paul Pogba on Juve's left bring an effervescence to their play alongside fearsome physical attributes.

Although Pogba is ostensibly the star of this Bianconeri side, Vidal will relish the battle and taking the game to the Catalans. He'll hope to drive right at the heart of defence, drawing out either Gerard Pique or Javier Mascherano.

His role is crucial in ensuring that Juve remain competitive throughout.

Wing play the key

Almost certainly Juventus will have pinpointed Dani Alves and Jordi Alba as Barca's weak links. With both keen to break forward at every opportunity, Claudio Marchisio and Pogba's pressure on those wide areas are likely to have the desired effect of ensuring Alba and Alves aren't able to support their attackers.

In so-doing, the link up play between Alba-Neymar and Alves-Messi that has worked so well to this point, is moribund.

It will force Barcelona to play through the middle where their success has been negligible.

Football fans, what do you think is going to happen this weekend? Can Barca clinch their famous treble or will it be Juve who are left celebrating? Let us know in the comments box below.

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Paul Pogba
Lionel Messi
Arturo Vidal
UEFA Champions League

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