The curtain comes down on the domestic football season this weekend when Real Madrid take on Liverpool in the Champions League final in Kiev.

Madrid are looking to win their third European title in a row, and their fourth in five years, against a Liverpool side inspired by Egyptian Mo Salah and his phenomenal first season at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have been scoring goals for fun in this competition, clocking up 40 goals since the group stages. The Reds topped their group before seeing off Porto, Manchester City and Roma on-route to Kiev. Liverpool remained unbeaten in this season’s competition until a 4-2 loss in Roma in their semi-final second leg, and Klopp is looking to win his first Champions League title after losing to Bayern Munich when Borussia Dortmund boss in the 2013 final.

Madrid, led by Zinedine Zidane, became the first side to defend their Champions League crown in almost 30 years last season when they breezed past Juventus in Cardiff. Despite not looking like their imperious best during parts of this season’s competition, and finishing second in their group, Los Blancos made it to Kiev the hard way after seeing off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich in the knockout rounds. Cristiano Ronaldo also set a competition record by scoring in all six group games, and both legs of the last 16 and quarter final. He’s the competition’s top goal scorer with 15 goals.

We spoke to two UCFB students, and ardent Madrid and Liverpool fans, to get their thoughts ahead of the game.

Real Madrid

Sarah Makki, BA (Hons) Multimedia Sports Journalism student

“Now Real Madrid aren’t going into the final as strangers, they’re looking to lift their 13th European Cup.

“The last time we played Liverpool was in the 14/15 Champions League run, where we beat Liverpool home and away. It’s safe to say that the Liverpool squad now, compared to back then, is quite different and so it’ll be a tough final for us.

“However, Madrid have a very experienced squad, a Champions League final is nothing new to them and as a result of the run for the domestic title not being the best, we’ve been able to focus on the Champions League. I think it’ll be a nervy final which could go to extra time or maybe even penalties. I predict 3-2 to Madrid after extra time.”

Route to the final

Group stage: Finish as group runners up – APEOL 3-0 (H); Borussia Dortmund 1-3 (A); Tottenham 1-1 (H); Tottenham 3-1 (A); APOEL 0-6 (A); Borussia Dortmund 3-2 (H).

Last 16: Beat PSG 3-1 (H) & 1-2 (A), 5-2 Agg.

Quarter-final: Beat Juventus 0-3 (A) & 1-3 (H), 4-3 Agg.

Semi-final: Beat Bayern Munich 1-2 (A) & 2-2 (H), 4-3 Agg.

 

Liverpool

Ross Chandley, BA (Hons) Football Business & Media student

“It’s arguably Liverpool’s biggest game in over a decade and the best bit is, nobody expected us to be in this position – not even Liverpool fans, but we thoroughly deserve to be where we are.

“Real Madrid and their European experience cannot and should not be underestimated. A lot of this depends on nerves. Madrid have been in this position before, whereas this is the first time we have appeared in the competition since 2014/15 and we went out in the group stages then!

“The players are well rested and I think the speed in which we counter and the synergy between Mané, Salah and Firmino will be too much for the Madrid defence. We’ve grown significantly as a team over the past six months and the Champions League has been an incredible ride, so I think we can finish the job. I’m going to stick my neck out and say 2-1 to Liverpool. That’s with red tinted glasses on of course.”

Group stage: Finished as group winners – Sevilla 2-2 (H); Spartak Moskva 1-1 (A); Maribor 0-7 (A); Maribor 3-0 (H); Sevilla 3-3 (A); Spartak Moskva 7-0 (H).

Last 16: Beat Porto 0-5 (A) & 0-0 (H), 5-0 Agg.

Quarter-final: Beat Manchester City 3-0 (H) & 1-2 (A), 5-1 Agg.

Semi-final: Beat AS Roma 5-2 (H) & 4-2 (A), 7-6 Agg.