UEFA Champions League final: Who has the advantage out of Real Madrid and

Next month’s UEFA Champions League final is approaching fast and although it is not the finale that many expected, which was Real Madrid facing Kylian Mbappe and Paris Saint-Germain, the Spanish giants are at least going to be there at Wembley Stadium. Borussia Dortmund shocked European soccer by not only finishing above the French superstar and the Ligue 1 titleholders in this year’s group stage but also by knocking them out at the semifinal stage which has produced this year’s final pairing. It is 14-time winners and three-time runners-up Real against one-time winners and one-time runners-up Dortmund so we assess how they both stack up across the positions.

Champions League final: Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid

Date: Saturday, June 1 | Time: 3 pm ET
Location: Wembley Stadium — London, England
TV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+

Attack

First of all, up top, pre-Mbappe Real are already fairly formidable even if there is no obvious focal point of this frontline before the France international arrives at Santiago Bernabeu. Vinicius Junior is the main star turn although Jude Bellingham being deployed often in an attacking midfield role also makes him a heavy hitter in this attack. Add in Rodrygo and Joselu as well as Brahim Diaz and Arda Guler’s recent recovery and there is lots of quality to this Real strikforce. On the other side, Niclas Fullkrug has been heroic and scored one of the goals which doomed PSG to elimination in the semis. Factor in an in-form Jadon Sancho and then the searing pace of Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen, plus the wildcard that is a recovering Sebastien Haller, and there is quality there albeit not to the same degree as Real’s riches.
Advantage: Real Madrid.

Midfield

Into the middle now and if we assume that Bellingham will play further forward and bear in mind that Aurelien Tchouameni is already a doubt because of injury, Real’s main elements are an evergreen Toni Kroos, the versatile Fede Valverde, utility man Eduardo Camavinga and the wily veteran Luka Modric. Even with limited manpower, Los Blancos’ ability to reshuffle and the technical brilliance of most — if not all — of those names will make life very hard for Dortmund. But the Germans do have some excellence of their own with Julian Brandt in some of the best and most consistent form of his career, tough tackling pair Emre Can and Marcel Sabitzer as well as the departing Marco Reus who can still feature further forward when asked. BVB do not have nothing in the middle but it is hard to compare with Real’s impressive depth in quality.
Advantage: Real Madrid.

Defense

Now this is where it gets interesting as Real — technically — are starting to get some key faces back in defense which is a huge blessing for the Spanish champions as they have not nearly been as convincing keeping goals out as they have been scoring them. Antonio Rudiger, Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Ferland Mendy and Eder Militao are all substantial names with masses of experience but Militao is still working his way back to fitness and is not guaranteed to start while Tchouameni has often been drafted in to shore up the defense but is now hurt. They might not be as flashy, but veteran presence and semifinal hero Mats Hummels is arguably in the best form of any defender in Europe right now which gives Nico Schlotterbeck huge confidence alongside him with Julian Ryerson and Ian Maatsen the established wide options. The Germans have consistency on their side and will be a tough nut to crack as the semis against PSG showed.
Advantage: Borussia Dortmund.

Goalkeeper

Depending on the next few weeks, Real’s Andriy Lunin could be desperately unlucky and see his impressive season be undone by the returning Thibaut Courtois after long-term injury. If fully fit, there is no debate that the Belgium international could be a difference maker between the sticks as he was against Liverpool a few years ago but that is a big if given how long he was out of action. Lunin has been a more than adequate replacement and has seen off competition from loanee Kepa but Dortmund’s Gregor Kobel is playing like a man possessed and will be desperate to carry his knockout stage form into the final which would be a huge plus for the Germans.
Advantage: Borussia Dortmund.

Head coach

Unfortunately for Edin Terzic and with all due respect after what has been a sensational run to the final, he is up against arguably the finest tactician that this competition has ever seen. Carlo Ancelotti is a serial winner with four titles to his name and an opportunity to seal a history-extending fifth here. The 41-year-old Terzic will have pulled off a huge coup if he can mastermind another shrewd defensive showing to upstage Real and Ancelotti but the Spanish juggernaut must hold the potentially decisive trump card here.
Advantage: Real Madrid.

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