Champions League Final Preview: Who’s Winning at Wembley?

The biggest match in club football has finally arrived, with Real Madrid facing off against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League Final. The odds are in Los Blancos’ favor as they look to add to their gargantuan trophy cabinet, as evidenced by the bonusy bukmacherskie from the leading sportsbooks.


It’s no secret that Real Madrid are the kings of Europe. They’ve lost just three Champions League Finals, coming up short in 1962 and 1964, whilst they also lost in 1981. Since that defeat to Liverpool 43 years ago, Real Madrid have won each of the eight Champions League Finals that they have contested.


The Spanish giants claimed the elusive ‘La Decima’ in 2013/14 in Carlo Ancelotti’s first season in charge, but after watching their eternal rivals Barcelona claim a treble, they decided to sack the Italian manager. After a dismal start under Rafael Benitez, Real sacked the Spaniard and brought in Zinedine Zidane in January 2016, who would guide them to an astonishing three Champions League titles in a row.


However, the summer of 2018 would be a transitional window for Real, with Zidane and all-time Champions League top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo departing. They struggled to rebound, bouncing around from Julen Lopetegui to Santiago Solari before bringing back Zidane, who would guide them to the La Liga title the following year.


Ancelotti would return in the summer of 2021 after a brief spell at Everton, and it didn’t take long for him to bring the silverware back to the Santiago Bernabeu after a trophyless campaign. Despite losing two key defensive pillars in Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos, Real would claim the league title and the Champions League. Fast forward two years later, they find themselves 90 minutes away from achieving that feat again.


Real have lost three major figures in defense — Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao and David Alaba — to ACL injuries, and they also lost their top scorer Karim Benzema to Al-Ittihad. And yet, they have not only cruised to the league championship, but they have also reached the UEFA Champions League Final in stunning fashion. Los Blancos have lost just two matches in all competitions this season — both to Atletico Madrid — and they will be looking to continue that trend on Saturday.


It is set to be an emotional affair for both sides. Whilst Real Madrid will bid farewell to their legendary German midfielder Toni Kroos, Borussia Dortmund will say goodbye to one of the greatest players in their history in Marco Reus. Having joined BVB’s academy in 1996, Reus was seven years old when he watched his boyhood club beat Juventus in the UEFA Champions League Final. Apart from a brief spell at Gladbach between 2009 and 2012, he has spent the entirety of his life in Dortmund.


The iconic, blonde playmaker was part of the BVB side that beat Real Madrid in the semifinals to reach the second Champions League Final in their history. Mario Mandzukic would open the scoring within an hour, Ilkay Gundogan levelled proceedings immediately after from the penalty spot, but Arjen Robben’s 89th-minute goal would see Bayern Munich prevail 2-1 at Wembley.


Since then, the German has struggled with injuries, missing out on various international tournaments due to fitness issues, and he also hasn’t quite been able to fill up his trophy cabinet either. His sole two major trophies have been the DFB-Pokal in 2017 and 2021, watching from the sidelines as Bayern constructed a domestic dynasty. That hasn’t stopped him from enchanting the Signal Iduna Park faithful with his delectable skills and stunning individual brilliance, however.


One day after turning 35 years of age, Reus will be looking to close out his BVB career with the biggest trophy of them all. He has racked up an astonishing 170 goals and 131 assists in 428 appearances for his boyhood club, and he has the chance to avenge the Wembley defeat of 2013 and ride off into the sunset with an upset victory against Real Madrid in London.