June 6th, 2015 is the date that has been marked on many football fans’ calendars since the beginning of the season. It is the day that the Champions League final is being played at the majestic Olympic Stadium in Berlin. This year’s final will be held between FC Barcelona of Spain and Juventus FC from Italy. Two of the finest teams to have graced the football pitch ever, close to a billion people will be watching the game with great interest and support.
Before we analyse the teams, a quick recap into the history of the teams playing this year shows that the final is being played between the teams with arguably the best forward line against the one with the best defence. This leads to an intriguing line-up and it will be one of the most exciting finals of our times. Let us analyse the teams now:
Arguably the best team of the past decade or so, FC Barcelona is managed by Luis Enrique and is spearheaded by the great Lionel Messi. The legend is flanked by Neymar and Luis Suarez and the three of them have plundered 120 goals for the team this season on their way to domestic league and cup victories.
Gunning for a treble, much of the onus will be on their attacking, which is easily the best in the world. Messi, arguably the greatest club footballer of all time will be looking to add a fourth Champions League crown. He has scored in two Champions League finals before this-both against the mighty Manchester United managed by Sir Alex Ferguson and if he does win the Champions League, he is the favourite to win the Ballon D’Or for the best footballer for the fifth time in January.
Apart from MSN- the moniker given to Messi, Suarez and Neymar, who have captured the world’s imagination, Barcelona will also be looking to provide a fitting farewell to their longest serving footballer- Xavi Hernandez. The midfielder, who is moving to Al Sadd after nearly two and a half decades at Barcelona FC is their most decorated player and is the greatest midfielder of his generation.
Barcelona play with a free flowing style of football that is due to their impeccable forward line and their industrious midfield that is run by the enforcer- Sergio Busquets, Xavi’s heir apparent- Ivan Rakitic and the graceful Andres Iniesta- the most elegant player to have ever worn a football shirt.
The team has been near perfect this year following allegations of a rift between Messi and Enrique at the end of last year, and they have not put a foot wrong since the turn of this year having won La Liga and the Copa Del Rey within the space of a week.
Having demolished Manchester City, PSG and Bayern Munich (led by former coach Pep Guardiola) – Barcelona have defeated the champions of England, France and Germany and will be looking to add the scalp of the champions of Italy too to their list.
The only weak spot might be their defence as both of their full-backs- Jordi Alba and Daniel Alves love spending most of their time in the opposition half. But Gerard Pique and Jeremy Mathieu; the centre-backs have had wonderful campaigns and should be able to keep out Juventus.
The Grand Old Lady of Turin, as Juventus are called will be looking to add a third Champions League crown. They appeared last in the final back in 2003 and are the finest team in Italy by a country mile, having won the title comfortably with a few weeks to spare along with the Italian League cup. They too, are looking to complete the treble this year.
Juventus FC will rely heavily upon their defence, but have been dealt a blow with the news that their defensive lynchpin- Giorgio Chiellini is out with a hamstring injury. However, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli are able replacements and should be able to do the job.
The captain of the team and their inspiration is Gianluigi Buffon- a World Cup winner with Italy, the Champions League remains the only trophy he hasn’t won at club level and he will be raring to have one last shot at redemption before hanging his boots. Already 37, he has put in performances that defy his age and will be their most important player in the line of defence.
They have able full-backs in Patrice Evra and Stefan Lichtsteiner but they will have their work cut out owing to Barcelona’s brilliant forward line.
The midfield is where Juventus are strong and they are led by the Renaissance man of Italy- Andrea Pirlo. One of the best central midfielders in the world for more than a decade, Pirlo will be looking to orchestrate the game from the middle of the park and will be supported by the young and immensely talented Paul Pogba and marathon man Arturo Vidal. Barcelona will be looking to keep control of these three as they could get in trouble if they are allowed to get into their stride.
The forward line is led by the brilliant little Argentinian Carlos Tevez. Coming up against his countryman Messi, Tevez will be looking to add to his Champions League trophy that he won at Manchester United back in 2008. He is their best bet of getting a goal and assisted by the young and impressive Alvaro Morata, the two will be looking to hit Barcelona on the counter-attack.
The mouth-watering individual duels that will take place are an exciting prospect to behold but the edge lies with FC Barcelona simply due to the fact that they have the best player of all time spearheading the best trio in the world. This along with the fact that it is the last game for Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona will not be short of inspiration to win
Juventus have been hit by the late injury to Chiellini, but they could yet spring a surprise if they stick to their game plan. A hard-working team, they will be looking to nick a goal and then absorb the pressure that FCB will inflict upon them to win the title.
Who do you think will win this exciting match and why? Do you think either of the teams will be able to complete the treble? Do tell us. Comment on our Facebook Page