The final of the 2015 European Champions League Tournament will be played out between Italian giants Juventus and ever-dangerous Spanish champions Barcelona at the Olympiastadion in Berlin early Sunday morning Australian time.
Both teams have been impressive on their respective paths to what is arguably world football’s grandest stage at club level and enter the match having both secured their nation’s domestic title.
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Four-time Champions League victors, Barcelona were drawn in Group F for this 2014/15 campaign alongside French champions Paris St-Germain, Dutch mainstays Ajax and the lowly-ranked APOEL of Cyprus.
Comfortably progressing to the knockout stages atop the pool having won five of six games, Barcelona drew English champions Manchester City in the Round of 16; winning the tie’s first leg 2-1 away before sealing passage through to the quarterfinals with a 1-0 win at Camp Nou.
Breezing past PSG in the quarters 5-1 on aggregate, Barca produced undoubtedly their most impressive effort to date in seeing off 2013 champions Bayern Munich 3-0 in the first leg of their semi-final series to win 5-3 overall.
Boasting an incredible roster which does not have a weakness anywhere, Barcelona is undoubtedly at their best in attack with the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez spearheading arguably the world’s most potent strike force.
Lionel Messi scores and Barcelona wins: $2.75
Juventus have lifted the European Champions League trophy two times previously; runners-up a further five times and last made the decider in 2003.
Drawn in Group A alongside Atletico Madrid, Greek champions Olympiacos and Swedish side Malmo FF, Juve interestingly finished second behind the Spanish connection after posting three wins, a draw and two losses from their six matches.
Having comfortably seen off the largely out-of-form Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16, Juventus was tested by French qualifiers Monaco in the Quarterfinals and snuck through to the semis with a tight 1-0 aggregate triumph.
Having gotten the better of reigning champions and Barcelona’s fierce national rival Real Madrid in the final four, Juventus will be full of confidence leading into Sunday’s final but have taken a huge blow in the form of key defender Giorgio Chiellini being ruled out with a calf tear.
Carlos Tevez scores and Juventus wins: $12
Barcelona vs Juventus
Barcelona wins: 3
Juventus wins: 4
Last Five Meetings
22/4/2003 Juventus 2 vs 1 Barcelona
9/4/2003 Juventus 1 vs 1 Barcelona
24/4/1991 Juventus 1 vs 0 Barcelona
10/4/1991 Barcelona 3 vs 1 Juventus
19/3/1986 Juventus 1 vs 1 Barcelona
Having rarely crossed paths over the last 30 years, the 2015 European Champions League is shaping as undoubtedly the biggest ever fixture between Barcelona and Juventus. Barcelona have simply outclassed their opponents on the way to the tournament decider, while Juventus have remained poised and found a way to win through the competition’s knockout stages when the chips were down. For this reason, the Italian side will probably not be heavily affected by the loss of key defender Chiellini, but will also probably be run off their feet at the end of 90 minutes by a young, fit and skilful Barcelona outfit rich with players who know each other’s games to a tee.
We’re tipping Barcelona to lift the 2015 European Champions League trophy, winning 2-1 after extra time.