Is it fate that Real Madrid win the Champions League?
13 times Real Madrid have won Europe's top club competition. They have a chance of making it 14 when taking on Liverpool at the Stade de France on Saturday May 28. While their opponents have had few problems on their way to the final, it's been a very different story for the La Liga champions. With four losses and one in each of the knockout rounds, is it almost fate that they are again to lift the Champions League trophy?
The Comeback Kings
It was in 2018 that Real Madrid last won the Champions League. They beat Liverpool 3-1 in that final and will hope for a repeat on May 28. This is their 17th final in either the European Cup or Champions League and Real have only lost three of them.The last seven times they have played a Champions League final, they went on to win the trophy.
They haven't lost a Champions League final since 1981 and that game just happened to be played in Paris. Not at the Stade de France but the Parc de Princes. Who beat them 41 years ago? None other than Liverpool!
There have been many times this season that another Champions League win for Real Madrid didn't look too likely. They even lost their first home game, going down 2-1 to Sheriff Tiraspol. Their other five group games were won though as they finished five points clear of Italian champions Inter Milan.
Winning the group didn't get them an easy draw in the last 16. Real Madrid were drawn against PSG and lost the away first leg 1-0 thanks to a 94th minute goal from Kylian Mbappe. He struck again in the first half of the second leg and with Real 2-0 down on aggregate after 60 minutes, that 14th Champions League triumph looked a long way away. It didn't after 78 minutes though as Karim Benzema hit a 17-minute hat-trick to put Real Madrid in the lead and on their way to the quarter finals with a 3-2 aggregate win.
Next up was a tie against the defending champions Chelsea. Benzema hit another hat-trick as the Spaniards had a convincing 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge. Now their fans could really start dreaming of another Champions League final. They wouldn't have been expecting a tense game in the second leg but boy they were wrong!
Chelsea found themselves 3-0 up and a goal ahead on aggregate going into the 80th minute. It was Rodrygo to the rescue with an equalizer that took the tie into extra time. Up popped Benzema in the 96th minute to send Real into the last four.
They faced a tough semi-final against Premier League champions Manchester City and were 3-1 down at one stage. Two more goals from Benzema saw them return home only 4-3 down. More problems were on the way in the home leg though and City extended their lead to 5-3. As the game went into the 90th minute, many fans left the ground giving up on any chance of the comeback kings doing it again.
Oh ye of little faith! Two goals from Rodrygo in the 90th and 91st minutes earned Real Madrid extra time. It wasn't the greatest shock when Benzema got the winner in the 96th minute. With such comebacks like this, is it fate they will win the Champions League in Paris?
Another English Victory?
A win for Liverpool will see the Champions League won by an English team for the third time in four seasons. Liverpool have already won two trophies this season, both over Chelsea in the final with penalty kicks needed in each game. If this final goes to penalty kicks, then Liverpool could get a rather unique treble.
The English side are chasing a quadruple this season. It is likely to be a treble by the time they get to Paris with Manchester City in pole position to win the Premier League. Liverpool will be out to win Europe's top club competitition for the second time in three years and a seventh time in all. This is their tenth final and only three of the previous ones have been lost.
While it's been a struggle for Real to get to the final, Liverpool have had a much more convincing road to Paris. They won all six of their group games, finishing an impressive 11 points ahead of Atletico Madrid in second. 17 goals were put past their opponents with at least two goals scored in each game.
At one time, Liverpool were a little fragile on their away trips in Europe. That's not been the case this season and in the group stages, all three away games were won with ten goals scored. That form has continued in the knockout stages with three more wins at Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal. Can they make it a magnificent seven in Paris?
Their only loss in the Champions League this season was the last sixteen second leg at home to Inter. 2-0 up from the first leg, they played a weakened line-up and lost 1-0. The only worrying time for Liverpool was in their semi-final second leg. They led Villarreal 2-0 after the home leg but then found the aggregate scores level in the return match. Liverpool came from 2-0 down on the night to get a 3-2 win.
Both Liverpool and Real Madrid are strong in attack. Liverpool probably shade it when it comes to defending. A cracking game lies ahead of us in Paris on May 24.
The Road to Paris
- Group Stages - Won group, finishing 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid winning all six games.
- Last Sixteen - Beat Inter Milan 2-1 on aggregate.
- Quarter Finals - Beat Benfica 6-4 on aggregate.
- Semi Finals - 5-2 aggregate win over Villarreal
- Group Stages - Won group, ended five points ahead of Inter Milan
- Last Sixteen - Beat PSG 3-2 on aggregate
- Quarter Finals - 5-4 aggregate win over Chelsea
- Semi Finals - Beat Manchester City 6-5 on aggregate.