For the first time in the history of the European Cup & Champions League that was the next step in the competition’s evolution, we have two teams from the same city in the final, as Atletico Madrid completed the picture for the final in Lisbon, facing their bitter rivals Real Madrid.
The two teams have already played each other four times this season – twice in the league, with Atletico winning one match and a draw following in the other one. They also met in the Copa Del Rey, with Real Madrid coming away with two wins in both legs.
The biggest surprise in European football this season. Atletico Madrid are leading the Spanish La Liga and are on their way to what might be their first championship since 1996 and 10th overall. Diego Simeone has been forging this team to show the same characteristics he did as a player and as a manager, resulting in a group that might not always play in the most pleasant to the eye fashion, but remain aggressive, committed, disciplined and fiery all the way through.
The finished first in their Champions League group stage, ahead of Zenit, Porto and Austria Wien. In the round of 16 they had no problem beating Milan 5-1 on aggregate with a 1-0 win at the San Siro and 4-1 at home. That was followed by knocking Barcelona out of the way (the sign of the incoming champion for the last six years), drawing 1-1 at the Camp Nou followed by a 1-0 win at the Vicente Calderon. The semifinal was a 3-1 aggregate win over Chelsea: A terrible 0-0 draw in Spain followed by a huge win at Stamford Bridge. They still haven’t lost in the competition this season.
It’ll be the second time for the team in the final of the Champions League, finishing as runners-up to Bayern Munich in 1974. They do have three European trophies: Twice in the Europa League/UEFA Cup (2010, 2012) and one Cup Winners’ Cup from 1962.
The team with more Champions League trophies than anyone is back in the final for the first time since 2002, hoping to win the competition for a 10th time. They’ve been to the final a total of 12 times, losing in three of them. They did win their most recent visit: 2002, with the famous Zidane goal against Bayer Leverkusen.
In the league, Real Madrid are probably not going to catch Atletico, 3 points behind them, but right now will finish above Barcelona, which is always something worth celebrating for Los Blancos. They beat Barcelona 2-1 in the Copa Del Rey final thanks to that epic Gareth Bale run to clinch the game.
In the UCL this season they finished first in the group stage, ahead of Galatasaray, Juventus and FC Copenhagen. The round of 16 didn’t give them too much trouble, as they destroyed Schalke 6-1 in Gemrany and 3-1 in Spain to win 9-2 on aggregate. The quarterfinals proved to be a lot more difficult: A 3-0 win in Madrid over Dortmund was followed by losing 2-0 in Germany, almost not making it. The third German them, Bayern Munich, proved to be less difficult than promised: Real won 1-0 at home, followed by what might turn into a historic 4-0 demolition in Munich.