Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid - predicted outcome, team updates, and lineups

The clash for continental dominance will take place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night between the underdog team Borussia Dortmund and experienced Champions League contenders Real Madrid.

The dominant teams in Bundesliga, sporting black and yellow uniforms, have the chance to finally break a 27-year-long losing streak and secure their second Champions League title. On the other hand, Real Madrid is determined to add their name to the European Champion Clubs’ Cup for the 15th time.

Edin Terzic, along with his team, emerged victorious over Paris Saint-Germain in the semifinals, securing their spot in Wembley. Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelottis players prevented their opponents from reaching an all-German final against Bayern Munich by staging a thrilling comeback in the second leg.

Preview of the match

The unfancied team of Borussia Dortmund has set their sights on exorcising their past Champions League failures under the iconic Wembley arch this Saturday. It has been 11 years since they helplessly watched Arjen Robben’s scrappy shot roll into the net for Bayern Munich in the 2012-2013 final of Der Klassiker, held in London.

Marco Reus, a long-time member of the club, and Mats Hummels, a revitalized center-back, could possibly be the only remaining players from the team that won a silver medal. Hummels has also played for Allianz Arena in the past. However, all of Terzic’s first-time finalists are well aware of the importance of June 1 and do not need to be reminded.

Borussia Dortmund proved their strength in the challenging “Group of Death” alongside AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, and Newcastle United. Their victory over PSV Eindhoven was just a glimpse of their future success, as they easily defeated them without much effort. However, they faced a slight setback in the first leg of their quarter-final against Atletico Madrid.

Despite facing their only loss in the 2023-24 tournament at the Wanda Metropolitano, Dortmund’s pursuit of European success was not affected. They achieved a remarkable comeback in the second leg, followed by two impressive 1-0 victories over PSG, who are known for consistently falling short. These wins were achieved at both the Signal Iduna Park and Parc des Princes in the beginning of May.

Due to their strong defensive tactics and the continuous squandering of chances by the Ligue 1 winners, BVB sealed another season of Champions League misery for PSG as the experienced Hummels scored the only goal in the second leg, securing Dortmund a spot in the Champions League for only the third time in history.

In the 1996-97 season, Dortmund, led by Ottmar Hitzfeld, won the European Cup with a 3-1 victory over Juventus in Munich. However, they have not returned to the final since losing to Bayern in London over ten years ago. Real’s success in the semi-finals has prevented them from having a chance at revenge against the Bavarian team.

Despite Bayern’s loss of their strong hold on the Bundesliga championship, Terzic’s team and other teams in the league were unable to stop the unstoppable force of Bayer Leverkusen. Despite a dominating 4-0 win against SV Darmstadt 98 in their final match, Dortmund could only manage a fifth place finish.

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Despite the outcome of Saturday’s final, BVB will have the opportunity to compete at the top level of European football next year, thanks to Germany’s higher UEFA coefficient compared to all other countries except Italy. Additionally, they are also aiming for a record-breaking fourth consecutive Champions League win at any stage, a feat they have not achieved in almost a decade.

Although Dortmund’s lack of trophies has not been as distressingly lengthy as their 27-year wait for a second Champions League title, they did manage to win the DFB-Pokal in 2020-21. However, for Reus, who is a beloved player at Signal Iduna Park, a Champions League victory would hold much more significance before he leaves his locker at Dortmund.

Real Madrid's head coach, Carlo Ancelotti, seen during a press conference on May 7, 2024.

Throughout his exceptional career in the Champions League, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has always remained true to his tradition of disregarding sentimentality. With four European Cup victories under his belt as a head coach, he stands out among his peers and is now determined to widen the gap between himself and the rest of the competition.

Without a doubt, Real Madrid, who have won 14 times, will say goodbye to one of their esteemed German players on Saturday, as midfielder Toni Kroos will participate in his last competitive club game before a final appearance at Euro 2024. The 34-year-old has already had a taste of Champions League final glory during his time at Bayern Munich when they faced Dortmund.

In the Champions League group stage, Kroos and his fellow essential players from Real Madrid successfully won against Braga, Napoli, and Union Berlin without losing a single point. However, their performance in the last-16 match against RB Leipzig, where they won with a 2-1 aggregate score, was not up to their usual standards.

Yet, true to the Blancos’ style, Ancelotti’s team surprisingly managed to triumph over the reigning champions Man City – seeking retribution from their defeat in the 2022-23 semi-finals through a penalty shootout – while supporters of Newcastle United across the country were left amazed and in disbelief.

Following a 2-2 draw in the first leg, Alphonso Davies – a potential future player for Blancos – scored a stunning goal that seemed to end Real’s hopes of winning their 15th crown. However, Joselu, on loan from Espanyol, made a name for himself in Bernabeu’s history by scoring two impressive goals and securing their spot at Wembley.

In light of the impressive individual contributions of the former Magpie, Real Madrid’s renowned emblem will grace the front cover of the Champions League final programme for the 18th occasion this Saturday. However, out of Los Blancos’ 17 previous appearances in the championship match, only three have resulted in disappointment.

It is quite astonishing that 43 years have passed since the Spanish giants were defeated in the final event. However, since their devastating defeat against Liverpool in 1981, Real Madrid has emerged victorious in all eight Champions League finals where they have participated.

Securing a triumphant trio of titles for the current holders of La Liga and Supercopa de Espana would be the result of prolonging that remarkable winning streak. Despite dropping four points against Villarreal and Real Betis in the final stages of the top-flight season, there is no need to worry about those two draws.

Having gone undefeated in 25 consecutive games since their defeat in the Copa del Rey by Atletico in January, Ancelotti’s team has also managed to score in every match away from their home base at Bernabeu in the 2023-24 season. This is yet another positive sign leading up to the upcoming European event on Saturday.

Latest Updates from the Team

Aurelien Tchouameni of Real Madrid during the warm up session on February 13, 2024

In the 2012-13 Champions League, David Alaba was victorious over Dortmund while playing with Kroos, but now as a Real Madrid defender, he is unable to play due to an ACL injury. This injury has also ended his hopes of participating in Euro 2024.

One of the players from Real Madrid, who is from Austria, will be unable to play this weekend. This is because Aurelien Tchouameni, another player from the team, was unable to recover from a foot injury in time. This means that Nacho Fernandez will most likely wear the captain’s armband for the last time before he is expected to leave the team as well.

The rest of Ancelotti’s field players are in great condition, including the ex-Dortmund prodigy Jude Bellingham, but the goalie Andriy Lunin has unfortunately contracted a severe case of the flu at a very inconvenient time, causing him to be separated from the rest of the team for precautionary measures.

According to reports, Lunin may travel to London separately to avoid spreading the bug. However, if he recovers in time for the weekend, Ancelotti may still choose to start the fully-fit Thibaut Courtois, making the decision easier for him.

Wearing the iconic white uniform one last time, Kroos is set to play alongside Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde in a midfield trident without Luka Modric. However, Joselu’s impressive performance in the semi-finals should not be sufficient to disrupt the Brazilian partnership of Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior in the forward positions.

Sebastien Haller of Borussia Dortmund celebrates after scoring their first goal on April 10, 2024

Similarly, the physicians at Dortmund are currently taking care of a few notable players who are recovering from injuries, such as Ramy Bensebaini (knee), Julien Duranville (muscle), and Mateu Morey (illness). However, it should be noted that Morey was not included in BVB’s Champions League knockout squad in any case.

The sole uncertainty among the German squad is forward Sebastien Haller, who has rejoined the team’s practices after recovering from an ankle injury. However, it is likely that the former West Ham United player will play a supporting role to Niclas Fullkrug, who scored one of Dortmund’s two goals against PSG during their semi-final clashes.

In the final Bundesliga match against Darmstadt, ten of the eleven players who started in the second-leg victory against Les Parisiens also started. The only difference was Reus, who was chosen over Julian Brandt for the latter game and, as expected, scored a goal in his last Bundesliga appearance for BVB.

Despite the temptation for Terzic to continue playing Reus, who is a fan favorite and has yet to win a Champions League title, the Dortmund manager must not give in to sentimentality. He should instead bring Brandt back into the starting lineup alongside the rest of the established players.

With speculation surrounding his future, Jadon Sancho, on loan from Manchester United, may be playing his last game for the club. He will look to terrorize Ferland Mendy in the right wing, as he famously did in the first leg of the semi-final against PSG with 12 successful dribbles. In the likely absence of Marco Reus from the starting lineup, Emre Can, who won the title in 2012-2013, will wear the captain’s armband.

Possible Starting Lineup for Borussia Dortmund:

Kobel; Ryerson, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Maatsen; Sabitzer, Can; Sancho, Brandt, Adeyemi; Fullkrug

Possible starting lineup for Real Madrid:

Courtois; Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho, Mendy; Valverde, Camavinga, Kroos; Bellingham; Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior

Comparison between two entities

Having faced each other numerous times in previous Champions League tournaments, Dortmund and Real Madrid have a history of clashes in Europe’s top competition. Out of the 14 encounters, Los Blancos have emerged victorious in six, while BVB has managed to secure only three wins.

In the 2017-18 season, Real achieved success in two group meetings, which were their most recent victories. On the other hand, Dortmund’s last triumph dates back to a 2-0 win in the quarter-finals second-leg in 2013-14. However, this victory was insignificant due to Real’s 3-0 win in the first-leg.

The stakes are at an all-time high for the two teams competing at Wembley this Saturday. They have faced each other twice before in the semi-finals, with Real winning in 1997-98 and Dortmund winning in 2012-13. However, they have yet to go head to head with the coveted trophy on the line for the winner.

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Our verdict: Real Madrid triumphs over Borussia Dortmund with a score of 1-0.

Dortmund’s impressive victory over the “group of death” and their ability to overcome Atletico and PSG over two legs has solidified their spot in the final event. However, Terzic and the team are aware that their success was partly due to Paris Saint-Germain’s wastefulness in the semi-finals.

Real Madrid’s journey to Wembley has not been without obstacles, but whether it be due to the players rising to the challenge, the passionate support of their fans, or the commanding presence of coach Ancelotti, the 14-time champions always manage to come out on top.

No changes are anticipated on Saturday. The previous year’s championship game, which featured Man City and Inter Milan, was decided by a single goal. In London, during the Champions League, a similar occurrence could happen again, as Real Madrid reasserts their dominance as the top team in Europe.

Who will win Saturday's Champions League final between Dortmund and Real Madrid?

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