Everything you need to know about 2024 Champions League final

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This season’s Champions League final, a meeting between European kings Real Madrid and underdogs Borussia Dortmund, is finally here. Get ready for Saturday’s match with theScore’s comprehensive preview package.

The lowdown ?

Who: Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund
What: 69th European Cup final
When: Saturday, June 1 at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Wembley Stadium (London, England)
Referee: Slavko Vincic (Slovenia)
VAR: Nejc Kajtazovic (Slovenia)

How to watch ?

TV: CBS, Univision, TUDN (U.S.)
Stream: Paramount+ and fuboTV (U.S.); DAZN (Canada)

Betting odds ?

Odds via theScore Bet:

Real Madrid: -170
Draw: +300
Borussia Dortmund: +450

Key questions ?

Bellingham’s big moment?

Jude Bellingham has thrust himself into the Ballon d’Or conversation after a sensational debut season with Real Madrid. The English midfielder scored 24 goals in 132 games with Borussia Dortmund, but he has exploded since making his big transfer and inheriting the famous No. 5 shirt once worn by Zinedine Zidane, finding the net 23 times in just 40 appearances for Los Blancos. His tactical versatility and attacking instincts from midfield are essential to Real Madrid’s play, providing another scoring threat for a team that often lines up, at least to start matches, without a recognized striker.

The stars couldn’t possibly align any better for him to deliver a crowning performance. Against his former club, playing in his home country’s most famous stadium, one more standout display – or, better yet, another decisive goal – would cap a truly incredible season for the 20-year-old. Can Bellingham’s former coach and teammates conjure up a plan to limit his influence?

Who will excel on the counterattack?

James Gill – Danehouse / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Both Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund can be devastating in transition. The German side relies heavily on wingers Jadon Sancho and Karim Adeyemi to take advantage when the opposing full-backs get too far forward, something Ferland Mendy and Dani Carvajal will need to keep in mind when trying to join the attack. The blistering Adeyemi, in particular, will have an enormous pace advantage over wily veteran Carvajal, who’ll surely use all his nous to try and slow down the young German.

Madrid, meanwhile, are arguably the best team in the world at exploiting open space on the break, with Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, and Bellingham able to flip the field and use their collective combination of speed and ruthless precision to craft scoring chances. Something has to give, though. Both teams can’t eschew possession in the hopes of racing out on the counter. Someone has to take the initiative. The ebbs and flows of the match should be fascinating.

Perfect send-off … but for whom?

One of Toni Kroos or Marco Reus is going to walk off into the sunset after the final whistle blows at Wembley. Kroos, who’s made 464 appearances for Real Madrid, is retiring after Euro 2024. Saturday’s contest will be his final match at club level after a decorated career. Reus, described by Edin Terzic as a “living legend,” is leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer after 12 years and over 400 first-team appearances for his boyhood team. He intends to continue playing, but both sides agreed his expiring contract wouldn’t be renewed.

Their career paths have diverged – the masterful Kroos is still the focal point of Madrid’s midfield, while Reus is now a late-game option off the bench for Dortmund – but there’s a storybook ending to be had for one of these German icons. “My ambition was always to finish my career at the peak of my performance level,” Kroos said upon making a retirement announcement that shocked so many. There is no greater peak than this in the club game.

Further reading ?

Dive into some of the storylines surrounding the contest:

Injury updates ?

The latest on the lingering lineup questions:

Player Club Injury Status
Aurelien Tchouameni Real Madrid Foot Out
Andriy Lunin Real Madrid Illness Available
Julien Duranville Borussia Dortmund Muscle Out
Sebastien Haller Borussia Dortmund Ankle Available

Projected lineups ?

Real Madrid (4-3-1-2): Courtois; Carvajal, Nacho, Rudiger, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Camavinga; Bellingham; Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior

Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Kobel; Ryerson, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Maatsen; Emre Can, Sabitzer; Adeyemi, Brandt, Sancho; Fullkrug

Kit matchup ?

(Photo courtesy: UEFA)

Season at a glance ?

Brief rundown of 2023-24 credentials:

Real Madrid

  • Form (all competitions): DDWWWW
  • League finish: 1st in La Liga
  • Domestic cup: Lost in round of 16

Borussia Dortmund

  • Form (all competitions): WLWWWL
  • League finish: 5th in Bundesliga
  • Domestic cup: Lost in round of 16

Path to the final ?

Reviewing how both teams got to Wembley:

Real Madrid

  • Group stage: First place in Group C
  • Round of 16: Beat RB Leipzig (2-1 on aggregate)
  • Quarterfinals: Beat Manchester City (4-3 on penalties)
  • Semifinals: Beat Bayern Munich (4-3 on aggregate)

Borussia Dortmund

  • Group stage: First place in Group F
  • Round of 16: Beat PSV Eindhoven (3-1 on aggregate)
  • Quarterfinals: Beat Atletico Madrid (5-4 on aggregate)
  • Semifinals: Beat PSG (2-0 on aggregate)

By the numbers ?

Raw statistics for the two finalists:

Real Madrid Borussia Dortmund
8-4-0 Record 7-3-2
26 Goals Scored 17
15 Goals Against 9
Joselu and Vinicius (5) Top Scorer Fullkrug (3)

Advanced metrics:

Real Madrid Borussia Dortmund
24 Expected Goals (xG) 15.1
15.4 xG Against 22.4
+8.6 xG Difference -7.3
+0.72 xG Difference per 90 -0.61

Tournament pedigree ?

Best European Cup finish for both clubs:

Real Madrid: Champions (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2022)

Real Madrid have reached the European Cup final 17 times heading into Saturday’s match, emerging victorious on 14 occasions. Their most recent appearance, in 2022, ended in a 1-0 win over Liverpool.

Borussia Dortmund: Champions (1997)

Dortmund have a much more modest record, having reached this stage twice before. Their last appearance, in 2013 under Jurgen Klopp, ended in a 2-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in a game that also took place at Wembley.

Fun facts ?

Michael Regan – UEFA / UEFA / Getty

0: This is the first time Real Madrid have reached a European Cup or Champions League final without losing a single match along the way in the competition. Overall, Madrid have lost just one game in 2024, a Copa del Rey defeat against rivals Atletico.

6: A Real Madrid victory would see Luka Modric and Dani Carvajal join club legend Paco Gento as the only players to feature in six European Cup final wins. Toni Kroos could also win the sixth title of his career, like his two teammates, but he missed the 2013 final with Bayern Munich due to injury.

8: Real Madrid have won each of their last eight Champions League finals. They haven’t lost a UEFA knockout final since 1983 when they fell to Sir Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen in the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

11: Borussia Dortmund’s last Champions League final was 11 years ago when they lost to German rivals Bayern. Mats Hummels and Marco Reus, who each played 90 minutes in that contest, get a shot at redemption Saturday.

27: If Dortmund emerge victorious, their 27-year gap between European Cup triumphs would be the fourth-longest in tournament history. The most agonizing wait belonged to Inter Milan, who went 45 years between hoisting the trophy in 1965 and 2010.

43: Real Madrid and Dortmund have met 14 times in European competition, combining for 43 goals; the high-scoring affairs have produced an average of 3.07 goals per game. The Champions League final has delivered cagey matches in recent years, with the last four editions finishing 1-0. Can these two sides reverse that trend?

What they’re saying ?

Ancelotti: “(Borussia Dortmund) deserve to be in the final … They are a very solid and close-knit team with great players. Their defensive display against Paris surprised me. We’re really happy to play in yet another final. The nerves will come, but we aim to let them come as late as possible. We have to seize this moment, this huge match, the most beautiful match of the year, and also the most beautiful to experience.”

Terzic: “It’s the biggest title you can win in club football. We’ve only managed it once in the club’s history, which also just shows how special this chance is for us. It’s not getting easier for us to be successful, and that’s why I think it would be a very special story to win. If you do it together, stick together, all think in the same direction, stay positive, show resilience and a lot of bravery, then you, too, can celebrate in the end.”

Prediction ?

Real Madrid 2, Borussia Dortmund 1

There’s something romantic about the prospect of Terzic, a lifelong Dortmund fan, leading his favorite club to Champions League glory as a coach. But sentimentality isn’t enough to pick against Real Madrid. Not in this competition. Not on this stage. This is “their” tournament, after all. Until someone discovers the antidote to ward off Real Madrid’s Champions League magic, we won’t believe it can actually be done.

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