Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid Preview

UEFA Champions League Final | Saturday 24 May | Estádio da Luz, Lisbon | 20:45




For the first time ever, two clubs from the same city will contest European football’s top prize as Real Madrid face fierce rivals Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final in Lisbon.

Real Madrid are the most successful side in the history of the European Cup, having been winners on nine previous occasions. In contrast to their bitter rivals, Atletico have never claimed European football's top prize, despite their rich history in European competition.

To Win (90mins)
Real Madrid 9/10 
Draw 24/10 
Atletico Madrid 3/1

REAL MADRID

Real Madrid qualified for the Champions League final by thrashing Bayern Munich 4-0 in Germany in the second leg of their semi-final to progress 5-0 on aggregate.

Two first-half headers by Sergio Ramos and two more goals by Cristiano Ronaldo gave Madrid a comprehensive win against the defending champions that saw them into their first Champions League final since 2002 as they look to lift the trophy for the 10th time in their history.

Real are finally playing like an all-star team unchained under Carlo Ancelotti after the issue-filled Jose Mourinho era. There are concerns for Ancelotti’s side as they will be without midfielder Xabi Alonso.

The Spaniard will miss the Champions League final, after his appeal over a ban due to yellow card accumulation was denied by UEFA.

Alonso was booked for the 3rd time in Madrid’s 2nd leg Champions League semi-final rout over Bayern and is likely to be replaced by Asier Illarramendi.

The man to watch will no doubt be Ronaldo. The talisman has registered 12 goals in 13 appearances in all competitions against Atletico, scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 Liga win on 11 April 2012.

If Atletico are to stop their rivals push for a 10th title, then the dominant Portuguese forward will need to be stopped.

But with his explosive long-range shooting, clinical finishing ability in the penalty area, devastating pace and all-round trickery, it's much easier said than done.

Madrid have won ten – including seven of the last eight – and drawn one of their UEFA Champions League matches this season.

Their sole defeat was a 2-0 reverse at Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-final second leg. Iker Casillas will retain his place in goal after proving his worth for Los Blancos this season.

Spain’s number one has played 24 matches in total against Atletico Madrid and never lost. After losing out on the La Liga title to their opponents, Ancelotti’s side will be eager to claim the Champions League trophy with a memorable victory over their city rivals.

How they got there
Galatasaray 1-6 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 4-0 Copenhagen
Real Madrid 2-1 Juventus
Juventus 2-2 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 4-1 Galatasaray
Copenhagen 0-2 Real Madrid
Schalke 1-6 Real Madrid (Last 16)
Real Madrid 3-1 Schalke (Agg: 2-9)
Real Madrid 3-0 Dortmund (Quarter-final)
Dortmund 2-0 Real Madrid (Agg: 2-3)
Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern (Semi-final)
Bayern 0-4 Real Madrid (Agg: 0-5)

ATLETICO MADRID

Atletico Madrid rallied for a dramatic 1-1 draw at Barcelona last Saturday to secure their first Spanish league title in 18 years.

Atletico overcame two first half injuries to Diego Costa and Arda Turan, and a stunning goal from Alexis Sanchez, to earn a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou.

Defender Diego Godin was the hero, heading home an equalizer early in the second half that secured the point, and the championship.

Atletico will now turn their attention to the UEFA Champions League trophy as they take on their city rivals in the quest to get the double.

The last time they won a league and cup double was back in the 1995/96 season claiming the Copa del Rey along with the La Liga title.

Atleti remain the only unbeaten side in the Champions League with Real Madrid suffering their only loss to Dortmund in their second leg quarter final clash.

In the semi-final, Atletico’s attack showed their worth by finally breaking through Chelsea’s stubborn defence to win comfortably, 3-1.

Their star striker Costa notched his eighth Champions League goal in eight games from the penalty spot and will be the main threat to Madrid’s goal should he recover a hamstring injury suffered against Barcelona last weekend.

Diego Simeone has drilled a magnificent ethic into his team, punching above their weight and setting the combative tone.

Champions Atletico will be confident heading into the final against their biggest rivals as they’ve won at Real’s home stadium and drew in their last two league meetings.

Atletico have won nine matches and drawn three in this season's competition and have not lost in 13 European fixtures.

The main reason why Atletico is surging right now is largely due to the dynamic striking abilities of Costa.

The Brazilian born Spain international has undoubtedly been Atletico’s biggest threat this season.

He has netted 27 goals this campaign with only Lionel Messi (28) and Ronaldo (31) higher on the score charts.

Strong as an ox, quick, excellent with his back to goal and intelligent in his lateral movement, Atletico will need him fit and at his best if they're to trouble Madrid's backline.

Another player who has been influential is Koke, the young Spanish midfielder has played 34 games for his club this season, scoring six goals and has 13 assists to his credit.

He has the ability to bring the ball up with speed, and somehow makes his way up the field as the only man left ahead of the keeper.

Midfielders Arda Turan and Raul Garcia (four goals each) have also chipped in with important goals all season.

While Los Rojiblancos do have men to hurt Real going forward, their rock solid defence rarely concede cheap goals.

Their organisation and defensive resolve has been the bedrock of the club's revival since Simeone took charge two-and-a-half years ago.

Atletico do have all the weapons in their armoury to beat Real Madrid but they will need to be at their utmost best and hope Costa aswell as Turin are passed fit.

How they got there
Atletico 3-1 Zenit
Porto 1-2 Atletico
Austria Wien 0-3 Atletico
Atletico 4-0 Austria Wien
Zenit 1-1 Atletico
Atletico 2-0 Porto
Milan 0-1 Atletico (Last 16)
Atletico 4-1 Milan (Agg: 5-1)
Barcelona 1-1 Atletico (Quarter-final)
Atletico 1-0 Barcelona (Agg: 2-1)
Atletico 0-0 Chelsea (Semi-final)
Chelsea 1-3 Atletico (Agg: 1-3)

Betting Prediction: ATLETICO MADRID 3/1
Atletico Madrid have been outstanding this season. Many sceptics have been won over with their fighting spirit and consistency. It’s fair to say they’ve been the best team in the league edging both Barcelona and Real to the Spanish title. We’re in for an incredible final as these fierce sides despise each other. With Alonso ruled out of the final and the inexperienced Illarramendi or the unfit Sami Khedira set to come in, Madrid will be weakened in midfield and could be overpowered by Atletico’s midfield engine. Atletico Madrid are fearless and after winning the league they will be confident going into this match. Back Atletico to reign supreme with a memorable night in Lisbon.

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

Bet on this match now at Hollywoodbets.net! Haven’t got an account? Open one here now!