Extra time is likely in this weekend’s Champions League final as two of Europe’s heavyweights slug it out in what should be a thrilling conclusion to the season.
Who do Bettors Favor?
The Champions League final betting markets at the best online sportsbook sites show that the 2019 tournament winners Liverpool are the big favorites to win this competition for the seventh time. They are rated as +110 with most sportsbooks, while the Spanish giants Real Madrid are priced at +240, and the normal time draw is available at +260
Route To the Champions League Final
Both teams came through the Group stage with little difficulty. Liverpool won all six games, while Real Madrid won five. But in the knock-out stages, the two teams had vastly different experiences.
Liverpool’s toughest game was against the reigning Serie A champions Internazionale, but a 2-0 win in Milan set up the win for Jurgen Klopp’s side, who then beat Benfica in the quarter-finals and the weakest of the last four qualifiers, Villarreal, in the semi-finals.
By contrast, Real were pitched against one of the early season favorites for the competition, PSG, in the Round of 16. They were 2-0 down on aggregate with half an hour left of the second leg when Karim Benzema produced a stunning hat-trick to take them through. Benzema again came to the rescue in the quarter-final against Chelsea, scoring four goals over two legs to seal a close-fought fixture.
Their most dramatic success came in the semi-finals against overwhelming favorites Manchester City. Trailing 4-3 after the first leg, Real were 1-0 down in Madrid but found two goals in injury time, followed by another extra-time strike from Benzema to reach the final.
Real Madrid and Liverpool Champions League History
Liverpool and Real Madrid are two of the giants of European football and, not surprisingly, are ranked towards the top of the list of Champions League success.
Real’s record of success in this competition goes all the way back to 1956 when it was known as the European Cup. They have won it 13 times overall and seven since it was re-launched as the Champions League. They also have an impressive conversion rate, earning their 13 wins from 16 final appearances.
Liverpool have reached the final of this tournament nine times, winning it on six occasions, the latest two victories coming in 2005 and 2019. Their golden era in the European Cup game in the late 1970s/early 1980s, when they won it four times between 1977 and 1984.
The head-to-head record between these two is pretty even. Real edge it 4-3 with one tie, and they also won their most recent high profile fixtures, in last year’s two-legged quarter-final and in the final of the 2018 Champions League, when two goals from Gareth Bale delivered them a 3-1 success.
Which Team is the Best Bet in the Champions League Final?
Liverpool’s bid for a historic quadruple was ended in characteristically dramatic fashion at the weekend when they fell short of winning the Premier League by just one point; so much could depend on how well they recover from that disappointment at the end of a long, hard season.
Klopp’s powers of motivation, as well as his team’s reputation for never giving less than 100%, suggest that it would be unwise to assume any drop-off in Liverpool’s performance levels here, so their main problem will be to find a way to beat a team that apparently doesn’t know when they are beaten.
Karim Benzema’s vast experience, skill, and fighting qualities have a lot to do with that, and, win or lose on Saturday, he will probably be remembered as the player of the tournament. But the tactical shrewdness of manager Carlo Ancelotti also plays a huge part. The first man to win all five of the big European leagues (England, Italy, Spain, Germany, and France), he has also won this tournament three times and will set a new record if Real prevails this weekend.
He has also created a resilient, reliable line-up. With Benzema, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, and Casemiro supported by the flair of widemen Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, they have all the tools to come through any situation, and their ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat is remarkable.
Everything is in place for a thrilling end-to-end encounter between two compelling teams and a fitting end to the European season. Given the drama that both clubs have produced this season, I’m expecting more of the same, and I think it will take extra time to separate them.
Champions League Final Other Market Pick
Finals can be cagey affairs, with neither side wanting to risk a mistake, but this one may be different. Both teams are used to playing in this type of game, and neither is renowned for their defensive football. Liverpool will go at this all guns blazing as usual, while Real’s strength is in their ability to come back and win from almost any position. There will surely be goals in this game, so the Overplay looks like a solid wager in the Over/Under 2.5 goals market.
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