Two of Europe’s biggest names meet in the Champions League final this Saturday as Juventus face Barcelona at Berlin's Olympiastadion. Both teams go into the final vying to complete the treble, a feat that has only been fulfilled four times in the past fifteen years.
Juventus booked their place in the final by defeating Real Madrid 3-2 on aggregate, whilst Barcelona beat Bayern Munich 5-3, after being 3-2 down in the first leg.
For both coaches, victory in Berlin would be the perfect finish to outstanding debut seasons. Under Luis Enrique, Barcelona secured the La Liga title and more recently the Copa del Rey, defeating Athletico Madrid 3-1.
Massimiliano Allegri’s men have also been in officious form, having claimed Serie A by 17 points with five games remaining whilst Alessandro Matri's extra-time winner sealed a 2-1 victory against SS Lazio in the Coppa Italia.
Both sides have lost two matches on route to the final and in the process Barcelona have scored an impressive 28 goals in comparison to Juventus’ 16. Lionel Messi will seek to become the leading goalscorer in the Champions League by surpassing the current record he shares with Cristiano Ronaldo of 77.
Juventus vs Barcelona combined XI
Juventus vs Barcelona combined XI
1/11 GK: Gianluigi Buffon
The veteran keeper, 37, is still one of the world's best and has again been a mountain of strength for Juventus this season. The Champions League is just about the only medal missing from his glittering career. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen is a huge talent, but has a long way to go to reach Buffon.
2/11 RB: Dani Alves
It seems odd that Barcelona would get rid of their rampaging full-back, his bursts forward from the right have been a signature of the team's style since 2008. Stephan Lichtsteiner provides a similar role for Juve (in both style and temper) but isn't close to the Brazilian's level.
3/11 CB: Leonardo Bonucci
Just look back to his towering performances in the two semi-finals against Real Madrid for evidence that he is among the elite in his position. Bonucci is a ferocious defender and without Giorgio Chiellini, will need to be even better to keep out Barcelona. Javier Mascherano has again been utterly superb for Luis Enrique's team, but Bonucci gets the slightest of nods.
4/11 CB: Gerard Pique
After a period out of the team and seemingly more interested in his fame off the pitch, Pique has returned to his perch as one of the world's best. Perfect for this team, his only weakness is a slight lack of pace. Andrea Barzagli is an extremely willing defender, but is on the decline at 34 and may not have played but for Chiellini's injury.
5/11 LB: Jordi Alba
Patrice Evra remains as strong-willed a competitor as there is in football, but he is ageing and not the force he once was. Alba on the suffers appears a bit of a weak link, but he is lightning quick when recovering and a canny defender. Would probably play as a winger in lesser teams such is his talent as an attacker.
6/11 CM: Andrea Pirlo
A hard decision between the ugly necessity of Barca spoiler Sergio Busquets and the majestic beauty of Andrea Pirlo - that's a serious point, Barca couldn't function without their No 5. But Pirlo is just so good on the ball, so brilliant a passer that he has to be in the team, even though he can't run.
7/11 CM: Arturo Vidal
Many people will plump for Paul Pogba in this spot and there is a huge case to be made for the Frenchman, probably the best young player in the world. But whilst Pogba is the future, the tenacious, maniacal Vidal is the present. He absolutely never, ever gives up and gets around the pitch so much there seems to be more than one of him. Not only does he lead this team with his work rate, he makes up for Pirlo's age and also has great talent on the ball.
8/11 CM: Andres Iniesta
The little master is an automatic choice, even if some think he has fallen down a level in the last 18 months. He still possesses the ability to go past a player and find that killer ball like no other - it may not show up in the assist or goal charts but Iniesta is the man that makes this team tick. Ivan Rakitic has been excellent for Barca this season as well.
9/11 FW: Lionel Messi
Nothing to say beyond perfection.
10/11 FW: Luis Suarez
After some teething problems (mind the pun) at Barcelona, the striker has settled in so well at the Nou Camp, revolutionising the way the team plays. He works as any player in world football and has an unselfishness that has allowed both Messi and Neymar to flourish again.
11/11 FW: Carlos Tevez
It would be very tempting and perfectly reasonable to keep Barca's front three together but Juventus will live and die in the final with Tevez. He is the soul of the Old Lady and their first option. Neymar is a stunning talent, of course and the trio have 120 goals (!) between them this season - direct your fury in the comments box below, if you so wish.
The final will see two very conflicting styles come head to head, as Barcelona’s 120 goal trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez, face an Italian side full of experienced professionals that are defensively astute with a potent Carlos Tevez in the ranks.
The pair will meet for the first time in the final of the Champions League, with Juventus seeking a third European crown at the expense of a Barcelona side hoping to claim their fifth.
Barcelona 1 (Xavi), Juventus 2 (Nedved, Zalayeta), Champions League Quarter-Final, March 2003
Juventus 1 (Montero), Barcelona 1 (Xavi), Champions League Quarter-Final, March 2003
Kick-off: Saturday, 7.45pm
Juventus have lost their last three Champions League finals, after winning on penalties against Ajax in 1995/96.
Barcelona have won only two of the eight European meetings against Juventus (D2, L4).
Barcelona will play a Champions League final for the fourth time since 2006 - more than any other team in the same period.
Lionel Messi has scored in the two Champions League finals he has played so far (2009 and 2011), both times in the second half.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL: FIVE BEST BETS
Patrice Evra could become the second player to take the field in Champions League final with three different teams (Monaco, Manchester United and Juventus).
With Messi and Neymar, for the first time in Champions League history a team has two players with 9+ goals scored in a single Champions League season.
Juventus to win: 6.2
Barcelona to win: 1.64
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