Jun 3, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​Millennium Stadium
Real Madrid
Mandzukic (27')
Dybala (12'), Pjanic (66'), Sandro (70'), Cuadrado (72')
Cuadrado (84')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Ronaldo (20', 64'), Casemiro (62'), Asensio (90')
Ramos (31'), Carvajal (42'), Kroos (53')

Preview: Juventus vs. Real Madrid

Sports Mole previews the Champions League final in Cardiff between Juventus and Real Madrid.

Real Madrid head into Saturday's showdown with Juventus looking to become the first team to successfully retain the Champions League trophy.

Juventus have not won the competition since 1996 but having already overcome Barcelona on the way to the final in Cardiff, Massimiliano Allegri will be confident of making it a Spanish double.


Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri during the Serie A match against Roma on May 14, 2017© SilverHub

With Real, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid expected to continue their recent dominance in the competition, you could have got relatively big odds on Juventus winning this season's Champions League but the signs have always been there that they are ready to get their hands back on the trophy after more than two decades without success.

While Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann will always receive the plaudits, the famous Juventus backline has been the best in Europe for some time and the team as a whole are only now getting the recognition they deserves because their defensive sturdiness is being matched by flair in the final third.

Gonzalo Higuain is the man who will provide the majority of Juventus's goals but with Paulo Dybala being held in a higher esteem than 12 months ago, supporters around the world are now falling back in love with a team who have dominated Italian football over the past six years.

Dybala and Higuain have not necessarily been in the best form of late, but Allegri will take confidence from the fact that they have shown up in the big games, with Dybala mesmerising Barcelona in the last eight and Higuain effectively ending the last-four tie with Monaco before the end of the first leg.

The defence have been performing to such a standard where their contribution is taken for granted, and it is easy to see why with just three goals being conceded in this year's competition.

Given that you can add Lyon, Sevilla and Porto to the scalps of Barca and Monaco, it is an incredible achievement from Allegri but this is not a team who are coming to the end of their cycle under their manager, who is turning down offers in order to remain in Turin.

Defeat on Saturday will take plenty away from an otherwise exemplary campaign but win or lose, this is a club who are only going to get stronger at a time when they are considered by some to be the best all-round team on the continent.

Recent form: WWWDWW
Recent form (all competitions): DWLWWW

Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane watches on during the Champions League quarter-final between Real Madrid and Wolfsburg on April 12, 2016© Getty Images

Earlier in 2017, reports began to emerge that Zinedine Zidane was in danger of losing his job at the Bernabeu if the club failed to win either La Liga or retain the Champions League crown they won against Atletico Madrid last year.

While it did not necessarily come as a surprise to those aware of the culture at Real, it seemed a staggering possibility with the club legend being on the brink of potentially writing his name into the record books after an outstanding first full season in charge.

Real have been dealt a testing campaign, with Borussia Dortmund one of their opponents in the group stages and Napoli, Bayern Munich and city rivals Atletico being put in front of them from the last 16 onwards, and aside from losing away at Atletico when they had already established a three-goal advantage, they have dealt with the competitive contests without suffering defeat.

Ronaldo has scored 10 times in this year's competition and you would not back against him adding to that tally in south Wales, but as many as a dozen different players have gotten on the scoresheet in their 12 matches, even without Marcelo, Luka Modric and James Rodriguez netting any goals.

One factor which may be in Real's favour is their need to remain playing at a high intensity until the final weekend of the campaign with victory over Malaga being required to secure the La Liga title on May 21.

When kickoff comes around on Saturday, there would have been a 13-day gap since that triumph but there should be no doubts as to how motivated this team will be at the Principality Stadium.

It is well documented that no team has ever won the Champions League in successive years, but Real have not completed the league and European double since 1958. Victory on Saturday not only puts them among the greatest ever sides in their history, it would allow Zidane to continue along a path where he can be compared to the likes of Miguel Munoz and Vicente del Bosque.

Recent form: WWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWLWWW

Team News

Gareth Bale thinks he's scored during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Real Madrid on April 2, 2016© Getty Images

The one and only selection dilemma for Zidane appears to be whether to hand a fairytale recall to Gareth Bale or persist with the in-form Isco.

At a time when the Welsh superstar has been sidelined since April 23, Isco has provided two goals and three assists in his last six appearances.

Dani Carvajal is likely to start at right-back after recovering from a hamstring problem.

Allegri has no fitness concerns regarding any of his players, with Sami Khedira expected to take his place in midfield after making his return last weekend.

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alves, Sandro, Khedira, Pjanic, Dybala, Mandzukic, Higuain

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Isco, Ronaldo, Benzema

Head To Head

Saturday's final will represent the 19th time in which the two clubs have met in a competitive match, with both boasting eight victories apiece during that time.

Since 2013, there have been four fixtures with neither match being decided by more than one goal and both clubs recording one win each to go alongside two draws.

Their most recent clash came at the semi-final stage in 2015 when Alvaro Morata - then in the colours of Juventus - netted the decisive goal against his former and current employers.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Juventus 1-2 Real Madrid

While Juventus have already stifled Barcelona and Monaco, it is a tough ask to expect them to shut out Ronaldo and co on Saturday night. It would take a standout performance from either side for more than one goal to separate them at the end of 90 minutes, and we think Real will have enough in the tank to edge Juventus out in extra time.

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Real Madrid
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Carlo Ancelotti, coach of Real Madrid reacts during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 2, 2014
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