Never in the history of football has a club become so obsessed with winning a title as Real Madrid have with the eagerly anticipated La Decima. Prior to this, Madrid had not participated in a final for over 11 years. They came close on 3 other occasions losing to Bayern, Borrusia Dortmund and Barcelona – I guess fourth time's a charm — Only 90 minutes stands between Real Madrid and their long awaited 10th European title.
Real Madrid have already done one better than last season as they have won a title at least under Carlo Ancelotti, something they could not manage to do under Jose Mourinho the year before. Although the Italian manager or The Eyebrow as he is known had been criticised for selling vital players like Mesut Ozil and Gonzalo Higuain. He has however managed to balance the squad and doing his best to give playing time to the youngsters from La Castilla.
This was a match-up made in heaven, only a Clasico final could have topped this fixture. Two teams from the same city are battling, not only for city bragging right but continental bragging rights.
Journey to the Final
Real Madrid enjoyed one of their best seasons in the UEFA Champions league in recent years. Eliminating 3 German teams and scoring 17 goals in the process, keeping 2 clean sheets and only conceding 4 goals. Their most remarkable performance however, came in the semi-final where they met bitter rivals, Bayern Munich, who crushed Madridistas dreams in 2012.
Key Players: Real Madrid
Has scored a record breaking 16 goals in this year's competition outdoing his Catalan rival Leo Messi. He has collected the Golden Boot and Pichichi and will be looking to play a big part in his first final this season.
Has settled in very well in Madrid and has proved his critics wrong. He has become a fan favourite and with Xabi out, his experience will be vital in stabilizing the nerves of the midfield. Although he hasn't assisted or scored a great deal, he has been very influential setting up the attacks from deep in the midfield. The pass master will be looking to feed the "BBC" with those familiar killer passes on the night.
What? Yes!, Illara will have to be on his best behavior on the night if he is picked to play in the holding position – which we believe he will since he is the "obvious replacement" for suspended Xabi Alonso. Every move he makes will be closely scrutinized and his performance may determine whether Madrid win the match or not.
Atlético Madrid, meanwhile, style themselves in opposition to the aristocrats, as the club of the working class. Los Colchoneros have only been to one European Cup final, in 1974, and they lost; they would love nothing more than to achieve history by ruining their greatest rival's party.
Domestically they have been outstanding, outperforming both Real Madrid and Barcelona to win the most interesting Liga BBVA campaign we have seen in a really long time. All praise to Diego Simeone and his men for making it these far in the competition and setting up a great showdown in Lisbon.
Key Players: Atlético Madrid
Remember the last final that involved these two teams? Courtois was the reason why Real Madrid did not secure the title that evening and he will be glad to so again if Madrid aren't clinical in their finishing.
An unsung hero of the title winning Atlético Madrid. Has improved a great bit this season under Simeone. Not only is he defending with great authority, he is also scoring some vital goals including the one that sealed the title at the Camp Nou
His heroics this season have seen him get called cup for the national side that will play in Brazil next month. He was at the heart of his team's attacks and he managed to rank up 18 assists scoring 7 of his own. His talents to orchestrated the midi fled will be very vital on the night.