Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid – Champions League Final
Jaymes Monte previews the team news, stats, odds and reveals his best bets for one of the biggest Madrid derbies in history; Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final.
On the domestic front Real Madrid faltered dramatically in the closing stages to vanquish their title hopes. Draws against Valencia and Valladolid left Los Blancos off the pace, then a defeat to Celta Vigo in their penultimate La Liga fixture confirmed that the title would not be going to Carlo Ancelotti in his debut season as Real Madrid manager.
They did manage to pick up a win in their final game of the season against Espanyol to at least end the domestic season on a positive note, but arrive in Lisbon for the Champions League final with just one win in their last four games.
Cristiano Ronaldo has not played since being substituted after nine minutes of the game against Valladolid, but has scored five goals in the last three matches which he as played 90 minutes. And, aside from that Valladolid game, the Portuguese has scored in all but one of his last 13 appearances.
Atletico arrive in Portugal this weekend having claimed their first La Liga title since 1996 after a dramatic 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou last weekend. The result meant that Diego Simeone’s side won the title by three points from both Barcelona and Real Madrid.
As all three of the Spanish title contenders did, Atleti stumbled towards he finishing line picking up just two points from their final three matches. But the manner in which they clinched the title shows that this is a group of players that won’t freeze on the biggest of stages.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are both expected to be fit to play this Saturday evening, but there are major concerns regarding the fitness of both Pepe and Karim Benzema who each missed full training sessions earlier in the week. Xabi Alonso is unavailable due to suspension after picking up an unnecessary yellow card in the semi-final second leg.
Diego Simeone also has concerns over the fitness of two of his most important players. Both Diego Costa and Arda Turan limped off in the first half of the 1-1 draw at Barcelona and will each undergo late fitness tests. Costa travelled to Belgrade earlier in the week to see a specialist in a last-ditch attempt to overcome a grade one hamstring tear.
Atleti had the better of the two La Liga matches this season, winning 1-0 in the Santiago Bernabeu and drawing 2-2 at the Vicente Calderon. However, Real were dominant in the two-legged Copa Del Rey semi-final, completing a 5-0 aggregate win with a 2-0 victory away from home.
At odds-on prices of 20/23 I couldn’t be having a bet on Real to win the match in 90 minutes. Atleti represent good value at odds of 10/3, but the draw looks the best bet of the Match Odds at 5/2.
And despite previous meetings this season producing goals, I can see this being a low-scoring draw with both teams fully aware of the opposition’s strong points. 0-0 is priced at 15/2 and 1-1 is 11/2.
A set piece could well decide the outcome of this final and the man whose goal clinched the La Liga title, Diego Godin, is priced at odds of 7/1 to score anytime and 25/1 to get the opener.