Ten months after the first qualifying rounds for the UEFA Champions League and we now know our finalists. FC Barcelona will face Juventus in the showpiece event to be held in Berlin on June 6. Barcelona is the hot favorite for this year’s title, having won the competition three between 2006 and 2011.
It is five long years since FC Internazionale became European Champions following superb displays in the 2010 semi-finals against Barcelona—a team which many experts and supporters argue was the greatest club side ever—and defeating FC Bayern Munich in the final. Despite inheriting an ageing group of players, and being charged with the task of refreshing and rebooting Barelona’s squad, current coach Luis Enrique is well on the way to emulating one of Guardiola’s achievements.
It helps, of course, that one Lionel Messi continues to pull the strings on the pitch. The “treble” is the rare phenomenon of a soccer club winning three major titles in one season: their domestic league title, the domestic knockout cup competition, and the UEFA Champions League. Both finalists have a chance to complete this feat in 2015 and tickets are in high demand to witness the event. Barcelona achieved the distinction in 2011 and Enrique’s side, having recently triumphed as this year’s La Liga champions and reached the final of the Copa Del Rey, are already on the road to doing it again.
Standing in their way is Inter’s eternal rivals in Serie A—Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus side. Juve last won the UCL in 1996 and last appeared in the final in 2003, when they lost to AC Milan on penalties at Old Trafford, Manchester. Since then, they suffered the ignominy of relegation in 2006 to Serie B for their part in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal and returned to Serie A in 2007. Juve have already been crowned champions of Italy in 2015, which is the fourth successive season.
Last Wednesday they beat Lazio in the Coppa Italia final thus becoming the first Italian team to have ten Coppa Italia wins. La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady) boast a squad which is built around the powerful midfield pairing of Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal, with the evergreen and dynamic Carlos Tevez providing a potent attacking threat. Inter might not even feature in next season’s UEFA Champions League—that is a mountain which must be climbed another day. However, the nerazzuri around the world will be watching with interest the outcome of Europe’s biggest soccer match, which features an Italian club for the first time since Inter’s triumph. Considering the rivalry between Inter and Juventus it is a fair guess that most Inter fans will be hoping for Barcelona to win the final.
Will you watch the final? Any predictions or hopes? Share them with us in the comment section!