2015 European Champions League Final

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2015 Final

The biggest match in club football, this year’s European Champions League final, is between the champions of Spain and Italy. In a classic bout of offence versus defence Barcelona play Juventus on Saturday 6th June 2015 in Berlin’s Olympiastadion (19.45). The Racing Horse asks the most pertinent, without divine intervention to assist them, how can Juventus possibly beat Barcelona?

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The answer is they cannot! The second question is does 8/13 represent value? The answer is yes! See latest betting. No matter how we view the match we cannot envisage the Italians winning this game. It is enough to say that one team contains the best front three of all time?

Tactics

From a tactical point of view some have tried to play a high line against Barcelona, while others have dropped deep. Some have relied on set-pieces, while others have utilised the counter-attack but whatever Juventus attempt they look certain to fall short and ultimately fail! They are will not fail because they are below standard they will fail because of the difference!

Opta data emphasises the differentials!

The Opta data emphasises/highlights the differentials between the two sides. Barcelona have enjoyed the majority of possession in every La Liga game they have played this season. In fact, they have averaged 70% of possession domestically and 61 per cent in Europe. As a result, even the Italian double winners might have to just accept they will not be seeing much of the ball this weekend.

Javi Gracia creates the template that Juventus must use!

GraciaIn February, mid-table Malaga won 1-0 at Barcelona despite enjoying just 27% of possession. The more telling statistic was that both teams had 11 shots on goal with Malaga managing three shots on target compared to Barcelona’s four. Malaga boss Javi Gracia told us: “You have to control the game through good defensive work, not through possession, because you cannot do that against Barcelona. The player who wins the ball back must play it forward immediately, to bypass their initial press. The forwards must be waiting for that moment, to offer themselves in the spaces we know will be there if their full-backs are pushed forward. If you do not break and hold the ball against Barcelona, you never get out. They have possession, possession, possession, and in the end you are exhausted – and then you are in trouble.” The description by Gracia is exact and should be a template of sorts for teams that oppose Barcelona.

Importance of pressing

Barcelona’s powers of possession mean that being able to win the ball is everything. During their defeat to Paris St Germain in September, Barca recorded the lowest duel success rate (43%) in their Champions League run this season. Barcelona only won 49 duels during the entire game which was their lowest in this season’s campaign. It was not a coincidence but rather a product of PSG’s pressing.

Guillem Balague confirmed the words of Garcia

Guillem Balague confirmed the words of Gracia saying: “Everybody defended very compact with two lines of four and then they had very fast players up front to counter-attack and use the space that Barca leave behind their defence. There was pressure high but when they couldn’t recover the ball early, PSG tracked back as a team.”

Natural offence versus natural defence

The Champions League final will match Juventus’ solid defence against the most prolific attacking side in the history of world football, with the Barcelona trio of Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi and Neymar Junior recently becoming the highest-scoring trio in a single season in Spanish football history. Messi, currently the undisputed best player on the planet, has been involved in 99 Champions League goals (77 scored and 22 assists), and it is only natural that the four-time Ballon d'Or winner would save his century for the grandest stage of all.

So it is obvious that getting the balance right is the only chance any opposition has of beating Barca. The balance between defence and attack is essential and you will need luck to accompany it, lots of it. There should be no space or time afforded in the final third of the pitch for Barca and compactness and alertness are vital bonding components to hold the performance together! If Barcelona score first one cannot imagine how Juventus will get back into the game without leaving themselves open to more goals.

The injured Giorgio Chiellini will be sorely missed

Juventus is a team that understands and reads the flow of the game, they will know if they are to win the game they will have to attack at times. They will miss injured Giorgio Chiellini but have the discipline to defend, but if they have the possibility to attack they will go forward. Counter-attacking Barca is always possible and their only hope especially with the attacking full-backs up the field. Apart from a set-piece this is the only weak area. The opposition can plan because it is guaranteed that Barcelona will attack!

Lionel Messi to be the first to net in three UEFA Champions League Finals!

Juventus, appearing in their first final in 12 years, are seeking a third European crown at the expense of a Barcelona side with their sights set on a fifth title – and fourth in the past decade. The final analysis suggests a comfortable win for Barcelona and Messi and Saurez likely to score. Should Lionel Messi score he will become the first player to find the net in three UEFA Champions League Finals. Should Juventus lose this final they will become the first team to be defeated in four EUFA Champions League finals following reverses in 1997, 1998 and 2003. We think those historical references will later be logged as fact!

Prediction: Barcelona 3 Juventus 1

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