UEFA Champions League: Real are favourites, but who gets best farewell between Kroos, Reus?

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UEFA Champions League: Real are favourites, but who gets best farewell between Kroos, Reus?

 

The 2023/24 UEFA Champions League final, featuring Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, will be held at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, 1st June.

 

While Real Madrid, led by Carlo Ancelotti, enter as the favourites because of their unbeaten run in this season’s tournament and their pedigree as 14-time champions, Dortmund has defied expectations and reached their third final through surprising performances.

 

Football, however, is known for its unpredictability. Matches are not always determined by dominant performances, as seen in the 2012 Champions League final, where Bayern Munich outplayed Chelsea. The Bavarians had 23 goal attempts, while Chelsea had just six. Bayern scored what they thought was the winning goal in the 83rd minute, but Chelsea equalised two minutes to the end. Bayern had a penalty in extra time which former Chelsea forward Arjen Robben missed, and then lost in the penalty shoot-out.

 

This serves as a reminder that the underdogs, Borussia Dortmund, can still triumph against the odds in the upcoming final.

 

Real Madrid’s squad is valued at over $1 billion, while their German opponents come in at just over $500 million. Players like Vinicius Junior, and Jude Bellingham, are mentioned as future Ballon d’Or winners in a team that is being built to dominate in the coming years. But Dortmund, in exceeding many people’s expectations, have some match-winners in their fold. Jadon Sancho has rebuilt his reputation, while Niclas Füllkrug has scored some crucial goals.

 

Wins over PSG and Atletico Madrid showed Edin Terzić’s nous as a coach who can devise strategies to limit better opponents.

 

Dortmund have become a club of near misses in recent years. They lost the 2022/23 Bundesliga season on the last day, though they have become a more resilient bunch as the 2023/24 season has worn on. The UEFA website describes them thus: “Against Paris, they showed that they have grown into a close-knit unit throughout the season–a unit that doesn’t need many chances to make their mark.”

 

Both German players have been cultured footballers, but while Kroos has won everything there is to win, Reus has won just the DFB Pokal and the DFL Supercup. He was in the Dortmund squad that lost that 2013 Champions League final to Bayern Munich and what better way to sign off from his club of 13 years than helping his side to a famous win over the 14-time champions?

 

For Kross, leaving the game at 34, at the very pinnacle, says a lot about the kind of football player he has been since he signed his first professional contract with Bayern Munich in 2008.

 

A player of a determined mind, Kroos has always planned his destiny. His trophies read like a museum.

 

Bundesliga titles with Bayern in 2008, 2013, and 2014; three DFB-Pokal titles, the DFL-Supercup in 2012, UEFA Champions League in 2013; the 2013 UEFA Super Cup, and the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup.

 

After transferring to Real Madrid in 2014, he won La Liga in 2017, 2020, 2022, and this season. There is one Copa del Rey title in 2023; four Supercopa de Espana titles, and the biggest club accolade, the UEFA Champions League, four times, with a possibility of a fifth at Wembley on 1 June.

 

He has also won the UEFA Super Cup three times and another five FIFA Club World Cup titles. He was the midfield maestro that helped Germany win the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

 

The stage is set, but which player will get the better send-forth? The match kicks off at 8 p.m

 

Via Premium Times

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