One team is confirmed as a Champions League finalist, so now it’s time to find out who will join Juventus in Cardiff.
Real Madrid seems to be the easy choice as they hold a 3-0 lead heading across town to the Vicente Calderon at 2:45 p.m. ET. It is the final time the stadium will host the Madrid derby before Atletico moves to Estadio La Peineta in the summer.
That three-goal lead for Madrid is monstrous, given both Madrid’s world-beating attacking threat and Atletico’s struggles to score this season, especially in European competition. The club has scored more than two goals in a Champions League match only once this campaign, a wild 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen away from home.
The real difficulty for Atletico will be looking to attack for three goals while not giving up any at the other end. After being shut out on the road, just one away goal for Real would mean the hosts would then need five goals to advance. A clean sheet is a must.
“If they score the tie is even more difficult,” said Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez, “but a goal in the first half would give us a lot of strength and could make them nervous.”
History, though, has not been kind to Atletico. Real Madrid has eliminated them from the Champions League in the last three seasons. Two were in the final, but the one that featured a game at the Vicente Calderon saw a 0-0 first-leg draw. Juventus is looking for an opponent, and while history is likely to repeat itself, a comeback for the ages would be quite the way to send out the old, storied stadium.