One the eve of the Champions League final, Barcelona and Juventus have departed for Berlin and European football’s showpiece event at the Olympiastadion.Both sides touched down in the German capital on Friday morning, where they were greeted by branded team coaches and hordes of fans.
The Spanish champions and their lethal front three of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar take on Italian counterparts who have Gianluigi Buffon, Paul Pogba and Andrea Pirlo in their ranks, both sides chasing a treble after winning their domestic cups as well as leagues.Luis Enrique’s Catalan giants are chasing their fourth Champions League trophy in what will be veteran midfielder Xavi’s final game for the club after 17 years at the Nou Camp.
Barca have already tasted La Liga glory, pipingClasico rivals Real Madrid to the title by two points, and lifted the Copa del Rey after defeating Athletic Bilbao in the final at the Nou Camp.It represents just under half the tally Barca’s front three have plundered between them, with Messi,Neymar and Luis Suarez hitting 120 goals prior to the Champions League final.Juve’s task to keep them quiet has been made that little bit more difficult, with influential centre half Giorgio Chiellini ruled out with a training injury.
Juve, who eliminated Barca’s arch-rivals Real Madrid in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite club competition, have also enjoyed a successful season undercoachMassimilianoAllegri in his first year at the club. Juventus, who are appearing in their first final for 12 years, are bidding for their third Champions League trophy. The Italian champions won the domestic double for the first time since the 1994/1995 campaign.
Buffon is in the twilight of his career and the closest he has come to lifting the trophy was in 2003, when Juventus were beaten on penalties by AC Milan at Old Trafford.The Juventus captain waved to supporters as he stepped off the team bus and headed for the hotel.
Former Manchester United striker Tevez, has been imperious for Juventus all season and the 31-year-old will spearhead the attack against Barcelona.Arturo Vidal and Pirlo were snapped arriving together. Alongside Pogba, their task on Saturday will be to overturn a midfield consisting of Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
The Champions League final is the pinnacle of a footballer’s club career and any player set to make their first appearance in the encounter could be forgiven for feeling a little bit nervous in the build up.