Champions League Final Preview 2014

pepe Champions league final preview

The Champions League Final gets underway in Lisbon this Saturday night as Real Madrid take on newly-crowned La Liga Champions Atletico Madrid and we have the follow offers in place:

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Match News…..

Real have been handed a boost ahead of the Champions League final with the news Pepe should be fit to face Atletico Madrid.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side are still playing out the final games of their La Liga campaign as they hope for their city rivals and leaders to slip up and give them a slight chance of winning the title.

However following the disappointing 1-1 draw at Real Valladolid on Wednesday, which has left Real four points adrift with two games remaining, their focus has started to switch towards the European final against Diego Simeone’s side at Estadio Da Luz in Lisbon on 24th May.

And after losing influential centre-back Pepe to a grade one tear in his calf during the Valladolid match, it was feared the Portugal international would not be fit to face Atletico in just under a fortnight.

However Spanish daily Marca is reporting that the Madrid medical staff have issued a positive update on Sunday and they fully expect him to be available for Los Blancos.

While Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are expected to be available, Diego Costa and Arda Turan are major doubts…

Concerns that the Champions League Final would be missing its most glamorous participants have been calmed by Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, who is adamant that Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will both start despite missing Tuesday’s first-team training session.

Yet while that is great news for the favourites and neutrals who want to see at least one of the teams at full strength in Lisbon, it is the last thing that Atletico Madrid needed to hear as they struggle to get their stars fit.

German Burgos-sized question marks remain over whether Atletico’s top goalscorer Diego Costa and lock-picker Arda Turan will recover in time from injuries that forced them off in the first 23 minutes of their La Liga title decider at Barcelona. The early signs aren’t encouraging for the 2.88 outsiders.

There are at least a few positive omens for the unlikely Spanish champions. They haven’t lost any of the eight La Liga or Champions League matches that Costa didn’t start this season, and got the result they required at Camp Nou last week even after the crushing double blow of Costa and Turan’s exits.

However, Atletico had Barcelona’s number all campaign long, losing none of their six meetings, and had the luxury of knowing a draw would suffice. Diego Simeone’s men lack that kind ofpsychological edge over their neighbours having drawn once and suffered two defeats in their last three clashes.

The prospect of a Bale and Ronaldo reunion should also frighten Atletico. The destructive duo played a combined nine minutes in the double header that ultimately cost them the title – a 1-1 draw at Valladolid and 0-2 reverse at Celta Vigo – and started together in just two of Real’s last 11 games.

When they do operate in tandem, magic happens though, with the Ballon d’Or winner in particular benefitting from the Welsh winger’s presence, scoring on each of the last 12 occasions that they have both started. The Portuguese great is 2.16 to net in 90 minutes in his capital city.

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