2021-22 UEFA Champions League Final Preview

2021-22 UEFA Champions League Final Preview

May 27, 2022

After nearly a year and a breathtaking season, we have finally arrived at the showdown event for the grandest tournament in the world of club football, the UEFA Champions League. 

Two teams, both with glorious history behind them, Liverpool and Real Madrid, are set to face off in the Final at the home of the France national football team, the Stade de France, in Paris on Saturday.  

Also Read – UEFA Champions League Sponsors 2021-22

  • Jürgen Klopp has transformed Liverpool into an impeccable force since his arrival at the club in October 2015. They are set to play a third Champions League Final in five seasons, which clearly demonstrates the unstoppable force they have become. 
  • Liverpool’s Champions League campaign kick-started when they were drawn in Group B—a rather difficult group—alongside Atlético Madrid, Porto and AC Milan. 
  • They went on to qualify for the Round of 16 in a comfortable fashion as they became the only English team in this year’s competition to win all six of their Group Stage games. 
  • The Reds then advanced to the Quarter-final stage by beating last season’s Serie A winners Inter Milan with a narrow aggregate win of 2-1. 
  • They then outplayed Benfica 3-1 in Lisbon in the first leg of their Quarter-final, which was followed by a 3-3 draw at home courtesy of two late goals from the Portuguese side. 
  • Unai Emery’s Villarreal awaited Liverpool in the Semi-final, a tie everyone thought would be an easy ticket to the Final for the English club. However, after enjoying a thumping 2-0 victory at home in the first leg, Liverpool had to come from two goals down in Spain and eventually succeeded in qualifying for the Final by defeating Villareal 3-2 in the second leg, winning the tie 5-2 on aggregate.

  • Real Madrid, on the other hand, were drawn in Group D with Inter Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sheriff Tiraspol. 
  • Los Blancos began their Champions League journey with a 1-0 away victory at the San Siro against Inter. However, their second game stunned the competition as they fell prey to FC Sheriff at the Santiago Bernabéu, losing 2-1. They did, however, manage to qualify for the Round of 16 by finishing top of Group D, winning five of their six games. 
  • Real Madrid played Paris Saint-Germain in their Round of 16 clash. They succumbed to a 1-0 defeat in the first leg, and just as things were starting to fall apart for them during the second leg at home, with them losing the game 1-0 by the end of the first half, a quick-fire Karim Benzema hattrick turned things around and flew them to the Quarter-final. 
  • In the quarters, they played Chelsea, who had knocked them out in the Semi-final last season en route to their second Champions League triumph in nine years. RMA managed to get their revenge as they went on to win the tie 5-4 after Extra-time at the end of the two legs. 
  • They then faced Premier League champions Manchester City in the Semi-final. They succumbed to an entertaining 4-3 defeat in the first leg in England. They were almost done and dusted in the second leg as well, trailing 1-0 on the day until the 90th minute, but a two-minute, out-of-nowhere brace from Rodrygo took the game into Extra-time, and Benzema stepped up once again in the first half of ET to give his team the aggregate lead for the first time in the tie, and that was it; RMA won the tie 6-5 to reach the Final. 

  • Domestically, Liverpool have been a dominant force this season, having already won the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup. They defeated Chelsea via penalty shootouts in the finals of both those tournaments. 
  • Even the Premier League went down to the last game of the season. Manchester City ended Liverpool’s title hopes, however, by coming from two goals down to beat Aston Villa at home. 
  • However, with two trophies in the bag this season, Klopp and Co will be looking to end the season with a treble by clinching the Champions League trophy in France come Saturday, which will showcase the inevitable force they have become under the German tactician. 
  • The signing of Diego Jota from Wolves in the summer of 2020 and Luis Díaz from FC Porto in January earlier this year has further strengthened the Liverpool attack, who have managed to score 89 goals in the Premier League this season, being the second-highest scorers. Also, they have managed to concede just 26 goals, with Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Joël Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold continuing to be a strong defensive force at the back. Mo Salah has won the Premier League Golden Boot along with Tottenham Hotspur’s Heung-Min Son, with both having scored 23 goals each. Salah’s teammate Alisson Becker, along with his compatriot and Man City keeper Ederson Moraes, has won the Premier League Golden Glove with 20 clean sheets. Thiago, club captain Jordan Henderson and Naby Keïta have provided great support to the Liverpool attackers with their pinpoint passing and through balls. 
  • All in all, Klopp’s Reds are a tough team to beat and will surely be fancying their chances against Real Madrid on Saturday.

  • Real Madrid, on the other hand, clinched their record-extending 35th LaLiga title courtesy of a 4-0 victory over Espanyol in their 34th league game. They are coming into the final off the back of a 0-0 draw against Real Betis in their last league game. 
  • Winning LaLiga has also made their manager, Carlo Ancelotti, the first manager to with the topflight in each of Europe’s top-five leagues: England (with Chelsea), France (with PSG), Italy (with AC Milan), Germany (Bayern Munich) and Spain (Real Madrid). 
  • The RMA attack has been led by none other than Karim Benzema, who has netted 27 goals and provided 12 assists in LaLiga as well as 15 goals in the Champions league this season. The Brazilian duo of Rodrygo and Vinícius Júnior have provided great support from the wings and have managed to fill in well for the injury-prone Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale. They have enjoyed the majority of possession in most of their games courtesy of players such as Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modri? and their summer signing Eduardo Camavinga. David Alaba, Ferland Mendy, Daniel Carvajal, Éder Militão and Nacho Fernández have been rock solid at the back for Real Madrid, which has led them to boasting the second-best defence in LaLiga. The significant contribution made to their defence by Thibaut Courtois cannot be overlooked either, who has ended his LaLiga campaign with 15 clean sheets.
  • All in all, Real Madrid are a force to be reckoned with, and they will surely be on the hunt for their fourteenth Champions League trophy. 

As far as Injuries are concerned, Liverpool will be hoping to have their midfield maestro Fabinho back for the Final in some capacity. The Brazilian defensive midfielder missed the FA Cup final and the end of the Premier League because of a hamstring injury. Otherwise, they will have all their players fit and available for the Final. 

Real Madrid, on the other hand, may be without striker Luka Jovi? and left-back Miguel Gutiérrez.  

The UEFA Referees Committee has appointed Clément Turpin to referee the Final. This shall be his first-ever Champions League Final. He has refereed seven UCL matches this season. 

The last time these two giants of football faced off in a final, it was the team from Spain that emerged victorious. In the 2018 UCL Final, Karim Benzema opened the scoring for Real Madrid in the 51st Minute. Sadio Mané did manage to score one back for Liverpool, but it was a Gareth Bale show that night that took the game away from the Reds; the Welshman scored two goals in the 64th and 83rd minutes. 

More recently, RMA managed to get the better of Liverpool once again as they knocked them out in the Quarter-final last season courtesy of a 3-1 victory at home followed by a 0-0 draw at Anfield. 

As things stand, Liverpool will be hungry to get their revenge against Real Madrid for what transpired four years ago. They have a score to settle, while Real Madrid are looking for their fourteenth Champions League trophy. 

It all comes down to the Stade de France in Paris to determine who will be crowned the Kings of Europe. 

2022 UEFA Champions League Final Date:  Sunday, 29 May, 12:30 am IST

Where to watch: Sony TEN 1 & 2 (English), Sony TEN 3 (Hindi), Sony TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu), SonyLIV

Kayomard Irani

Kayomard Irani is an aspiring lawyer with a great passion and enthusiasm for Sports.

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