Champions League Final: Everything you need to know about the biggest match in soccer


The UEFA Champions League Final is the biggest club match in the soccer world. This season, English side Liverpool are facing the Spanish club Real Madrid. Let’s take a look at how both sides got here, and how the two teams stack up.

The Champions League is the biggest club competition in Europe. It brings the 32 best teams in Europe together for a world cup style tournament. Leagues around Europe send their best teams to the competition, some leagues more than others, depending on the quality of the league. There are 8 randomly selected groups of 4 and the top 2 from each group advance to the final bracket of 16 teams, where teams play a home and away game for each tie, and the winner of the combined score of the 2 games moves on to the next round. This goes on until the final which is played in a neutral location, originally planned for St. Petersburg but moved to Paris as a consequence of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Liverpool are one of the top teams in England and are currently 2nd in the English top league. They have been in an intense title fight with Manchester City for the English league title, and have won the EFL cup, one of England’s two major club tournaments. They also can get an ultra rare quadruple, which is when a team wins 4 major tournaments. These tournaments are the Premier League title, which they are 3 points behind Manchester City, the FA cup, which they are in the finals, the EFL cup, which they have already won as stated earlier, and of course the Champions League final.

Liverpool are such a good side for a reason.  With world class wingers in Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah, they have a very strong attack as both are capable of scoring on any day. Luiz Diaz, a January signing from FC Porto in very strong form as of late, and Divock Origi, a fine rotation piece, rotate at striker. They also have a top tier defense with Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, and Joe Gomez. They also have a brilliant midfield featuring Fabinho, Thiago, and Naby Keïta. On top of all that, they have one of the best goalkeepers at the moment in Alisson, who got them here in the first place. They also have world class full backs in Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold that are strong on set pieces and can push up field.

Liverpool qualified for the UCL with a 95th minute goal from Alisson in the final game of the season to put them in UCL position, and they have made that goal count by performing incredibly well throughout this season. Liverpool qualified for the knockout stages finishing top of their group by an impressive 11 points after getting all 18 possible points. Liverpool beat Inter Milan 2-0 away and lost 1-0 at home, moving on with a 2-1 win on aggregate. Liverpool again continued to impress in away matches, winning against Benfica 3-1 away and clinching the aggregate win with a 3-3 draw at home. Liverpool then beat one of the most incredible stories of the UCL this year, Villareal, winning 2-0 at home and 3-2 away to advance to the final.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid has quietly been stringing back its dynasty from the past decade, with a magical journey to the final and winning the title in the Spanish league. They have had the odds stacked against them at every twist and turn in the tournament, and they look to beat another obstacle against Liverpool in the final.

Real Madrid have multiple young stars including Vinicius Jr, a pacey winger who can finish when asked and has a great connection with star striker Karim Benzema. Rodrygo is another young star who scored twice in 2 minutes to send Madrid to the final over Man City. With David Alaba injured, Madrid’s defense is looking weaker with Nacho Fernandez being his replacement to partner Eder Militao who likes to push upfield on attacks. Ferland Mendy and Daniel Carvajal highlight highlight the full backs. Real Madrid also have one of the best midfields in club football, with Luka Modric,Toni Kroos, and Casemiro, with Eduardo Camavinga being an incredible young substitute who surely will be a star of the future. They also have a top goalkeeper in Thibaut Courtois.

Madrid finished top of their group with 15 of 18 possible points, and started their knockout stage against one of the top teams in football, PSG. Early on, PSG started strong with a 1-0 defeat away, but then it got worse for Madrid. Kylian Mbappe scored a goal for PSG at Madrid, so they were down 2-0 on aggregate with 30 minutes to play. Then suddenly, Karim Benzema unleashed a fury of goals, netting a hat trick to pull Real Madrid ahead on aggregate, and Madrid advanced to play Chelsea, a top English club. Real Madrid struck first with a 3-1 win at Chelsea, but Chelsea struck back at home with a 1-3 win away, forcing extra time to decide who advanced. In extra time Karim Benzema was once more Madrid’s hero, scoring a goal to advance Madrid to the semifinals. Up next for Madrid was Manchester City. After losing 4-3 in a thriller away, they had a tough battle to fight at home. It got worse when City scored again in the 72nd minute. In the 6 minutes of play Rodrygo scored twice to send the game to extra time, which a Benzema penalty converted into a win for Real.

Overall, this looks like a very exciting final with the two sides having different strengths, and very different roads to the final. For a prediction that will age terribly, we are going with a 2-1 victory for Liverpool in Paris. But the magic of the Champions League means anything can happen.