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Champions League Final Preview and Tips

May 23, 2018

This Saturday night, Real Madrid and Liverpool will meet head to head in the Champions League Final in Kyiv. Real will be attempting to win their 13th Champions League crown, extending their record of wins and it would be the third successive Champions League victory, a feat not achieved since Bayern Munich did the same back in the 1970s.

Liverpool though will be hoping to spoil the party with the Reds looking for their sixth Champions League title win in what is going to be their eighth final (Real have appeared in the final 15 times previously, with Saturday being their 16th appearance).

As is customary with such a big game, you can bet that there will be lots of interested parties enjoying a flutter on the game.  We recommend you sign up with Coral Sport with their Bet £5 get £20 of free bets offer for new customers to enjoy all the quality betting that Coral are offering on the match.

So let’s begin our look at the two teams by previewing how each has performed in the Champions League this season.

Real Madrid

Champions League Group Stage

  • Matchday 1 – Real Madrid 3 -0 APOEL (Ronaldo 12,51(pen) Ramos 61)
  • Matchday 2 – B.Dortmund 1-3 Real Madrid (Bale 18, Ronaldo 49,79)
  • Matchday 3 – Real Madrid 1-1 Tottenham (Ronaldo 43 (pen))
  • Matchday 4 – Tottenham 3-1 Real Madrid (Ronaldo 80)
  • Matchday 5 – APOEL 0-6 Real Madrid (Modric 23, Benzema 39,45, Nacho 41, Ronaldo 49,54)
  • Matchday 6 – Real Madrid 3-2 B.Dortmund (Borja 8, Ronaldo 12, Vazquez 81)

Champions League Knockout Stage

  • Round of 16 1st Leg – Real Madrid 3-1 PSG (Ronaldo 45(pen), 83 Marcelo 86)
  • Round of 16 2nd Leg – PSG 1-2 Real Madrid (Ronaldo 51, Casemiro 80) (agg 5-2)
  • Quarterfinals 1st Leg – Juventus 0-3 Real Madrid (Ronaldo 3,64 Marcelo 72)
  • Quarterfinals 2nd Leg – Real Madrid 1-3 Juventus (Ronaldo 90(pen)) (Agg 4-3)
  • Semifinals 1st Leg – Bayern Munich 1-2 Real Madrid (Marcelo 44, Asensio 57)
  • Semifinals 2nd Leg – Real Madrid 2-2 Bayern Munich (Benzema 11, 46) (Agg 4-3)

Manager – Zinedine Zidane

Likely Real Madrid Team

  • Keylor Navas (G)
  • Dani Carvajal (Dr)
  • Marcelo (Dl)
  • Sergio Ramos (Dc)
  • Raphael Varane (Dc)
  • Casemiro (Mc)
  • Modric (Mc)
  • Kroos (Mc)
  • Ronaldo (Ac)
  • Isco (AMc)
  • Bale (Ac)

Changes to this could see Karim Benzema start up front alongside Ronaldo instead of Bale or Marcos Asensio coming in for Bale or Isco.

Key Man – Cristiano Ronaldo

The self-professed best footballer ever has been superb this season for Real Madrid, especially in the Champions League where he has netted a total of 15 goals, although he didn’t find the net in both legs against Bayern Munich. He may have lost a yard of pace but in a more central striking role he has emerged as one of the best centre forwards in the world. He is key to Real’s success and shows no signs of slowing down.


Champions League Playoff

  • 1st Leg – Hoffenheim 1-2 Liverpool (Alexander-Arnold 35, Nordtveit OG 74)
  • 2nd Leg – Liverpool 4-2 Hoffenheim (Can 10,21 Salah 18, Firmino 63)

Champions League Group Stage

  • Matchday 1 – Liverpool 2-2 Sevilla (Firmino 21, Salah 37)
  • Matchday 2 – Spartak Moscow 1-1 Liverpool (Coutinho 31)
  • Matchday 3 – Maribor 0-7 Liverpool (Firmino 4,54 Coutinho 13 Salah 19,39, Oxlade-Chamberlain 86, Alexander-Arnold 90)
  • Matchday 4 – Liverpool 3-0 Maribor (Salah 49, Can 64, Sturridge 90)
  • Matchday 5 – Sevilla 3-3 Liverpool (Firmino 2,30 Mane 22)
  • Matchday 6 – Liverpool 7-0 Spartak M (Coutinho 4,15,50 Firmino 18, Mane 47,76, Salah 86)

Champions League Knockout Stage

  • Round of 16 1st Leg – FC Porto 0-5 Liverpool (Mane 25,53,85 Salah 29, Firmino 69)
  • Round of 16 2nd Leg – Liverpool 0-0 FC Porto (Agg 5-0)
  • Quarterfinals 1st Leg – Liverpool 3-0 Man City (Salah 12, Oxlade Chamberlain 20, Mane 31)
  • Quarterfinals 2nd Leg – Man City 1-2 Liverpool (Salah 56, Firmino 77) (Agg 5-1)
  • Semifinals 1st Leg – Liverpool 5-2 Roma (Salah 35,45 Mane 56, Firmino 61,68)
  • Semifinals 2nd Leg – AS Roma 4-2 Liverpool (Mane 9, Wijnaldum 25) (Agg 7-6)

Manager – Jurgen Klopp

Likely Liverpool Team

  • Loris Karius (Gk)
  • Trent Alexander-Arnold (Dr)
  • Andy Robertson (Dl)
  • Virgil Van Dijk (Dc)
  • Dejan Lovren (Dc)
  • Jordan Henderson (Mc)
  • James Milner (Mc)
  • Giorginho Wijnaldum (Mc)
  • Sadio Mane (Arc)
  • Mo Salah (Alc)
  • Roberto Firmino (Ac)

Changes to this could see Emre Can return in midfield, most likely for Wijnaldum, although that would be a surprise given Can has been out since April. He will more likely start from the bench alongside Lallana.

Key Man – Mo Salah

The Egyptian has been a revelation since singing from AS Roma for around £36 million in the summer. He has netted an incredible 44 goals in all competitions, including 32 in the Premier League (a record for a 38-game season) and ten more in the Champions League. Now elevated to superstar status, if he is on form for Liverpool as he was in the first leg against Roma, then the Reds chances of success increase greatly.

Our Top Betting Tips for the Game

Tip 1 – Over 3.5 Goals – 6/5 with Coral Sport

As you can see from both teams’ progress into the final, neither team looks particularly solid defensively, while both can score plenty of goals. As such, this is a match which should certainly have plenty of goals in and while the Over 2.5 Goals market isn’t great value for money, perhaps understandably so, you can get better than even money on the Over 3.5 Goals market. Four goals in this game? I think that is a very good bet given the quality of the two attacks against how the two defences have performed this season.

Tip 2 – Anytime Goalscorer – Sadio Mane (Liverpool) 9/4 with Coral Sport

With their likely to be plenty of goals in this game, I think the Anytime Goalscorer market is a much better bet than the First Goalscorer option. Ronaldo and Salah are both odds on in this market which doesn’t make them good value for money, but Sadio Mane at 9/4 is a great bet. The Senegalese striker has been in great form in the knockout phase of the tournament in particular, netting some crucial goals along the way as well as a hattrick away at FC Porto. He’s also netted nine times in Europe this season so he knows where the back of the net is.

Tip 3 – To Lift the Trophy – Liverpool 5/4 with Coral Sport

Finally, we come to who will win the game and rather than back the Win/Draw/Win or Match Result market, I have instead gone on the To Lift the Trophy market which I feel offers more flexibility. That’s because this is a game that I could easily see going to extra time, as well as finishing inside the 90 minute mark. It could also be decided by penalties, in which case I think it is a 50/50 contest. However, I think Liverpool just have enough extra attacking flair and depth to get the job done.


About Ian John

Ian John
Working my way though the UK's top online poker sites (and some of the ones near the bottom as well) to bring you a first-hand take on the absolute best choices for online poker players from the UK.