Juventus and Barcelona are on the verge of history as the winner of Saturday’s final will complete a domestic and European treble.
Only seven outstanding teams have achieved this: Celtic’s ‘Lisbon Lions’ in 1967, Ajax (1972), PSV Eindhoven (1988), Manchester
United (1999), Barcelona (2009), Inter Milan (2010) and Bayern Munich (2013).
Juventus’ domination of Serie A and their dramatic Coppa Italia triumph over Lazio means they can almost taste the treble for the first time.
Barcelona could become the first club to secure the treble more than once after defeating Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey and sealing La Liga with victory away at deposed champions Atletico Madrid.
Whether it’s Juve or Barca that emerge victorious in Berlin, Saturday night will hold a special place in footballing history.
This is a final reminiscent of the 2010 curtain-closer; Louis van Gaal’s Bayern Munich and Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan were eyeing the treble when they met in Madrid five years ago.
A Diego Milito brace earned Inter a 2-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu to become the first Italian side to ever achieve the treble; can the ‘Old Lady’ become the second on Saturday night?
While Juventus struggled in Group A, Barcelona’s route to the last 16 was more routine, winning 5 of their 6 matches to top Group F. However, Barca were far from fantastic in the early stages, scraping past Cypriot side APOEL at the Nou Camp before losing 3-2 to PSG in the French capital. However, two wins against Ajax and a 4-0 thumping of APOEL in Nicosia set up a decider against PSG for top spot in the group.
Despite falling behind thanks to former player Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Barca’s terrifying trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez secured victory for Luis Enrique’s team.
In the last 16, Barca were handed what appeared as the nastiest draw on paper against English champions Manchester City. However, the Catalans looked a class apart at the Etihad as a rapid double from Suarez put them in total control. They could have had the tie as good as wrapped up but for Sergio Aguero’s well-taken goal and Messi’s late penalty miss.
Nevertheless, a 1-0 win at the Nou Camp earned them a place in Champions League quarter-finals for the eighth season in a row. They drew Group F opponents PSG in the last eight, but dominated both legs to seal a comfortable 5-1 aggregate win.
Bayern Munich and former boss Pep Guardiola formed the barrier between Barca and Berlin. Unlike in 2013 (when Bayern destroyed them 7-0 on aggregate), Barca blew the Bavarians away and all but ended the tie with a 3-0 win at the Nou Camp: a match famous for Messi’s decking of Jerome Boateng. Although Bayern came from behind to win 3-2 in Munich, their place in the final was never in doubt and if those performances are anything to go by, then it is difficult to envisage a Juventus win in Berlin.