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Champions League: The Key Battles

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When Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund contest the 2024 Champions League title at Wembley Stadium on June 1, some of Europe’s finest players will be on show.

The Champions League 2024 betting odds favour a Los Blancos win, and with Carlo Ancelotti at the helm, who can disagree? Well, BVB boss Edin Terzic for one.

The Bundesliga side have laboured in the league but excelled in Europe this season, and, having already seen off Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, Die Schwarzgelben will hold no fear when they meet the Spaniards.

And Terzic’s men will relish the role of underdogs.

There will be some fascinating tussles on the pitch at Wembley, so let’s have a look at the SBOTOP pick of those match-ups to look out for.


Jude Bellingham vs Marcel Sabitzer

Whoever dominates the midfield battle will go a long way towards winning the final, and that is where Los Blancos’ English superman will operate. With his box-to-box running, strong tackling, superb array of passing, and terrific shooting boots, Bellingham is the complete midfielder.

Jude Bellingham will aim to secure the Champions League trophy against his former club Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid players celebrate after Jude Bellingham scored their second goal during La Liga match against Cadiz

He had a sensational first season at Real Madrid following his 103 million Euros switch from Borussia Dortmund last summer, becoming the club’s highest even English goal scorer when he racked up his 21st goal of the campaign in an El Clasico win last month, and he has been the driving force in Real Madrid’s title win.

His opposite number Sabitzer has been a powerful figure in the Bundesliga with Red Bull Leipzig and FC Bayern, and, after a loan spell at Manchester United, he landed in Dortmund last summer, signing a four-year deal.

Sabitzer scored a goal and made two assists in BVB’s quarterfinal win over Atletico Madrid, and his versatility is a dream for his manager Terzic. He may well sit in a slightly deeper role to match Bellingham, and the Austrian will make his mark early. 


Vinicius Junior vs Mats Hummels

Another of Real Madrid’s young guns will undoubtedly make his fair share of Champions League 2024 highlights on July 1st, as Brazilian Vinicius is a sure bet to light up the stadium with his lightning-quick feet, mesmerising ball skills and superb running off the ball. The young Brazilian will operate up front with countryman Rodrygo, and he will keep Dortmund’s experienced centre back Hummels busy.

He’s a Dortmund legend, and at 35 years of age, he is in the twilight of his career, but Hummels will use his positional strength and tactical nous to nullify the Madrid threat.

A born leader, he is also a threat at the other end of the pitch, scoring the winner in Dortmund’s match against PSG at the Parc des Princes, and the Germans will use his height at set pieces. Vinicius might be too quick for Hummels if he finds some space…but he won’t be marking him at corners! 


Jadon Sancho vs Dani Carvajal

He’s suddenly rediscovered his mojo on his return to Dortmund, and left winger Sancho will aim to replicate his semi-final performance when he was man-of-the-match against the Parisiens.

He’s a quick and very technical player with superb dribbling skills and the England man seems to have all the confidence back that he lost at Manchester United.

Sancho can play as a winger or as an advanced midfielder, and when he drifts out to the left, he will come up against Spain right back Dani Carvajal, another experienced campaigner among the young guns in this final.

With 43 caps for La Roja and 276 appearances for Real Madrid, he has won 24 major trophies with Los Blancos.

Carvajal will do all he can to make it 25. 


Carlo Ancelotti vs Edin Terzic

And then there are the two men on the touchline: Ancelotti, who has already won four Champions League titles, and Terzic, who is looking for his first.

The well-travelled Ancelotti is renowned not only for his tactical genius but also for his man-management skills with a reputation for kindness and good humour. He is a superb motivator and gets the very best from his players… and they know he is a born winner.

Terzic is at the beginning of his management career, but he has made a great start, guiding BVB to within a whisker of the Bundesliga title in his first season and making the Champions League semi-final in his second.

Like Ancelotti, he fosters harmony in the dressing room, and the BVB board knows they made the right decision to promote him in 2022. CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said: “Edin Terzic did a great job. He took over the team when it was half dead and he brought it to life.” 

Now he’s after the biggest prize in Europe, but Terzic will come face-to-face with the master. 


 

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