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Champions League final 2024: Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid – Bellingham, Kroos, Sancho and Adeyemi, the players that could light up Wembley

Who will come out on top and make the difference in Saturday's Wembley showpiece?

Borussia Dortmund Real Madrid

Saturday’s Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid is riddled with intriguing storylines, specific sub-plots and wider narratives that could shape the destiny of the famous old trophy.

As is the case in each big game, it is likely to come down to fine margins and which players come out on top in their personal battles. And that’s even before the tactical duel between two coaches at opposite ends of the experience spectrum, Carlo Ancelotti and Edin Terzic.

It promises to be a fascinating encounter between the Spanish aristocrats and the working class club from Germany’s north west. Here we analyse the key areas of the field and pick out some potential match-winners for you to keep an eye on.

 

So, where will the game be won and lost?

Midfield

As always, the middle of the field will be key to the outcome, and it’s here where Madrid look to hold a significant superiority.

Dortmund have no lack of experience in defensive duo Emre Can and Marcel Sabitzer but there is a chance they could be overrun by the zest and brio of Jude Bellingham, Fede Valverde and Rodrygo.

Madrid boast Toni Kroos, playing his final club game before retirement, and Eduardo Camavinga behind their attacking players in what seems a nice blend of nous and athleticism. And if Dortmund do get hold of the central areas, Madrid can always count on the age-defying brilliance of Luka Modric, who is likely to start on the bench.

 

Wide areas

Potentially an area that Dortmund can get at Madrid, particularly down the German side’s left flank. With Karim Adeyemi ahead of Ian Maatsen, Dortmund possess two players with blistering pace and they will hope to exploit the gaps on Wembley’s large pitch. A feature of Dortmund’s two-legged triumph over Paris Saint-Germain was the way Maatsen overlapped Adeyemi to add another body to the attack.

On the other flank is Jaden Sancho, who is enjoying his rehabilitation back in Westphalia following his unhappy spell at Manchester United. The England international possesses the skill and craft to make it an uncomfortable night for Madrid full-back Ferland Mendy.

Madrid play with a narrower style, particularly down their right, but watch out for Vinicius Jnr on the left. The Brazil international is a potential match-winner with his pace and quick feet.

 

Madrid’s defence against Dortmund’s lone striker

With Dortmund strong out wide, there’s a good chance the likes of Sancho and Adeyemi will be able to supply lone striker Niclas Fullkrug with plenty of ammunition. Fullkrug is a traditional number nine, not quick but his experience and know-how in the box mark him out as a man to keep an eye on.

He is good in the air and if he can peel on to Nacho he should have the aerial ability to cause danger.

 

Verdict

Yes, Dortmund should create chances from out wide, and yes Fullkrug is a threat, but Madrid have more options going forward and the better players in midfield.

The bookmakers have Madrid favourites and 8/13 to win with bet365 looks appealing given their superiority.

 

What if you fancy a bet on the game?

Don’t worry, we have you covered.

BETTING TIPS FOR THIS MATCH

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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