UEFA Champions League in final stage


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MUNICH, GERMANY – MAY 12: The Champions League trophy is seen pitchside ahead of the UEFA Champions League semi final second leg match between FC Bayern Muenchen and FC Barcelona at Allianz Arena on May 12, 2015 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Sam H., Writer

The UEFA Champions League is a tournament made up of the top club teams in Europe, and their place in the Champions League is determined by their place in the top national league in each country in the prior season.  For example, if a certain club did poorly last year, but is doing well this year, they would not make the Champions League because of their standing last year.  Instead, they would be placed in the Europa League, another tournament which has teams who just missed out on the Champions League.  

The Champions League final will take place on May 29 at 3 p.m. EST between the English Clubs Chelsea and Manchester City in Istanbul. This matchup will be the second time in three years there will be an all-English Champions League final.  

Manchester City cruised through their semifinal matchup against French superclub Paris Saint-Germain, winning leg one 2-1 and leg two 2-0, with aggregate being four goals to one.  PSG took an early lead in the first leg on a header by Marquinhos, but after that Paris’ offense stalled, and City took full advantage, scoring once on a play appearing to be a cross and was mistimed by PSG’s keeper, and a free kick where the ball went through a poorly held PSG wall. PSG then got desperate, and started hacking at the Manchester City players, eventually drawing a straight red card. The second leg was the same as the end of the first, PSG lost their head and began to foul hard, with PSG wing Ángel Di María drawing another straight red card, and City scored two more times to ice the game in their favor and advance to their first ever Champions League final.

Chelsea had a bit of a tougher time dealing with a methodical Real Madrid team that was able to move the ball and stay cool-headed under pressure. The first leg in Madrid ended in a 1-1 tie, with Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic scoring in transition early, with Karim Benzima of Real Madrid following it up by hitting a volley as he was falling backward after controlling the ball on a cross. In the second leg, Chelsea forward Timo Werner scored in the 28th minute to give them a 3-1 aggregate lead, and Mason Mount scored in the 85th minute to ice the game in Chelsea’s favor, setting up an English showdown in the Champions League final.

City Manager Pep Guardiola and Chelsea Manager Thomas Tuchel are two of the brightest minds in European soccer. Last season, Tuchel took PSG to their first Champions League final where they lost to FC Bayern Munchen. This season, he has taken Chelsea to forth place in the Premier League, and has moved his players around to fit the tactics needed depending on the situation of the game.

“Chelsea can win because we’ve beaten them [Manchester City] three times this season, once to knock them out of the FA Cup, and two in the premier league regular season.  Tuchel has been amazing with the 3-5-2 formation, and Chelsea also have the most clean sheets in the Premier League.  Our defense and pressing has been very good, especially with Timo Werner creating space with his pace and off the ball runs,” Abdu B. ‘22 said.

Guardiola has taken Manchester City to brand new heights. After City spent most of its time in the shadow of their crosstown rival, Manchester United, the Club began to gain strength under Guardiola. In five years as City’s manager, Guardiola has won three Premier League titles and finished in second and third place once.  

Both teams are highlighted by dynamic attackers and pushing the ball down the wing, with Chelsea led by Pulisic and City led by De Bruyne.  However recently, Pulisic has not been receiving many minutes from Tuchel in his system.  

“They need to start him.  No one this season has been able to keep him in their pocket.  Pulisic’s runs have been amazing and he’s created so much space,” Abdu said.

This game will come down to whoever can capitalize off their shot opportunities and win the ball in the midfield, and this Champions League final will be one to remember.