It's a repeat of the 2014 final as Real Madrid and Atletico square up in the San Siro.
Sevilla continued the dominance of Spanish teams in Europe with their victory over Liverpool as nine of the last 15 Champions League and Europa League titles since 2008/09 have been claimed by Spanish sides.
That will rise to 10 out of 16 after Saturday’s showpiece in Milan as the Madrid sides meet in a repeat of the 2014 final, where Real finally ended their quest for ‘La Decima’. Atletico are looking for their first Champions League title to go with the Europa League, La Liga and Copa Del Rey they’ve won under Diego Simeone. Los Colchoneros have certainly done things the hard way, making it past Barca and Bayern en-route to the final, while Real have had an easier path to navigate as they’ve knocked out Roma, Wolfsburg and Man City.
Unusually for Real Madrid, what stands out about their Champions League campaign this term is how strong they’ve been defensively, keeping 10 clean sheets in their 12 matches. According to our rankings, Real are the third best team in Europe, while Atletico are fourth and Real’s Champions League record against top-10 sides that they’re ranked higher than since 2013/14 is W5-D6-L2. There’s a fairly strong ‘unders’ trend in these games as nine of 13 saw fewer than three goals and that’s even more pronounced since the start of last season, where it’s seven of eight with six seeing fewer than two, as Real only managed five goals and failed to score more than once in any of these matches.
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Atletico put in classic Champions League performances against Barca as Bayern as they managed to nick a goal in defeats in the away legs before winning to nil against both at home. That pair of 2-1 defeats were the first time Atleti have conceded more than goal in a Champions League knockout tie under Simeone and they account for four of the six goals they’ve conceded in 10 knockout games since the start of last season. Their record when playing sides in Europe’s top-five since 2013/14 is W4-D3-L3 as they managed to score in eight of these 10 games and kept a clean sheet in half. Eight saw fewer than three goals, while five had fewer than two strikes.
These two sides have met no fewer than 15 times since 2013/14 and Atletico certainly have the upper hand, with a W6-D6-L3 record across 90 minutes. Indeed, Real have only beaten their Madrid rivals once in 10 attempts since the start of last season, and that was thanks to an 88th minute Javier Hernandez winner at the Bernabeu last season. As a result, it would seem that Real look worth taking on at 2.48, but Atletico have a tough task on their hands if they’re to win in the 90 minutes as Barca’s triumph over United in 2008/09 was the only instance in the last 15 Champions League finals when a side that was lower in our rankings managed to win without extra-time or penalties.
Both these teams have a strong ‘unders’ trend in Europe when taking on the top teams and as a result Under 2.5 Goals looks a solid 1.57 shot, but the best bet in this one looks to be the draw. Five of the eight finals since 2000/01 between sides with a similar grading difference were draws, and that’s certainly the option we prefer in the match outcome market at 3.25 given the high draw tendency when these two have met in recent times and indeed when playing similar graded opposition in the Champions League in the last couple of seasons.
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