Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid – Champions League Final Match Preview, Estadio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal 2:45 PM EST Saturday May 24, 2014
By Jason Green, Soccer/Futbol Handicapper, Predictem.com
Match Odds: Real Madrid 1.95 / Atletico Madrid 4.00 / Draw 3.40
Moneyline: Real Madrid -105 / Atletico Madrid +300 / Draw +240
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid already have garnered valuable trophies this season and each looks to add another to their case with a win in the Champions League final.
Atletico was the surprise winner of La Liga this season with a draw in their last match at Barcelona to secure the league title. Real Madrid won the Copa del Rey this season and they are the big betting favorite in the Champions League finale.
The big news for this match is the health of the 2 key strikers in Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa and Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Costa is dealing with a leg injury and was an early substitute in this squad’s league clinching draw against Barcelona. Ronaldo has been dealing with a thigh injury for a few weeks and has not looked like himself in that time.
While Costa’s injury may be more series Real head coach Carlo Ancelotti recently stated “Cristiano Ronaldo will play because he is available and doesn’t have any problems.”
Ronaldo won the league goal scoring title this season and Costa had the 3rd most goals.
Real’s Xabi Alonso is suspended for this match after picking up a red card in the Champions League semifinal.
Costa’s injury could be a costly one, as he not only scored 27 goals for Atletico this season, but also has 8 in Champions League play. The team’s 2nd leading goal score in David Villa (13 goals) has not scored in Champions League play this season and overall has not found the back of the net in his last 14 matches.
Arda Turan is also an injury concern for Atletico and while he has only scored 3 goals in La Liga play this season he has 4 in Champions League play.
Even if Ronaldo cannot go, which I think he will, Real still has Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, who have combined for 32 goals this league season.
While Real Madrid beat Atletico 5-0 in aggregate in the 2 Copa del Rey matches in league play Atletico played to a 2-2 draw on the road and beat them 3-0 at home.
With the injuries that Atletico has they may take a defensive approach to this match like they did in their last one facing Barcelona. They did thwart the solid Barca offense and will be facing a Real attack that has averaged more than 3 goals per match in Champions League play this season.
Real has not won the Champions League in 12 years, but overall they have 9 trophies while Atletico is looking for their very first one.
Real Madrid DF Pepe was awesome in the big win in the 2nd leg of the Champions League semifinal against Bayern Munich and will be counted on again to anchor the defense. With the defensive tactic Atletico may take their best chance to score may be on the counter-attack. They will get those chances in this match since Real will press the issue on offense from the opening whistle.
Atletico Madrid Recent Form
4/27/2014 Valencia 0 Atletico Madrid 1 (La Liga)
4/30/2014 Chelsea 1 Atletico Madrid 3 (UEFA Champions League)
5/4/2014 Levante 2 Atletico Madrid 0 (La Liga)
5/11/2014 Atletico Madrid 1 Malaga 1 (La Liga)
5/17/2014 Barcelona 1 Atletico Madrid (La Liga)
Real Madrid Recent Form
4/29/2014 Bayern Munich 0 Real Madrid 4 (UEFA Champions League)
5/4/2014 Real Madrid 2 Valencia 2 (La Liga)
5/7/2014 Real Valladolid 1 Real Madrid 1 (La Liga)
5/11/2014 Celta Vigo 2 Real Madrid (La Liga)
5/17/2013 Real Madrid 3 Espanyol1 (La Liga)
In their last 10 matches Real Madrid has an Over/Under 2.5 goal record of 6-4 and Atletico Madrid is at 1-9.
Jason’s Prediction to Win the Match: This one is a tough one with all the injury concerns for both squads and while Atletico has been more than impressive this season I think Real will come out and win this match by a score of 1-0 or 2-0.