Last week’s return matches brought closure to the penultimate stage of the 2014-2015 UEFA Champions League, and we now know which two teams will square off against one another in the winner-take-all final at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on June 6. The streak without a successful title defense has now extended to 25 years with the ouster of Real Madrid, and the core of the 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning German side that suits up for Bayern Munich likewise will be forced to watch another team take the spoils in its home country.
What we are left with are two of the most iconic clubs in the European game, both of whom will be making their eighth appearance in the Champions League final. One was expected to be in this position in 2015, having already won this competition three times over the past decade; the other has been a relative afterthought thanks largely to the diminished stature of its domestic league relative to its comparable European counterparts and a long absence from continental contention.
We have been blessed with a battle between the blaugrana and the bianconeri to determine the current kings of Europe. Let’s look back at how Barcelona and Juventus put themselves in position to haul home the hardware and predict how the final might play out in Berlin in June.