In much the same way Bayern Munich trampled all over Barcelona en-route to Champions League glory in their semi-final last season, this time around it was the holders exiting red-faced as Real Madrid marched into a first final in 12 years following a 5-0 aggregate win.
Unsurprisingly, such an emphatic victory at the Allianz Arena, and in the tie as a whole, has seen Carlo Ancelotti’s side installed as the 4/7 favourites to win the competition.
And on the evidence of their European campaign to date, it’s a price that feels every ounce worth taking, despite the identity of the final opponents being as yet undecided.
Having blown away reputedly the best team in world football, the current crop of Madridistas finally look like they are ready to add that elusive 10th European crown to the Bernabeu trophy cabinet.
If fate decides it is their city rivals Ateltico Madrid whom they face in Lisbon, then historically it’s Los Blancos who have the upper hand even without the confidence gleaned from humiliating Bayern.
Diego Simeone’s dark horses may have finally broken their 14-year Bernebeu hoodoo by defeating Real 1-0 there in La Liga way back in September, but the status quo was resumed over two legs in the Copa del Rey, when Atleti were blown away 5-0 on aggregate.
Real have now triumphed over their city foes eight out of the last 11 times they’ve met in all competitions.
If, however, it’s Chelsea whom line up against them in the Portuguese capital, then it’s the pure pace in Madrid’s side that should see them win out.
John Terry and Gary Cahill may have great positional sense, though faced with the frightening counter-attacking pace of Gareth Bale, Angel Di Maria and one Cristiano Ronaldo it’s hard to see the pair without any natural pace coping.
Of course, Jose Mourinho may opt to park both buses once more, but there is so much momentum after trouncing Bayern and invention in Real’s ranks, it would be bordering on a miracle to stop the Spaniards scoring.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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