Poll: Which is the best Champions League final of all time?
This weekend sees the return of the Champions league final and with both Barcelona and Juventus aiming to land an historic treble it promises to be a top night of football in Berlin.
With Lionel Messi. Luis Suarez and Neymar on one side and Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba on the other there is a good chance that football fans will be treated to a final to rival anything that has gone before it.
But what is the benchmark? Which of the previous Champions league finals is the best ever?
We’ve whittled it down to a top five and now it’s up to you to have your say.
Barcelona 0 – 4 AC Milan – Athens 1994
With No Marco van Basten or Franco Baresi the Italians were expected to struggle against the recently-crowned La Liga champions.
However, a Fabio Capello tactical masterpiece saw Milan run away with it courtesy of goals from Dejan Savicevic, Marcel Desailly and a brace from Daniele Massaro.
Borussia Dortmund 3 – 1 Juventus – Munich 1997
Dortmund aren’t renowned for success in Munich but on a night when Paul Lambert had Juve’s Zinedine Zidane in his back pocket the Germans seemed destined to win.
A Karl-Heinz Riedle brace had BVB 2-0 up and cruising before substitute Alessandro del Piero pulled one back and had the Germans fretting.
Cue the arrival of 20-year-old Lars Ricken whose first touch was a deft chip over Angelo Peruzzi to secure a famous victory.
Bayern Munich 1 – 2 Manchester United – Barcelona 1999
With Mario Basler’s early free-kick putting the Bavarians ahead Bayern looked to be on course to winning one of the more pedestrian finals.
However, with both Mehmet Scholl and Carsten Jancker hitting the woodwork the feeling that it might not be the Germans’ night started to creep in.
Sir Alex Ferguson sent Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on in the faint hope of grabbing an equaliser and the former did just that in the 90th minute, tapping in a mishit Ryan Giggs shot.
With the Germans crestfallen the Red Devils pressed on and when Sheringham flicked a David Beckham corner onto Solskjaer in the dying second the Norwegian prodded it home to complete the most dramatic finish to final ever.
Bayern Munich 1-1 Valencia – Milan 2001
Perhaps not the most exciting final but a tense and unique encounter with all the goals coming from the penalty spot.
Valencia were in their second successive final and looked set to put their Madrid heartbreak to bed when Gaizka Medieta’s spot kick gave the Spaniards the lead.
Mehmet Scholl was given the chance to restore parity moments later but saw his penalty saved. A third spot kick was awarded in the second half and Effenberg assumed the responsibility and sent Santiago Canizares the wrong way.
When extra time couldn’t separate the sides it was back to the penalty area where Oliver Kahn denied a decisive kick from Mauricio Pellegrino to help Bayern win 5-4 and exercise the demons of 1999.
AC Milan 3 – 3 Liverpool – Istanbul 2005
Liverpool were surprise finalists in 2005 and few people were surprised to see Milan race in to a 3-0 lead through a Paolo Maldini goal and a Hernan Crespo double.
The Reds were not about to roll over and die though and what followed is perhaps the most remarkable comeback in the history of the competition.
Captain Steven Gerrard gave Reds fans hope, Vladimir Smicer made them dream and Xabi Alonso made them believe.
With parity restored the game went to penalties where Jerzy Dudek made himself a Liverpool hero by saving Andriy Shevchenko’s spot kick to send Old Big Ears back to Anfield.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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