Real Madrid booked their place at the Champions League’s Lisbon jamboree thanks to victory over FC Bayern, a side whose scalping has spelt Los Blancos success in the past.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men are 3/5 to land the competition for an unprecedented tenth time, the long awaited ‘La Decima’, and they defeated the Germans en route to the last two of those victories.
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If the competition was decided on European pedigree alone then Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, its two remaining potential finalists, would be advised to fall on their swords now.
Thankfully for those who appreciate the deeply unmeritocratic sentiment that underlies a focus on the importance of a club’s ‘history’ that’s not the case.
However, Real Madrid boast a 100 per cent win rate in the final from three deciders since the competition assumed the Champions League moniker, putting away Juventus, Valencia and Bayer Leverkusen during a golden period between 1998 and 2002.
On each occasion they had eliminated the defending champions earlier in the competition just as they have done this year.
In 2001/02 FC Bayern were the deposed kings of the ring, 1999/00 it was Manchester United, while in 1997/98 it was Borussia Dortmund who were rent asunder.
By contrast, penalties were required to decide the destination of the adulation in Chelsea’s two finals since the European Cup gave way to it’s money-spinning descendant.
The Blues 50 per cent win-rate in the Champions League finals is less convincing than Real’s but still more reassuring than Atletico, who last contested the jewel fixture in the continent’s club football crown back in 1974 when they were bashed 4-0 by FC Bayern in a replay.