HomeRulesA-Z of SportsFootball RegulationsTeams Names › Champions League Final
What to Expect in the Champions League Final

The 2023/24 Champions League final is here again! And this time around, we will be having the serial Champions League maestros, Real Madrid battle it out with German Bundesliga giants, Borussia Dortmund.

The Madrid club recently snapped up their record-breaking 36th Spanish crown and they will be motivated and poised to add yet another European crown to their already shiny collection of trophies.

Come June 1, Wembley will play host to high-octane football, from two sides that showed mettle, and quality on both ends of the pitch. Who will take the crown at the end of the day? This remains to be seen. Fans of both sides will be fired up, and scrambling for tickets, and of course, the Real Madrid tickets will be in higher demand for good reason!

However, we can build up to the event by taking a good look at both sides and give you an in-depth analysis of what to expect come the 1st of June, 2024.

How Both Sides Got to the Final

The White Angels dazzled in the group stages and cruised their way into the knockout stages by winning all six games in Group C, against Braga, Napoli and Union Berlin.

In sharp contrast to their Spanish opponents, their German counterparts had a rougher path to the final. In a group that consisted of very formidable opponents, like Paris Saint Germain, Newcastle United and AC Milan. It was always going to be a herculean task to make progress, and they needed wins home and away at St. James Park to solidify their qualification to the knockout stages.

Both sides had to go quite defensive from the knockout stages to the final, with Real Madrid securing slender victories against RB, Leipzig, Manchester City and Bayern Munich to secure a place at Wembley. Real Madrid fought hard to nick RB Leipzig 2-1 on aggregate, then went on to beat English champions, Manchester City on penalties after two exciting ties, which ended 4-4 on aggregate. Bayern then came along, and the white Angels needed a miracle from the fringe Joselu to get past Bayern with two late goals!

Borussia Dortmund on the other hand, made light work of PSV Eindhoven and defeated the Dutch side, 3-1 on aggregate. Then they fought hard to eliminate Diego Simeone’s Atletico. They needed just lone goal victories home and away against Paris Saint Germain to be able to secure a place in the final at Wembley.

Who has the Upper Hand?

It has been a long time since Real Madrid went into a Champions League final as anything other than favourites but no team has been such heavy underdogs as Dortmund will be, perhaps since Liverpool faced Ancelotti’s all-conquering AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005.

You would need to travel very far back to find out the last time Real Madrid went into a European Cup final as the underdogs, and that status has since changed. However, there is something about this Borussia Dortmund side that should give rivals the chills.

The last time we had a final with the heavy underdogs taking the win, was far back in 2005, when Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool did the impossible and performed the Istanbul miracle against the golden AC Milan side led by now Real Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti.

That game has since become one of the most memorable finals of all time, with the Reds fighting from 3 goals down to clinch the win at the shootout. Dortmund surely have some inspiration to draw from that game.

However, given the history of this storied competition, there’s no gain saying that Real Madrid are the clear favourites and it would take something monumental from the Germans to stop the Los Blancos. The German team have won the competition just once, while Real have been champions for a record 14 times.

Strengths and Weaknesses

While both sides have been formidable, all through the competition, there have been some chinks in their armours. Hopefully, both sides would be able to exploit each other.

While Real Madrid has been imperious in front of goal all through the competition, they have been very defensively porous and conceded 8 goals in the knockout stages. While they have also scored 10 goals. The white Angels also face an uphill task in affirming the availability of Thibaut Courtois.

Borussia Dortmund haven’t been exactly free-scoring, but they have surely been defensively astute. They have conceded just 5 goals in the knockout stages. It will be interesting to see how both sides exploit their weaknesses.

Key Players & Battles to Watch out for

Bellingham left Dortmund for Madrid last summer in a €103 million transfer and the England midfielder has already established himself as their most important player.

Jude Bellingham made the switch from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid last summer in a deal worth £95 million, and in no time, the Englishman has established himself as a regular in the Los Blancos.

Although the young midfield genius’s scoring spree has since cooled off, he still has an impressive return in his debut season at the Santiago Bernabeu with 22 goals and 10 assists. It will be an emotional return against his old team, but he has all the arsenal to cause mass destruction to the former side.

Antonio Rudiger remains as rugged as ever, and his pace is a crucial tool in stopping counterattacks against his side. While Toni Kroos’s creative genius remains a threat to any side, Vinicius Jr has been the most potent of that forward line, his pace and attacking prowess have been very beneficial to this team.

For the German side, their strength seems to be in their teamwork; everyone has a role to play. However, Julian Brandt’s creativity coupled with the attacking menace of Fullkrug, has been quite deadly. The return of Jadon Sancho has seen more mobility on the flanks, and the veteran Matt Hummels still stands strong at the back.

The likes of Marcel Sabitzer will need to be active all through to nullify the midfield threat of Toni Kroos and Jude Bellingham. Matt Hummels faces a herculean task in coordinating that yellow wall against the majestic attacks of Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo. Antonio Rudiger knows he will need to be on the top of his game, alongside Nacho to stop the Dortmund attackers.


This game is delicately poised, with the odds heavily stacked against Borussia Dortmund. However, we know that in football, you never say never till the referee calls it a day. Real Madrid has history going for them and the arms and ammunition to blow out any team, but they must be wary of a Dortmund side, who by many standards have overachieved in this season’s competition, and have nothing to lose.

What to Expect in the Champions League Final