UEFA Champions League: All You Need To Know About The Biggest Match In European Football
The contenders in the biggest game of club football have been decided after Chelsea won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to set up an all-English final. Manchester City had earlier booked their place in the European Cup final after ensuring victory against Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad Stadium as Pep Guardiola made it to his third Champions League final after a decade (and his first without Lionel Messi in his squad) since his last.
As the frenzy and fanfare around the showpiece match grows with each passing day amongst football fans across the world, FootTheBall gives a lowdown on the UEFA Champions League final and everything you need to know about it as the world counts down to the epic clash between the two sides from England for European glory.
WHEN IS THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL?
The finale of the UEFA Champions League will be played out on Saturday, May the 29th 2021. The title decider is expected to be kicked off at 9 PM Central European Summer Time – the same time as the four semi-finals in the previous round.
The 2021 #UCLfinal is set! 🏆
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 5, 2021
WHERE IS THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL?
The final will be played out at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul – Turkey’s largest metropolitan area and the only city on Earth to be located across two continents. The stadium that is hosting this year’s final is no stranger to historic European nights – having hosted the 2005 UEFA Champions League final between English club Liverpool and Italian side AC Milan, when the Premier League side came back from three goals down to win their fifth European Cup.
The 76,761-seater stadium was originally slated to host the 2020 edition’s finale, but it had to be shifted to the Portuguese capital Lisbon due to the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic across Europe. Ultimately the 2020 UEFA Champions League final was played out at an empty Estadio da Luz in Lisbon in late August as opposed to the traditional late May/early June period
ARE SUPPORTERS ALLOWED ENTRY INTO STADIUM FOR FINAL?
Given the current state of things, the final say regarding the number of fans and supporters who will be allowed to attend the final will rest with Turkish officials and authorities. UEFA has placed no restrictions/limitations on the number of tickets that will go on sale for the finale of the most prestigious club competition in the world. However, travel restrictions may play spoilsport for fans and supporters hoping to attend the game.
The Ataturk Olympic Stadium hasn’t seen any fans in attendance in the Turkish Super Lig this season and it is expected that UEFA will only allow fans to attend given that they practice Covid appropriate behavior including proper social distancing before, during and after the game.
WHO IS TIPPED TO LIFT THE BIG-EARED TROPHY?
Manchester City are the bookies’ favourites to lift their first ever European Cup in Istanbul after emerging victorious in their semi-final with last season’s runners-up Paris Saint-Germain. Chelsea will pose a significant challenge to the Sky Blues as they are known for gritty, resilient performances under Thomas Tuchel. Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola will be looking to win his third consecutive European Cup final to become only the sixth coach to win the title with two different clubs.
🔝 Manchester City have won their last 7 matches in the competition, breaking the record for the longest winning run by an English team in European Cup/Champions League history 👏#UCL pic.twitter.com/JXEfN648FK
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 4, 2021
Notably for City, things have come full circle, both literally and metaphorically, as the Cityzens’ first ever participation in a European tournament came way back in 1968 when they squared off with Turkish side Fenerbahce – they lost and were ousted in the first round itself. More than half a century later, they will be going to Istanbul to take part in their first ever European Cup final.