After perhaps the most remarkable Champions League campaign in the tournament’s history, just two teams are left standing as Liverpool face Real Madrid in the showpiece final at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday night.
Moved to the French capital from St. Petersburg in Russia due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, this will be the second time Saint-Denis hosts the European Cup final having entertained Barcelona and Arsenal in 2006, as La Blaugrana came from behind to lift ‘Ol Big Ears’.
Of slight irony, this weekend’s meeting is a repeat of the Champions League final from 2018 in Kyiv, where Los Blancos came from a goal down to win 3-1, with Gareth Bale netting a brace from the bench including a memorable acrobatic effort to swing the tie in the favour of the Madrid side.
So where is the smart money here?
Real Madrid’s route to the final has of course been something of a rollercoaster journey. Involved in 6-5 and 5-4 aggregate wins over English opposition in both the semi-finals and quarter-finals, Carlo Ancelotti’s men have once again become box office viewing scoring goals for fun but also masterminding incredible comebacks this term. Does another thriller look on the cards here? All the indicators point ‘yes’.
Looking first at the outright markets, prices continue to fluctuate – particularly for the Reds. Having been as short as 8/15 earlier this week, Jurgen Klopp’s men are currently 11/10 with 10Bet and QuinnBet after moving out from evens earlier on Thursday. The bookies are starting to see money for Real Madrid but the La Liga winners can still be had at 8/5 with SBK to lift a remarkable fifth European Cup in nine seasons.
Could we see another 3-1 scoreline, or indeed and four-goal thriller in Paris? Both prices for a 3-1 result are more than worth a look. Whilst Liverpool are 16/1 with William Hill, their Spanish opponents are almost double that price at 31/1 with SBK. Playing it a little safer, over 3.5 goals is very decent value at a treble-your-money 2/1 with Bet365.
Returning to the subject of comebacks, having been two goals down against both PSG and Man City in recent games Real are 14/1 with SkyBet to repeat that feat.
The individual scorers market is also looking appealing. Liverpool still have fitness question marks over Mohamed Salah, so turning instead to Sadio Mane could be smart. For the Senegalese to net first, 13/2 odds with SkyBet, William Hill, PariMatch and BetVictor looks real value. Real Madrid’s hero against Manchester City meanwhile, Rodrygo, is 19/4 with Betway, however, his in-play value will be one to watch. Finally, Luis Diaz has taken like a duck to water in the Merseysiders’ set-up and carrying a sizeable threat himself, can be snagged to score at 5/2 with UniBet.
From a Karim Benzema point of view, the red-hot Frenchman has netted in the last five European games on route to the final and the veteran striker has been as good with his head as with his feet. To score a header in the final, Benzema is an inviting 8/1 boost with Betway, or to have just 1+ headed SOT is 7/2 with Betfair.
To round things off, it seems unlikely given the European goalscoring form both teams are in but even if the goals do not fly, it is hard not to see the shots rain down on goal. Looking at a 5/1 shot with SkyBet for both teams to have 2+ SOT in each half, that seems far from implausible.