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Barça have the opportunity to claim an historic second ‘treble’ as they attempt to add the Champions League title to the domestic league and cup double already claimed this season by Luis Enrique’s side. Standing in their way are Italian club Juventus, in their first final in the competition since 2003 and also looking to complete the Champions League, league and cup treble for the first time in La Vecchia Signora’s history. The stage is set for a battle between the two giants of European football which kicks off on Saturday at 8.45pm CET in the Olympiastadion in Berlin.
Luis Enrique’s squad trained on Friday for the final time at the Olympiastadion, the venue for the final game of the 2014/15 season, the Champions League final against Juventus. On Thursday the Barça boss revealed that he would be taking his entire squad plus Munir, Sandro and Samper from the B squad to Berlin for Saturday’s contest. Andrés Iniesta has been included in the squad after being substituted in the second half of last weekend’s Spanish Cup win over Athletic Club. The midfielder during the official UEFA Media Open Day in Barcelona on Tuesday revealed that “not being there on Saturday has not even crossed my mind.”
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has also named his squad for the club’s first final in 12 years. Missing is experienced defender Giorgio Chiellini after suffering a calf injury on Wednesday in training. Former Barça defender and Uruguayan international Martín Cáceres is also out after breaking his ankle back in February and Brazilian Rômulo will also be missing due to injury, However, veteran defender Andrea Barzagli has been passed fit after suffering a thigh strain on 23 May against Napoli in the league.
Barça coach Luis Enrique appeared relaxed in his appearance before the press at the Olympiastadion on Friday. The man from Asturias was cautiously optimistic ahead of the final against the Serie A champions: “The team is where I want it to be at this point with two trophies and the chance to make history.” The former Barça player also made it clear that the Champions League showpiece event would be much more than a clash of styles; “Juventus like to have the ball as well, even though they play well in their own half they have plenty else to offer.”
Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri in his press conference on Friday left no doubt as to where he placed the game’s significance in the overall scheme of things: “It’s the most important game of our lives, at least up until now. ” The Italian coach admitted that he believed there would be goals in the final: “We have thought about how to stop them. They are extraordinary, we have to be really at the top of our game and accept that it won’t end 0-0, so we will have to score at least once.”
Barça went on a nine game unbeaten streak in Europe before losing to Bayern Munich in the second of their semi-final. The 3-2 defeat in the Allianz Arena was academic in the end with the blaugranes reaching their first final since 2011 thanks to a 5-3 aggregate win against the side coached by former blaugrana boss Pep Guardiola. Since the game against the German champions, Barça have claimed the league title thanks to 1-0 win over Atlético Madrid in the penultimate weekend of the domestic campaign and the Spanish Cup. Their Copa del Rey title number 27 came courtesy of a spectacular 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou in a game that witnessed surely one of the best ever goals to have been seen in a Cup final.
Juventus are unbeaten in their last nine games in all competitions. They claimed their fourth successive Serie A title before they took on Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League where they overcame the holders 3-2 on aggregate over two legs. La Vecchia Signora are on for an unprecedented treble after also claiming the Coppa Italia for the first time in two decades courtesy of an extra time winner from striker Alessandro Matri against Lazio.
The two sides have not met in European competition since April 2003. That day an extra time goal from Uruguayan Zalayeta at Camp Nou gave the Italian a 2-1 win at Camp Nou, enough to send Juventus through to the semi-finals of the Champions League. following a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Turin. However, in their two other previous ties, Barça have prevailed. In the European Cup in 1986 a 1-1 draw in Italy saw the blaugranes through their quarter-final tie 2-1 on aggregate. Five years later a 3-1 in the first leg at home was enough to send Johan Cruyff’s team through to the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup despite a 1-0 defeat in the second leg in Italy.
No matter where you are in the world we have you covered. And remember, you can enjoy live commentary in English on Radio Barça. The link will appear at fcbarcelona.com just before kick-off. Twitter users can follow @FCBarcelona for a live feed of all the action.
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