Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund LIVE: Champions League final build-up, team news, line-ups and more

Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund LIVE: Champions League final build-up, team news, line-ups and more

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Borussia Dortmund sing Adele in changing room after reaching Champions League final

Real Madrid face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium tonight.

Los Blancos can win a 15th European crown, following a dramatic semi-final win over Bayern Munich, while BVB are bidding to win a second title on arguably the biggest stage in club football after upsetting Kylian Mbappe and PSG in the final four.

Vinicius Jr and Jude Bellingham are among the candidates for this year’s Ballon d’Or, knowing a win here paired with a fine performance could tip the balance their way ahead of Euro 2024 and the Copa America this summer.

While both teams have harnessed variety in their path to the final, relying on, at times, traditional No 9s in the shape of Joselu and Niclas Fullkrug.

In the dugout, Carlo Ancelotti can claim a fifth Champions League as a coach, with Edin Terzić looking to complete a famous journey from the Yellow Wall to the very top of European football with his boyhood club. Follow all the build-up, team news and latest updates from Wembley below:

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Thibaut Courtois in pole position to win battle for the gloves

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti may not have such a tough decision to make after all when it comes to picking a goalkeeper for this Champions League final.

Much of the pre-game talk has centered around whether Ancelotti will go with Andriy Lunin — who has played for most of the season and led the team to the final — or Thibaut Courtois, the veteran who has recently returned from a long-term knee injury.

Now Lunin is reportedly sick with the flu and said in a post on social media late on Thursday that he won’t “be able to prepare” for the final against Borussia Dortmund.

“I am very sad to say that I won’t be able to prepare for the most important game of the season and the most important game of my life with my team,” Lunin wrote on Instagram. “Many thanks for the messages of support and encouragement!”

Coach Ancelotti said on Monday that Lunin was running a fever and was unable to practice with his teammates. Lunin stayed in the Spanish capital while Madrid’s team flew to London on Friday. The club said that he would join the team on Saturday, hours before the game at Wembley Stadium.

Neither the player nor the club have publicly ruled out the possibility of him playing, but his illness could provide an opportunity for Courtois to end his season on a remarkable high after being sidelined for most of the campaign.

Thibaut Courtois is set to play in the final (Adam Davy/PA)
Thibaut Courtois is set to play in the final (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Archive)

Lawrence Ostlere1 June 2024 14:31

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Real Madrid have fashioned a world to suit themselves – but is it harming the rest of football?

Only Borussia Dortmund stand between Los Blancos extending their own European Cup record, writes Miguel Delaney. But is their domination good for football?

Florentino Perez couldn’t have it any other way. On Monday, after a Spanish court gave the latest ruling on the Super League case, those in the Real Madrid president’s circle were very quick to insist to everyone that the judgment actually represented a victory for the project. This was despite virtually every legal expert considering the outcome meaningless.

Uefa currently sees no real threat from this iteration of the Super League. You just wouldn’t have guessed that from the response in Spain, where it was roundly portrayed as yet another victory for Perez. This is what he has become used to, his ambitions almost willed into existence.

You only have to look at European football’s current landscape, one that now looks set to be dominated by Real Madrid for a decade. It makes it all the more of a wonder why Perez is seeking to destroy it through the Super League.

This Saturday, Madrid expect to win their 15th Champions League. That would be more than double AC Milan’s seven, the next most successful club, who have been left for dust by the greater winds of football history.

Lawrence Ostlere1 June 2024 14:14

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Claude Makelele tips Jude Bellingham for Ballon D’Or after ‘amazing’ season

Bellingham will have to perform for England if they are to have a successful tournament in Germany.

But Makelele believes boss Gareth Southgate has to take the reins off him.

“For England he can be great, it is important for him to play the way he does with Real Madrid,” he added.

“For the national team he needs to have the capacity for the manager to give him this possibility, to have the freedom he has at Real Madrid. All the quality he has for Real Madrid he can give to England, he will need his team-mates to defend him.

“He is a clever player and he will adapt to his team-mates in the national team.”

Lawrence Ostlere1 June 2024 13:59

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Claude Makelele tips Jude Bellingham for Ballon D’Or after ‘amazing’ season

The 20-year-old has had a remarkable debut season at the Bernabeu, scoring 23 goals in all competitions and could cap it off by winning the Champions League on home soil at Wembley tonight.

Few would have expected Bellingham to make such an impact during his first year in Spain and, with a strong performance for England at Euro 2024, Makelele thinks he could claim the biggest individual prize in the game.

“He is a future Ballon D’Or if he continues like this,” the Frenchman said. “He can take it, if he wins the Champions League and has a great Euros, I think he will be the winner of the Ballon D’Or.

“I am so impressed with what he has done. First with the quality he has, then the leadership and how he adapted to LaLiga and Madrid.

“No one has done this before. To do what he has done is amazing. A young player like this, he has many years of great football. Also for the national team it will be great to see him play.”

Jude Bellingham has been tipped to win the Ballon D’Or after a fine debut season at Real Madrid (Martin Rickett/PA)
Jude Bellingham has been tipped to win the Ballon D’Or after a fine debut season at Real Madrid (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

Lawrence Ostlere1 June 2024 13:50

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Bellingham wants to inspire next generation

Bellingham – who was speaking in his role as an ambassador for McDonald’s Fun Football, the largest free grassroots participation programme in the UK for children aged 5-11 – wants to help the next generation as well as win trophies.

He says major tournaments like this summer’s Euros provide the perfect platform for young people to fall in love with football, making it all the more important for England to succeed in Germany.

“I think they’re huge,” said Bellingham, who idolised Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard as a kid.

“That’s the thing growing up, everyone remembers a tournament or a certain game, most likely the big tournaments, those which made them fall in love with football or want to go out and play themselves.

“As England players that’s the responsibility we and I have now, whether we like it or not.

“And I think that’s why it’s important that as a country and as a team, we make a good account of ourselves on the big stage and make people proud to be English and proud to want to play football in this country.”

Lawrence Ostlere1 June 2024 13:36

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Jude Bellingham hoping for Champions League and Euro 2024 glory

Jude Bellingham is determined to help Real Madrid and England become kings of the continent as the midfielder looks to end a remarkable season on the highest of highs.

The 20-year-old has flourished since last summer swapping Germany for Spain, where he recently won LaLiga and was crowned the competition’s best player.

All eyes will be on Bellingham this weekend, especially as the pinnacle of European club football is swiftly followed by England going for continental glory at Euro 2024.

“For me the benchmark has always been winning trophies,” Bellingham said. “Playing well and scoring goals for club and country. I want to win and that has always been my mindset from the very first day.

“Off the pitch inspiring the future of the game and being a role model is something that is becoming more important to me – I see the impact I can have.”

Jude Bellingham is a central part of Real Madrid’s future
Jude Bellingham is a central part of Real Madrid’s future (Getty Images)

Lawrence Ostlere1 June 2024 13:27

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Key battles: Antonio Rudiger v Niclas Fullkrug

Germany centre-back Rudiger, who made his 100th appearance for Real Madrid last week, played a key role in their passage to the final after keeping a stranglehold on both Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane earlier in the knockout phase.

Rudiger has every attribute required for a world-class central defender and Fullkrug, a traditional centre forward, must look to pull Rudiger out of position so gaps appear for others.

Antonio Rudiger has become integral to Real Madrid’s defence
Antonio Rudiger has become integral to Real Madrid’s defence (AP)

Lawrence Ostlere1 June 2024 13:13

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Key battles: Jadon Sancho v Ferland Mendy

The latter’s pace is sure to keep Real right-back Dani Carvajal on his toes, but the bigger threat on the night could come from Sancho, who has plenty to prove on the Wembley stage after being loaned out by Manchester United.

Sancho appears back to his best and France left-back Ferland Mendy may have to think twice about bombing high up the other end of the pitch.

Jadon Sancho is enjoying life back at Dortmund
Jadon Sancho is enjoying life back at Dortmund (Getty Images)

Lawrence Ostlere1 June 2024 12:48

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Key battles: Vinicius Jr vs Julian Ryerson

Brazil forward Vinicius Junior scored his side’s winner in the 2022 final against Liverpool and his 31 Champions League goal contributions (goals and assists) over the last three seasons is more than any other player.

But Norway right-back Ryerson has been an outstanding one-on-one defender this season and impressively came out on top when asked to snuff out Kylian Mbappe’s threat in both legs of Dortmund’s semi-final win against Paris St Germain.

Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr could be the star of the show (Robert Perry/PA)
Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr could be the star of the show (Robert Perry/PA) (PA Wire)

Lawrence Ostlere1 June 2024 12:28

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Key battles: Jude Bellingham v Emre Can

Bellingham, who will face his former club, was voted LaLiga’s player of the season earlier this week after a stellar first year in the Spanish capital.

He could be the difference between the two sides unless kept in check by Dortmund’s deep-lying former Liverpool midfielder Can.

The German international cannot match Bellingham’s dynamism, but can head off the gaps in the final third, which the marauding Englishman thrives in.

Borussia Dortmund’s fairytale campaign has led them to Champions League final
Borussia Dortmund’s fairytale campaign has led them to Champions League final (Reuters)

Lawrence Ostlere1 June 2024 12:22

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