It was labelled a historic Champions League final by many and the two teams lived up to the expectations of supporters and bystanders alike by producing an entertaining game on a pleasant summer’s evening in Germany’s capital. On a less than favourable pitch at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, FC Barcelona got off to a flying start when Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic finished off a great passing combo that was initiated by Neymar and Iniesta on the left wing. Four minutes had gone by and Rakitic gave Juve goalkeeper Buffon no chance from ten metres. The Blaugrana were clearly boosted by the goal and took complete control of the game and created several high-profile chances through Neymar, Dani Alves, Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez. The Italians struggled to deal with the opposition during the first half and barely created anything valuable.
Essentially, Juventus were lucky to go into half time with only one goal down, mainly due to Barcelona failing to convert their opportunities and Buffon being in great form. After the break, Barca came out all guns blazing yet again and created some type of power-play, putting Juventus under immense pressure. However, the Blaugrana continued to waste great chances and out of nothing Juve did what many teams do in these situations, punish the wasteful nature of Barca’s game, when in the 55th minute Alvaro Morata followed up on a spilled Tevez shot and slotted in from five metres out.
Unlike in the 2011 final, when Rooney’s equalizer after half time failed to spark a better performance by Manchester United, Barcelona were rattled by Juventus’ equalizer and the Italians suddenly started creating several opportunities, with Dani Alves lucky not to concede a penalty in the 67th minute, after grabbing hold of Juve’s Paul Pogba in the box. The Italians, obviously unimpressed by referee Cakir’s decision not to point at the spot, failed to reclaim focus and conceded a heartbreaking goal a few seconds after the incident, when Suarez converted from five metres, after Buffon saved a Messi shot right into the Uruguayan’s path. Juventus seemed beaten and were grateful that referee Cakir spotted a handball by Neymar that ended up in the back of the net in the 71st minute.
Nevertheless, Juve failed to produce any more big chances, apart from two desperate attempts from Marchisio and Tevez respectively, with only few minutes remaining. It came even worse for the Italian champions, when Neymar finished off a counter-attack in the seventh minute of added time and left no doubt. The game did not even restart again and Barcelona started celebrating their second treble in six years, making them the only club to have ever achieved this. What is more, out of 31 Champions League goals Barcelona scored this term, 27 were supplied by either Messi, Neymar or Suarez, one of the most lethal strike forces ever seen.
Barcelona’s historic moment strangely fueled speculation about manager Luis Enrique’s future, as the Spaniard was not willing to confirm as to whether he would be managing the team next season. As for Juventus, getting to the final was testament to the club’s revival and a taste of things to come. If the Old Lady continues along this path, this will not be their last Champions League final appearances and there is a bright future in store for the Juve faithful. In any case, fans were treated to a great game and we look forward to the Champions League’s next edition.