Real Madrid: The Unstoppable Force in European Soccer

Real Madrid, coached by Carlo Ancelotti, continues to dominate European club soccer, aiming for a record-extending 15th European Cup. Their extraordinary comebacks add to their mystique, making them overwhelming favorites in the Champions League. Borussia Dortmund faces the daunting task of overcoming Madrid's rich history and formidable squad.

PTI | London | Updated: 01-06-2024 09:13 IST | Created: 01-06-2024 09:13 IST
Real Madrid: The Unstoppable Force in European Soccer
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Whatever you call it, just don't call it luck.

Real Madrid has dominated European club soccer's biggest prize like no other. Coach Carlo Ancelotti was asked on the eve of the Champions League final if he could explain it.

"There is something special in this club. It is important to study this," Ancelotti said on Friday. "It is something special. For what reason I don't know. History, conditions, quality of the players, character ... it happened so many times it cannot be coincidence." Borussia Dortmund will face in Saturday's final at Wembley Stadium a club that never seems to read the clock, that never seems to say die, and repeatedly defies the odds to pull off improbable comebacks in a competition it prizes above all others.

The most recent was substitute Joselu's two-goal cameo in the dying stages of the semifinal against Bayern Munich when the 14-time European champion was minutes away from elimination.

Two years ago, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City were undone by some of Madrid's most memorable fightbacks. Madrid went on to win the trophy in 2022 having trailed in every round from the round of 16 through to the semifinals. "We would prefer to start (the match) winning," captain Nacho said. "We also suffer on the pitch when we are losing." Those spectacular comebacks just add to the mystique that surrounds Madrid and the Champions League. Victory against Dortmund would earn a record-extending 15th European Cup. Ancelotti, himself, can set a new benchmark with a record-extending fifth Champions League trophy as a coach.

The message is clear; Dortmund will not only be battling Madrid 's team of stars on the field, but the weight of history as well. And Madrid's players are all too happy to feed the legend. "Everyone that likes football knows Real Madrid is a special team in this competition," Nacho said. "We haven't invented that. When the (Champions League) anthem sounds, we feel a special feeling. It is something special to win so many trophies, but also big responsibility." Madrid is the overwhelming favorite to win a ninth title of the Champions League era and a second in the last three seasons. Standing in its way is a Dortmund team that finished fifth in the German league and 27 points short of champion Bayer Leverkusen.

But Dortmund's one Champions League trophy was also an upset in 1997 when it beat defending champion Juventus. "We are ready to compete at the highest level," coach Edin Terzic said. "Maybe if you play 10 times against Real Madrid, it is very difficult. If you play 34 times, it's impossible. But if you break it down to one game, a final, everything is possible.

"It is clear they have a role as favorites. We don't care." Dortmund secured its place in the final with surprise wins against Atletico Madrid and PSG in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

This is its third final after losing to Bayern Munich, also at Wembley, in 2013. "If we are brave and ready to show that we are not here to see how Real Madrid lift the next trophy, if we are here to give them a game, then we have a chance," Terzic said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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