There would be a gulf in soccer history without the two clubs competing in the final of the UEFA Champions League, Juventus and Barcelona. And these two are about to put themselves on the better side of history, as they stand about 120 minutes away from a 2015 treble.
If Juventus win, it would be their first ever treble, but the odds are against them as they are clearly the unlikelier team to win the Berlin battle. If wishes were trebles, Juventus would definitely get one on Saturday.
Here are the reasons why Juventus may get their highly sought-after treble:
Juventus have lost their last three Champions League finals, while Barcelona have won their last three finals.
Of the six European cup/champions league finals between an Italian side and a Spanish one, the Italian sides have won just twice.
Barcelona have scored eight goals in the last 15 minutes of Champions League games this season – more than any other side.
For the first time in the Champions League, a team has two players with at least nine goals scored in a single Champions League season (Neymar and Lionel Messi for Barcelona).
Suarez, Neymar and Messi have scored 25 goals in this Champion’s league campaign while Juventus, as a team, have scored just 15.
Caveat: Barcelona and Juventus have met eight times in Europe, with the latter winning four, losing two and keeping a stalemate in two.
It difficult to say what both teams have to lose if they concede victory to the other team. But a look at what they have to gain makes it clear.
Barcelona: A win for Barcelona would mean another treble in less than 10 years – a feat to seal their place as Europe’s greatest since the turn of the millennium.
A win for the Catalans would mean a fourth champions league trophy for Xavi, Iniesta and Messi, bringing them to the ranks of Clarence Seedorf – the only player to have won four UCL trophies.
A win for Barcelona would be their 5th UCL trophy, earning them an official ‘respect’ badge as with Real Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Liverpool’s champions’ league jersey.
A win for Barcelona would be a glorious exit for Xavi, after close to three decades of loyalty to the Spanish side.
A goal for Messi would see him become the only player in football history to have score in three UCL finals and overtake Cristiano Ronaldo to become the competition’s all-time top scorer. They both currently stand on 77 goals.
Juventus: A loss for Massimiliano Allegri’s side would be their sixth loss in eight UCL finals. A win would amount to clinching their first ever treble in the club’s 121-year history.
A win would be a lovely and historic exit for veteran midfielder, Andrea Pirlo.
Juventus also have to prove the pundits wrong – everyone seems to have given the game to Barcelona. In fact Buffon, when told, Barcelona were favourites, he conceded saying; “They have Messi, Neymar and Suárez, plus Iniesta in midfield – of course they are favourites.”
What to expect?
A likely line-up featuring Buffon, Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Evra, Marchisio, Pirlo, Pogba, Vidal, Morata and Tevez in a 4-3-1-2 formation.
A likely line-up showing Ter Stegen, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba, Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta, Messi, Suarez, Neymar in a 4-1-2-3 formation.
A goal from Messi, superb saves from Buffon, breakaway runs from Teves and a few surprises here and there.
Whatever the case eventually, history would be made on Saturday night at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany, as Turkey’s Cüneyt Çakır takes the centre line at 7:45pm (British time).