We’re in the Atatürk Stadium for the season’s climax, the biggest game of this calendar year, the highly anticipated and consistently brilliant UEFA Champions League final.
This season, two of our partners will go head to head… newly crowned triple Premier League champions Manchester City, taking on Coppa Italia winners FC Internazionale. Let’s look at their roads to Istanbul and some main talking points for this season’s UEFA Champions League final.
When is the UEFA Champions League Final?
Get match-ready on Saturday 10th June 2023:
Manchester City FC V FC Internazionale
Atatürk Stadium, Istanbul
21:00 CEST Kick Off
The venue: The Ataturk Stadium, Istanbul
The beauty of the UEFA Champions League final is that it takes place in a pre-determined stadium, which is more often than not a neutral destination. This season we’re in Istanbul, a city which is football crazy, famed for intense rivalries in the Süper-Lig.
This iconic coliseum echoes with the cheers of passionate fans, creating an electrifying atmosphere like no other. Its hallowed turf has witnessed unforgettable moments of football glory, etching itself into the annals of sporting history. Get ready for an adrenaline-fueled spectacle that will leave you breathless! With a seating capacity of approximately 76,761, it boasts an expansive field surrounded by state-of-the-art facilities. Fans are up for a treat!
Manchester City’s road to the UEFA Champions League Final
We’ve frankly run out of superlatives to describe this Manchester City side. Pep Guardiola is building a machine, and, seemingly equipped with a robot on site in Erling Braut Haaland, they seem unstoppable.
In the Premier League, everyone was surprised and excited by Arsenal’s impressive lead by February, but once Manchester City’s motor started purring, there was no stopping it. They overcame a 10-point deficit to claim the Premier League title for the third season in a row, an achievement only matched by Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United. Few weeks, Manchester City beat rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final, and are now on a hunt for a treble… the Treble. The same one won by Manchester United in 1999, the same one won by FC Internazionale in 2010. It’s not going to be easy, but check this out: they are undefeated in the UEFA Champions League so far this season. They cruised through the group stages, waltzed through the round of 16 and quarter-final, skipped & hopped over Real Madrid in the semis. Now they intend to dance in the final!
Imagine this, they have scored 17 goals in the knockout stages of this competition this season. We almost lost count, 7-0 v Leipzig, 3-0 v Bayern Munich, 4-0 v Real Madrid… we already mentioned the robot, right? Get your popcorn ready!
FC Internazionale’s road to the UEFA Champions League Final
FC Internazionale’s season was a strange one by their standards. As SSC Napoli raced away with the Scudetto, Inter’s sluggish start made them a little unpredictable. However, as soon as the turn of the calendar year, we saw them gain strength, climbing up the Serie A league table to a guaranteed top 4 finish, while winning the Coppa Italia. That was their second trophy of the season, having won the Super Coppa in the early phase of the season.
So, like Manchester City, they hunt for a treble of trophies, and getting to the UEFA Champions League final is never an easy achievement.
Indeed, they only lost two of their group stage matches in the group of death consisting of FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Viktoria Plzen. Emerging from that group was not easy, especially given the way Bayern Munich rolled Inter over in the first group stage match. There is something about this squad though that digs deep and doesn’t give up. They are stubborn, strong and hungry, so be aware of that, Cityzens.
FC Inter cruised through the Round of 16 and Quarterfinals, overcoming Porto and Portuguese champions Benfica to book a date with city rivals AC Milan in the semi-finals.
It is in those matches that we finally saw the true side of FC Internazionale. They were simply unplayable, winning 3-0 on aggregate, barely giving defending Serie A champions AC Milan a sniff. They merited their spot in the UEFA Champions League final, and we can’t wait to see what version of the Nerazzurri will show up in Istanbul.
Memorable UEFA Champions League finals
Well, we can not talk about the UEFA Champions League final without rolling back the years and re-living some of the most epic finals throughout the years. No one will forget Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 1999 winning goal in stoppage time, Liverpool’s Jerzy Dudek’s penalty heroics in 2005, Zinedine Zidane’s 2002 volley for Real Madrid v Leverkusen and of course, Gareth Bale’s wonderful overhead kick against Liverpool in 2018.
Yes, we’ve been blessed. This final always delivers and we’re excited to see what’s in store on Saturday 10th June. After all, both team sheets are stacked with stars.
The “Fergie Time” Drama in 1999
The 1999 UEFA Champions League final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich is etched in football folklore. Trailing 1-0 as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, Manchester United conjured an extraordinary late turnaround. Two injury-time goals, including Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s iconic winner, sealed a thrilling 2-1 victory. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side clinched a historic treble, leaving fans awestruck by the sheer drama and resilience on display.
The “Miracle” of Istanbul of 2005
The 2005 UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan remains one of the most dramatic matches in history. Trailing 3-0 at halftime, Liverpool orchestrated an astounding comeback, scoring three goals in a remarkable six-minute span. With the match tied, Liverpool emerged victorious in a nerve-wracking penalty shootout, securing their fifth European crown in breathtaking fashion.
The Madrid Derby Showdown of 2014
The 2014 UEFA Champions League final saw city rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid lock horns in a fiercely contested battle. Atletico held a 1-0 lead deep into injury time, poised to claim their first European crown. However, Sergio Ramos’ last-gasp equalizer forced extra time. Real Madrid capitalized on the momentum, scoring three more goals to secure a 4-1 victory. It was a pulsating encounter showcasing the intensity and unpredictability of football’s biggest stage.
These unforgettable finals epitomize the magic and excitement that the UEFA Champions League brings, leaving fans and neutrals alike in awe of the captivating drama that unfolds on the grandest stage of European club football.
Of course, one team has dominated this tournament before, but Manchester City humbled them 4-0 in the second leg of the semi-final, so they’ll be going into this final with a chip on their shoulder, one which FC Internazionale will have to overcome.
Will this season’s UEFA Champions League final be a classic? It’s got all the ingredients for one, so let’s hope the stars align in Istanbul!
Roll of Honour: All UEFA Champions League Winners
Over the years, there have been 22 different UEFA Champions League winners from 10 different countries. The most successful team in the history of this continental competition is Real Madrid C.F., the team from the Spanish capital has an idyll with this competition and has won the title on 14 occasions.
List of UEFA Champions League Winners:
|1955-56||Real Madrid||Stade de Reims|
|1958-59||Real Madrid||Stade de Reims|
|1959-60||Real Madrid||Eintracht Frankfurt|
|1973-74||Bayern Munich||Atlético Madrid|
|1974-75||Bayern Munich||Leeds United|
|1978-79||Nottingham Forest||Malmö FF|
|1979-80||Nottingham Forest||Hamburger SV|
|1981-82||Aston Villa||Bayern Munich|
|1990-91||Red Star Belgrade||Marseille|
|1998-99||Manchester United||Bayern Munich|
|2001-02||Real Madrid||Bayer Leverkusen|
|2012-13||Bayern Munich||Borussia Dortmund|
|2013-14||Real Madrid||Atlético Madrid|
|2015-16||Real Madrid||Atlético Madrid|
|2019-20||Bayern Munich||Paris Saint-Germain|
|2022-23||Let’s find out!|