The showpiece event of the European football calendar is less than a month away. If you bought your tickets well in advance, you will be counting down the days. If not, you’ll be able to catch all the action, with live coverage on TV and online. However, we all know there’s nothing quite like being there in person, and it’s still not too late to get some last minute tickets.
Here we answer all your questions to help you prepare for the Champions League final.
If you’ve just returned from a few weeks away on an alien planet, you’ll need to know that this year’s combatants are Real Madrid and Liverpool. Real have practically made the Champions League their own in recent years and are looking to make it three years on the spin. Liverpool, however, are no strangers to Champions League glory themselves, having lifted the trophy five times over the years, the last time being in 2005 with that memorable win over AC Milan.
What’s the form like?
That’s an interesting question. On paper, Real are the team to beat, given their remarkable track record in the competition. Having said that, they came so close to being knocked out in both the quarters and the semifinals, nobody would call them a sure-fire winner. Liverpool, on the other hand, enjoyed a fantastic quarter-final victory over Manchester City, although they too had a wobble at the semi-final stage, squeezing through against Roma.
The bookmakers have Real as favourites but by the most slender of margins. It’s also worth bearing in mind that Real are potentially the team with the greater amount of pressure on their shoulders. A lacklustre performance on the domestic front means that Zinadine Zidane needs something for the fans and the shareholders to celebrate, or he might be looking for new pastures.
Where will the final take place?
The host for this year’s Champions League final is NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It’s the home of the mighty Dynamo Kiev, Ukraine’s most famous export (with the possible exception of garlic chicken). The stadium has a capacity of 63,000 and has seen some epic games over the years, including the Euro 2012 final, so it will certainly bring back memories for many of the Real fans.
Aren’t the tickets all sold out by now?
Champions League tickets went on sale through the UEFA website at an exorbitant price in limited quantities at and a limited timeframe. However, you can still buy cheap champions league final tickets online through official sellers, with prices starting at £1,159.00. With the weeks gradually turning into days, these are unlikely to be available for much longer, so it is a case of get them while you can.
How to get to Kiev?
There are daily flights to Kiev out of London Gatwick, and the total flight time is a little over four hours. Alternatively, you can fly from Manchester or Birmingham if you don’t mind hubbing through Amsterdam, Frankfurt or Istanbul. However, just like the tickets for the game, demand for flights will be high, so it’s worth shopping around the different sites such as Expedia or Kayak to see where to buy the best tickets at the most reasonable prices. It’s potentially worth making a long weekend of it to avoid the most popular flights immediately before and after the match.
What else is there to do in Kiev?
The city might conjure up images of Soviet austerity or war-torn chaos, but the reality of Kiev could not be further from the truth. It might not have the cosmopolitan air of a western European capital, but there is plenty to see and do, including the beautiful St Sophia Cathedral, situated close to Victory Square.
You will be spoilt when it comes to food and drink. You’ll find everything from traditional Russian fare to US-style fast food, and Ukraine has a distinct café culture, which is ideal for the informal footie fans.
The Champions Festival
The city will also be hosting the Champions Festival, a free-to-enter four-day celebration of football in general and the Champions League in particular. They are promising some big names from Champions League finals across the years, so now’s the chance to meet your boyhood heroes and get that long-awaited autograph.
What if I can’t make it to Kiev?
If you really can’t be there in person, you’ll be missing out on an amazing weekend. But at least you’ll be able to see every moment of the game on TV from the time it kicks off to the final whistle. UK coverage is in the hands of BT Sport. If you are unable to get to a TV, you can still catch the action thanks to the wonders of 21st technology – just install the BT Sport app and you can watch from your smartphone.