So here we are – almost a year since we began our #UCLAwayDays journey, we’ve arrived in Milan for the biggest game in club football.
Without getting too misty-eyed and nostalgic – let’s save the tears for tomorrow – here’s a rundown of our favourite ever Champions League finals. Will tomorrow night compare? We can only dream …
7. 2001 – Bayern Munich 1-1 Valencia (Bayern Munich win 5-4 on penalties)
Milan is the stage for Saturday’s dramatics, but in 2001 the San Siro also played host to this gut-wrenching all-penalty affair. Both goals of the game came from the spot, and in the ensuing head-to-head it was Oliver Kahn’s mighty German palms that guided Bayern’s hands onto the trophy.
6. 2002 – Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Real Madrid
The only thing you really need to know about this game: it’s THAT Zidane goal. No doubt those memories will be bouncing around his lovely shiney head as he watches from the sidelines on Saturday…
5. 1997 – Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Juventus
Dortmund’s first Champions League trophy came paired with the sweet taste of revenge, as they dented Juventus 3-1 in Munich to ease the pain of their 1992/93 UEFA Cup Final defeat to the Old Lady.
4. 2006 – Arsenal 1-2 Barcelona
As much as it pains us, Barcelona’s spirited comeback to dash Arsene’s hopes of a Champions League trophy was a classic final. And who can really hate Henrik Larsson anyway … The scamp.
3. 2008 – Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United (Manchester United win 6-5 on penalties)
An all-English Champions League final is a laughably distant memory now, but England’s occupation of the world stage burned brightly, with Man Utd pipping Chelsea to the title after goals from Ronaldo and Drogba forced an intense penalty shoot-out. Not one that John Terry will have forgotten by now …
2. 1996 – Ajax 1-1 Juventus (Juventus win 4-2 on penalties)
After knocking out AC Milan in their preceding semi-final, Ajax came up against an insurmountable Old Lady at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, with Edgar Davids missing the crucial penalty against his future side. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
1. 2005 – AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties)
What more can be said about this game? Arguably one of the greatest of all time, it seems to pop up almost constantly – and if you’re anything like us, you won’t be able to help watching it when it does. So take 10 minutes out of your day and savour just how good the Champions League can be …