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Ranking potential Champions League finals as Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund advance

With the semifinalists officially set for this season’s UEFA Champions League, the countdown to the June 1 final at London’s Wembley Stadium is officially underway — and could feature several of the sport’s biggest stars.

Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund were the first teams to book their spots to the last four when they ousted Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, respectively, on Tuesday. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, meanwhile, punched their tickets on Wednesday, with Manchester City and Arsenal going home in the process.

The semifinalists set up for several fascinating matchups in the final, though naturally some are more exciting prospects than others. Here’s a ranking of the potential finales to this season’s Champions League, all of which are poised to entertain.

4. Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid

One of these matchups has to rank lowest, but this potential final makes its way to last place fairly easily. Real Madrid might be the favorites to win this competition regardless of the opponent, but Dortmund are unquestionably the underdogs of the final four. A win for La Liga’s leaders would feel like a foregone conclusion well before kickoff, even if many would enjoy watching Dortmund pull of the upset.

3. Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich

Bayern would also enter this game as the favorites, but the interesting thing about this potential final is that Thomas Tuchel’s side have been remarkably inconsistent this season. The Champions League has been a saving grace in a season that would otherwise not be worth remembering, which included a 2-0 loss to Dortmund last month. There’s also the sentimental value of the domestic matchup at Wembley, since the last time the venue hosted the Champions League final it featured both of these teams. Bayern took home the trophy that day, and if they are in the final this time around, they could do so again to avoid the prospect of their first trophyless season in more than a decade. Oh, and there’s that little angle of Tuchel having made his name as Dortmund’s manager. 

2. Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayern Munich

Having two of Europe’s super clubs in the final feels like the most appropriate thing for a Champions League final, especially when considering the stars on each side. Two of the game’s top goalscorers — Kylian Mbappe and Harry Kane — would be duking it out for their first Champions League titles. The added levels of intrigue to this final includes Kane possibly hoisting his first major trophy in his home city and the prospect of Mbappe ending his farewell tour on the ultimate high.

One more thing worth considering that could knock this matchup down the list — this has been the trophy PSG have fervently chased since Qatar Sports Investments took the club over more than a decade ago. If they won it a year after City did, it would only add to the concerns around investments in the game by sovereign wealth funds, who seem to be the biggest power players in the sport at this point.

1. Paris Saint-Germain vs. Real Madrid

This final would also have the billing of PSG’s potential clash with Bayern in which two of Europe’s top clubs battle for the continent’s biggest title. The biggest narrative hovering over this Champions League season, though, has been Mbappe’s future, so perhaps the most appropriate ending would see his current team take on the side he’s expected to join before the summer’s over. It would be hard to predict how it would shake out, but the final result would linger as a narrative for Mbappe’s next season regardless of where he ends up.

The point about PSG winning still stands, though, which could add a less-than-glamorous veneer to this season of the Champions League when all is said and done.

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