Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Champions League final picks, predictions as Real Madrid face Dortmund: Jude Bellingham, Vini Jr. win it all

Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid play for the title at Wembley Stadium Saturday.

Real Madrid are the favorites to win a record 15th European title in London, and head to the British capital after an undefeated season in Champions League play. Their high-profile attack has taken center stage over the course of the campaign – Jude Bellingham emerged as the breakout star of the tournament with three goals and four assists, while each of Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Joselu have five goals.

Dortmund, meanwhile, are not to be underestimated after a Cinderella run to the final. They eye redemption 11 years after losing the final at Wembley to Bayern Munich and overcame a series of major hurdles along the way. They topped a group that included Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Newcastle United, later meeting PSG again in the semifinals and ousting the French champions. Dortmund come into the final with a strong defensive record, as goalkeeper Gregor Kobel leads the Champions League with six clean sheets, but also some attacking firepower in Marcel Sabitzer, who’s in charge of the assist charts with five.

Here’s what you need to know before the big game, including picks from experts across the CBS Sports team.

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Champions League final TV schedule

All times U.S./Eastern

Champions League semifinal picks

Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid

One matchup to watch – Vinicius Junior vs. Julian Ryerson and Karim Adeyemi: The Borussia Dortmund right flank might be forgiven for skipping over the tape from Real Madrid’s semifinal win over Bayern Munich when the time comes to prepare for their forthcoming opponent. No one really needs to be shown how cruelly effective Vinicius can be when he gets the scent of weak prey. Real Madrid’s No.7 has been in devastating form over recent months, saving his most decisive contributions for the biggest games with assists and goals in the triumphs over Manchester City and Bayern. Dortmund did a fine job of slowing but not stopping the advance of Paris Saint-Germain’s wide forwards in the semifinals, but they will be tested once more come Saturday night. — James Benge

Most likely to score a goal – Jude Bellingham: It feels written that the former Dortmund man will come back to haunt his ex-employers. Although Vini Jr. would be another good shout for this, the England international scoring a goal to seal Real’s latest UCL crown and throwing down the gauntlet to Kylian Mbappe at the same time feels like the most probable scenario. Up against Los Blancos’ firepower, it is hard to see Dortmund’s rock solid defense resisting over 90 minutes. – Jonathan Johnson

Man of the Match pick – Jude Bellingham: I’m going to go along with Jonathan here as all signs point to this being the Jude Bellingham show. Playing his former team in front of home fans in England, Bellingham will not only score the winner for Real Madrid but he’ll also put in a defensive shift to help contain Dortmund’s attack. Already having one of the best debut seasons for a new club that we’ve seen, Bellingham will end it on the ultimate high winning the UCL final.  – Chuck Booth

Match prediction: Real Madrid are the leading favorites to win their 15th Champions League trophy, but Borussia Dortmund should not be underestimated, considering the importance of the final. The Spanish giants, thanks to the work of Carlo Ancelotti, can make history at Wembley and this is what I expect to happen. PICK: Real Madrid 2, BVB 0.   – Francesco Porzio

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