Real Madrid :Only Juventus stand between Real Madrid becoming the first side in the history of the Champions League to successfully defend the trophy.
The two sides meet in the final at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday, with Zinedine Zidane’s men targeting their 12th triumph in European football’s most prestigious competition.
But Serie A champions Juventus will provide a stern challenge. Their run to the final has outlined their credentials as one of Europe’s finest sides, knocking out Barcelona before stifling free-scoring Monaco to reach the showpiece match in Wales.
Sportsmail looks at key areas where the match can be won and lost.
Madrid could become the first side to defend the Champions League trophy
The emergence of Paulo Dybala has been the catalyst to Juventus reaching this season’s final.
He put Barcelona to the sword with two magnificent finishes in the first leg of their quarter-final in April. The 23-year-old has scored 19 goals in 47 appearances so far this season with four strikes in the Champions League.
But his movement and link-up play alongside the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Juan Cuadrado that is so influential for Juve’s forward play.
In a No 10 role, Dybala is cornerstone of it whoever Zidane tasks with stopping the Argentina international will have one of the key roles of the encounter.
Paulo Dybala scored twice as Juventus knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League
ALVES VS MARCELO
The two Brazilian full-backs play a pivotal role in both sides. For Madrid, Marcelo has become an imperative member of Zidane’s starting XI and enjoyed arguably his finest season to date at the Bernabeu.
The plaudits for Madrid’s 4-2 second leg win over Bayern went to hat-trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo but Marcelo’s display was equally as outstanding on the left flank, perfectly blending defensive responsibilities with forward bombardments.
In Cardiff, he will be coming up against Alves, who signed for Juventus on a two-year contract last June and has been so impressive for Massimiliano Allegri’s side, team-mate Leonardo Bonucci described him as ‘alien’.
Like Marcelo, Alves styles himself as an attacking full-back. The pair will be wary of leaving space for the other to exploit and with both teams boasting strong attacks, their defensive roles will also be as crucial as ever.
Dani Alves has become an integral part of the Juventus defence since joining last year
He will come up against Brazil compatriot Marcelo, who has had a fine season at Madrid
MADRID WIN MORE WITH ISCO
Gareth Bale’s lack of fitness is likely to mean that Isco starts for Madrid. And believe it or not, they could be better for it.
With Isco, Madrid have a 75 per cent winning record, compared to 54 with Bale. And Ronaldo averages 1.08 goals a game with Isco creating around him, compared to 0.46 when Bale lines up with him.
Madrid also average 2.58 goals a game with the Spaniard, and 2.5 with Bale.
Madrid have a better winning record when Isco is in the team and not Gareth Bale
JUVE’S MEAN DEFENCE
For all of the attacking merits the Italian champions have, their side is one built on a sensational defence.
Between them, Gianluigi Buffon, Alves, Bonucci, Georgio Chiellini and Alex Sandro have only conceded three goals in the tournament all season.
Ronaldo and co will have to succeed where fierce rivals Barcelona, and Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar failed if they are to win the trophy for the second straight season.
Gianluigi Buffon has been part of a defence which has only conceded three times in Europe
KHEDIRA VS KROOS
Two German midfielders could have a huge sway on how much of a foothold either side gets on the match.
Sami Khedira has returned from injury for Juventus and could start against his former club on Saturday. The defensive midfielder will not only have to nullify Isco but his German compatriot Toni Kroos.
The 27-year-old playmaker is a key cog in the centre of the Madrid midfield alongside Luka Modric and if he conducts the tempo of proceedings on Saturday, it will be hard for Juventus to emerge victorious.
Sami Khedira has returned from injury for Juventus and could start against his former club
Khedira will come up against fellow German midfielder Toni Kroos, of Madrid