A season marked by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the shock waves of the attempt to create a pro-independence Superliga culminates on Saturday, when Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea face off in a Champions League final in England in Porto.
It is the third final of Europe’s elite club competition to be played between two Premier League teams and the second in just three seasons.
Have either team ever won the Champions League?
Chelsea have already had the experience of this stage in Europe, after defeating Bayern Munich on penalties in the 2012 final. They have also won the Europa League twice since then.
Manchester City make their first final appearance in the Champions League.
But the two bosses are not new at this stage. City’s Spanish boss, Pep Guardiola, wants to win the Champions League for the third time after leading Barcelona to victory in 2009 and 2011.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is looking for his first success in the Champions League. Last season, the German led Paris St-Germain to the final, losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich.
How have both sides performed this season?
City won the English Premier League and League Cup, the third in a row and the fifth in seven seasons.
Chelsea, meanwhile, finished fourth in the league and lost the FA Cup final to Leicester.
Chelsea beat City twice this season, 1-0 in the FA Cup semi-finals and 2-1 in the Premier League on 8 May. But City defeated the Blues in London 3-1 in January.
What time is the start?
The start will take place on Saturday 29 May at 21:00 (19:00 GMT).
𝗪𝗔𝗟𝗟 𝗢𝗙 𝗖𝗛𝗔𝗠𝗣𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦! 🏆
– UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 27, 2021
Where is the final played?
The final will be held at the Estadio do Dragao, home of FC Porto. It was originally intended for the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, but COVID-19 restrictions meant that UEFA decided to change venues earlier this month.
Why are the locals angry?
The last-minute decision to relax the safety rules of the COVID-19 for the final has infuriated the locals, as on Friday night hundreds of English fans who were not wearing masks filled the bars on the Porto River.
Some Porto residents fear an increase in infections due to the highly contagious coronavirus variant, which spreads to some areas of England after it was first identified in India.
Others are upset that foreign fans may enter the stadium, but locals are banned from attending matches for months.
“It simply came to our notice then [the stadiums] for the English, they should open [them] for everyone, ”said Alexandre Magalhaes, walking around Porto, full of fans.
A Twitter user wrote, “It’s a shame for everyone to continue to meet health standards.”
Is the fan allowed inside the stadium?
Up to 16,500 fans (with a 33 percent capacity of the stadium) are allowed inside the stadium for the final.
Each side was assigned 6,000 tickets for their fans. A further 1,700 tickets were then made available to the general public.
𝒘𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒊𝒕 𝒎𝒆𝒂𝒏 𝒕𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖? 💙
🔊 Sound on!
– Manchester City (@ManCity) May 28, 2021
What about the winners?
A trophy that is 73.5 cm tall and weighs 7.5 kg (16.5 lbs).
Both sides have already qualified for next season’s tournament by virtue of their league position.
Will there be VAR?
How many substitutions are allowed?
Five. If the final, such as the UEFA Europa League, goes into overtime, both sides will be allowed a sixth.
What is the local team?
Manchester City after a draw in March.
“Massive opportunity” for Chelsea
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta urged his teammates to make history and prove wrong to all those who doubted the value of the team during the season.
“We know this is a great opportunity. It took nine years to get back to a Champions League final for the club, so it’s really a great opportunity for everyone, ”the Spanish defender said.
– Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 28, 2021
“We have won very good teams, we have had very good performances. And it’s the last step and we want to do it.
“Maybe a lot of people doubted this group, this club, but we are back in the Champions League final and now all we have to do is leave everything for tomorrow. We want to make history and we have it ahead of us.”
City ‘will suffer to win the final’
Meanwhile, Guardiola believes his team will have to “suffer” if they want to beat Chelsea.
“I’m pretty sure we have to suffer to win the final,” he said at a news conference Friday.
“Most of the time in the finals you have to suffer. You have to be resilient. Adjust to the bad times that will pass. In the end we have to be ourselves and make a good game.
“Everyone will manage it in their own way.”