THE BLOG

European Football's Elite Three

05/06/2015 10:28 BST | Updated 04/06/2016 10:59 BST

Have we ever had it this big? Two top clubs with two top teams in a top stadium. This year's Champions League Final has it all.

On Saturday Barcelona and Juventus will battle it out for Europe's top price at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. It almost seems too good to be true. It's what some people would call 'a proper European Cup final'.

Barcelona are one of the most iconic clubs in the world and are eying up their fifth European crown. Not only are they an elite club in Europe, so is their team. Another domestic title is in the bag for this current crop as they aim for their second treble led by the masterful Lionel Messi.

Juventus is Italy's top club. Ok, AC Milan fans may point to the Rossoneri's seven european cup triumphs, but Juve have won almost more than double the domestic titles any other side has. 'The Old Lady' has come back from some pretty rough times during the late noughties but after dominating Italian football once again they are back in the hunt for European success.

Then to Berlin, the capital of current world champions Germany. The Olympiastadion is a grand stadium which such rich history. The attendance will be a large 74,000 who will look over the athletic track to the action on the field. This is also where Italy won the World Cup in 2006.

This is football at its very best. It will be an elitist final. Despite the final nearly always being contested by if not one but two top European heavyweights, in front of some of the grandest stages across the continent, this occurrence has arguably only happened a few times.

In this century only one, possibly two, finals could be seen as one which had two big clubs with dominating teams at a famous stadium. If there would be two then both had the same teams playing in them. Barcelona's two victories over Manchester United in 2009 and 2011 pitted two domestic champions at the top of their game. Wembley was a fitting host in 2011 but the Manchester United side of the time were nowhere near as good as the then current European kings of 2009 in the Stadio Olympico in Rome.

Manchester United were also involved in the last one before that. Barcelona may not have been playing but their iconic Camp Nou played host to Sir Alex Ferguson's side finally adding European success to his sides domestic dominance over the mighty Bayern Munich in 1999.

This followed Real Madrid's 1-0 win over Juventus in 1998 in Amsterdam but that was the first 'elite final' in a very long time. Looking through the previous finals, there has been some big clashes between top sides but not in the stadium worthy of being called one of the best in the world. In fact there only seems to be one more match that could be seen as having two of the best teams at that time in one of the best stadiums around. Again it involves Manchester United.

1968 at Wembley saw the Matt Busby complete the comeback from the Munich air disaster and win the European Cup for his side. This came against a Benfica team who won eight of the ten Portuguese titles in the 60s and had one of the best players in the world on their side, Eusebio.

So that makes just five matches out of 60 where we have seen a true gladiatorial battle in one of the world's finest stages. It will take a Herculean effort for either side to win their next European Cup and both sides have the quality to do something very special on Saturday night. When we all sit down to watch this years final we could be witnessing a match that could be one of the finest we have seen.