Will it be Wembley triumph for Barcelona or Manchester United?
Due to the nature of the Champions League final, and indeed the European Cup, it is likely that the big teams will all have some form of history with the major stadiums. Manchester United need no introduction to Wembley Stadium, the scene of a great number of their domestic triumphs but it has also been the venue for one of the club´s greatest night´s in Europe.
In saying that, the famous London stadium has also played host to one of the most special night´s in Barcelona´s history, with both clubs winning their first big Cup at the stadium with the famous twin towers. These towers may be long gone, replaced with an arch in the redevelopment of the stadium but the memories of these triumphs still live large.
United the first English team to win the big cup
Manchester United became the first English team to win the European Cup in 1968, one year after Celtic pipped them to become the first British team to rule Europe. United faced off against the might of Benfica, led by the majesty of Eusebio, but in the end, the Portuguese side were no match for a United side at the top of their game.
It was a fitting achievement by United manager Matt Busby, who was in charge when the great United team of the late 1950´s suffered one of the most heart-breaking tragesies when their plane crashed in Munich, losing so many of a such a highly skilled team. Many observers believed that United, led by the heroic Duncan Edwards, would have had a great chance of triumphing in Europe if that team didnt suffer in the way they did.
There were many tears at Wembley when United turned in 4-1 win after extra-time but these were tears as much as they were of remembering their former heroes.
Barca finally lifted the cup that Madrid seemed to own
United were to wait a long while for their second Champions League triumph, which came in that dramatic injury time win over Bayern Munich. However, their opponents in this years Champions League final didnt first claim the cup until the early 1990s.
You can imagine the desperation of Barcelona fans to win the European Cup, the trophy their fierce rivals Real Madrid almost owned exclusively in the early days of the tournament. When Barcelona travelled to the London capital, they had the hopes and dreams of every Catalan football fan on their shoulders.
The dream team, led by Johan Cruyff, got there in the end, tasting victory with Ronald Koeman delivering a trade-mark smash shot that split the teams in extra-time. Barcelona wore their away kit for this triumph but in going up to collect the European Cup, they changed into their world famous blue and red stripes and lifted one monkey off their back.
Both clubs have 3 victories to their name in the lengthy history of this tournament, so whoever wins the 2010-11 Champions League final will be making history with their fourth triumph.