5 things to watch out for in Champions League final between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund

  • Real Madrid face Borussia Dortmund in Champions League final
  • Ultimate heavyweight vs underdog clash at Wembley
  • Five narratives to follow in Saturday's showdown
The final is here
The final is here / Angel Martinez/Getty Images, Alex Grimm/Getty Images, Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund's meeting in the Champions League final has the ingredients of a classic.

The overwhelming favourite - the historical kings of Europe - who have fought for every inch to grab their crown back, the chance to win an unprecedented 15th title. The unfancied underdog who have emerged from the rubble of a supposed 'weaker' half of the bracket, ready to defy the odds again. And all under the famous arch of Wembley.

It's a fixture that doesn't need much hyping up from the outside, but aren't you lucky that we at 90min are going to do so anyway.

Here are five storylines to look out for in Saturday's Champions League final.

The last dance(s)

One last time for these two Germans
One last time for these two Germans / Angel Martinez/Getty Images, Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

The book will close on two footballing fairytales at Wembley, with Marco Reus turning out for his boyhood Dortmund for the final time and Toni Kroos playing his last-ever club match.

Both Germans have enjoyed successful and storied careers to this point, but only one will leave Wembley as a European champion.

Reus is one of only two Dortmund players left from the 2013 side that lost in London to Bayern Munich, where Kroos was contracted at the time but missed out on a place in the squad due to injury. Will BVB ensure their 35-year-old maestro signs off in style or will Madrid win their midfielder his sixth Champions League?

Ballon d'Or race

Jude Bellingham, Toni Kroos, Vinicius Jr
Three contenders for the Ballon d'Or / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has already insisted that Kroos could cap off his glittering career with a Ballon d'Or.

"Well, anything can happen. If he wins the Champions League and the Euro. I think he can do a double. Germany can win with Kroos," the Italian said earlier this week.

Though this isn't beyond the realms of possibility, it's still more likely the award will go to one of Kroos' younger teammates instead, with Vinicius Junior and Jude Bellingham seemingly the frontrunners.

Both have come up with huge contributions on Madrid's path to glory already this season. You'd expect at least one of them to have the final say at Wembley.

Are you watching, Old Trafford?

Borussia Dortmund v Paris Saint-Germain: Semi-final First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
The ultimate shot at redemption / Ralf Ibing - firo sportphoto/GettyImages

The Jadon Sancho saga is probably not as simple as has been made out.

Should he have lashed out at Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag and refused to apologise? Probably not. Should Ten Hag have made such a dig at Sancho in public? Almost definitely not. Is Sancho rebuilding his value back at his beloved Dortmund and ensuring all parties are benefitting? Absolutely.

But the joke will certainly be on United if Sancho, signed for £73m from BVB in 2021, wins the Champions League as a loanee from exile. Jurgen Klopp's already had a swipe at them this week about their handling of the situation.

Sebastien Haller's remarkable story

Sebastien Haller
Haller's phenomenal comeback continues / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Shortly after signing for Dortmund in 2022, Haller's dream turned into a nightmare after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

After a six-month battle, he made a full recovery and returned to see out his debut campaign. Dortmund missed out on the Bundesliga title on the final day of the 2022/23 season, but Haller's story was not yet finished.

This year, he was part of the Ivory Coast side that appeared to be heading for early elimination at the Africa Cup of Nations before going on to win the whole bloody thing, and now he'll represent Dortmund in a Champions League final.

The start of a new dynasty?

Madrid could be a problem for years to come / JAVIER SORIANO/GettyImages

Madrid's run of three Champions Leagues from 2016 to 2018 seems a tough ask for any team to replicate, but their current crop of stars and starlets stand a pretty decent chance of equalling or bettering such an achievement.

Los Blancos' 2022 triumph felt like a last hurrah of their old guard, and now is the time for their younger phenoms to step into the limelight.

With Endrick on the way and Kylian Mbappe likely to also turn up at the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, Madrid could write another special chapter in their illustrious history.