Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid: Prediction and Preview for Madrid Derby 2014

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Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid: Prediction and Preview for Madrid Derby 2014
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The world of football will be focused on Lisbon come Saturday evening as Madrid's two top clubs, Real and Atletico, go head-to-head in the 2014 Champions League final.

Diego Simeone's men have already achieved the seemingly impossible this season, breaking the Barcelona-Real duopoly for the first time in 10 years to claim Atletico's first La Liga title since 1996. 

Los Blancos finished their league season with something of a whimper as they fell out of the title race, but nothing is more important for Real than claiming a 10th European Cup.

So who will prevail? Will Atletico cap an already remarkable season? Can Real finally claim "La Decima"?

 

History in the Making

The 2014 Champions League final is already an historic event, the city of Madrid etching itself into European Cup history per Fox Soccer:

It is also only Atletico's second final in Europe's premier club competition, their first appearance in the last two for 40 years, per ESPN's Paul Carr:

It might not have been four decades for the other half of Madrid, but quite astonishingly, Real have not made it to a Champions League final since winning their ninth title against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002.

This is the first genuine opportunity Real have had in 12 years to clinch that historic 10th trophy, and manager Carlo Ancelotti believes his side can prevail, per Myfanwy Garman on Goal.com:

The team has been fantastic in the Champions League and we now have a great opportunity of becoming a big part of the club's history.

We are not obsessed by it but it is something that motivates all of us. We will use all our energy to try and win.

However, they will have to get past the La Liga champions Atletico, who were crowned on Saturday after holding second-placed Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou.

Not since Valencia in 2004 have a team other than Real or Barca claimed the league title, and they did so with much more limited resources than Spain's behemoths.

They have a smaller squad than Real, and their league pursuits may have exhausted them after a long season.

But Simeone has been able to inspire Atletico to the league title, and it would be a brave man who would bet against them claiming an extraordinary double.

 

Too Close to Call

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

The statistics these two teams can boast are really quite impressive. In the Champions League, no team has scored more than Real's 37 goals, but no team has conceded fewer than Atletico's six, per Squawka

Cristiano Ronaldo has had a record-breaking season in Europe having bagged 16 goals, more than any other player in a single campaign, per NBC Sports.

Despite concerns that the Portuguese superstar may be out injured for Saturday's final in his native country, reports seem to suggest otherwise, per ESPN's Dermot Corrigan:

Atletico's top scorer of the competition is Diego Costa, who has found the net eight times in as many appearances, per Eurosport.

But news on his fitness for the Lisbon final is not so positive for Atleti fans, per beIN Sports correspondent Tancredi Palmeri:

In La Liga this season, the two sides played out a 2-2 draw in March and Atletico beat Real 1-0 at the Bernabeu back in September, per ESPN FC.

The last time these two sides met in a final, Simeone's side prevailed to claim the 2013 Copa del Rey. Indeed Real's record in Madrid derby finals is not a strong one, per Opta:

Real's Champions League form and Atletico's exhausting league pursuits mean that Los Blancos should be considered as favourites to claim the Champions League on Saturday.

However, with so much at stake and so little to choose between the two sides, in all likelihood the game will be decided by the narrowest margin.

A refereeing decision, a slight slip, a small deflection, this might be the difference in Lisbon for an absolutely unmissable, historic occasion. 

Prediction: Real to win 2-1 after extra time. 

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