UCL: Real Madrid will feel ‘fear’ in bid for 15th title – Carlo Ancelotti

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Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti says his players will feel the “fear” of the Champions League final when they face Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.
The record 14-time winners of the competition will begin Saturday’s encounter (20:00 BST) as the overwhelming favourites against the German side who finished fifth in the Bundesliga this season.
However, Ancelotti – the competition’s most successful manager with four titles- knows that nothing is guaranteed.

“A Champions League final is the most important game and the most dangerous one,” Ancelotti said.
“You have to be a bit lucky, play well and never lower your guard but when you reach a final success is so close that you start worrying.”
Unlike Dortmund, who have struggled domestically but excelled in Europe, the opposite has been true for the Spanish champions in the later stages of the tournament.
Real beat holders Manchester City on penalties in the last eight and scored two late goals in the second leg of their semi-final to edge past Bayern Munich.
“It is a double-edged sword, we need to enjoy it to the maximum, and then concern starts that it could go wrong because we are so close to the most important thing in football,” Ancelotti, speaking on Friday, added.
“It is going to start tonight, tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon. A lot of fear, it is normal. If you have more fear you will be happier if you are able to win in the end.”
Meanwhile, Dortmund midfielder Julian Brandt is under no illusion over the size of the task his side face against Real.
“They’re the ultimate opponent, there’s nothing bigger in the Champions League, with their success and their history,” Brandt said.
“But if we didn’t believe then we could stay in Dortmund.”
Courtois to start as quartet aim to make history
Real head into the showpiece match buoyed by the presence of Belgium international Thibaut Courtois, who Ancelotti has confirmed will start in goal in the place of Andriy Lunin, who has been suffering with an illness.
And should the Spaniards prevail for the sixth time in 11 years, Real quartet Luka Modric, Dani Carvajal, Toni Kroos and Nacho would all be in line to claim a record-equalling sixth winners medal.
Only Francisco Gento between 1956 and 1966 (for Real Madrid) has previously achieved that feat.
“Everyone is saying that we’re the favourites, but it’s not like that, I see a 50-50,” Modric said.
“Dortmund are a big club, they have had a great season in the Champions League and they will make it very difficult for us.”
Dortmund, head into the contest in a similar mood to 1997, when they were also huge underdogs before beating Juventus 3-1 in the final in Munich.
Head coach Edin Terzic said: “We’re happy to be here, but we’re here to win.
“You don’t come here to play a final, you come here to win it. We want to hold that trophy in our hands.”
Bellingham v Sancho & Bynoe-Gittens
Image caption: Jude Bellingham, left, and Jadon Sancho, centre, are both expected to start on Saturday
Both sides have a high-profile English player who has been at the heart of their run to the Champions League final.
Jude Bellingham comes up against Dortmund, the team he left last summer for the Bernabeu for an initial £88.5m, in the biggest game of an already impressive career.
Expectations were high for the 20-year-old England midfielder but he has exceeded all of them and is set to end the season as Real’s top scorer with 23 goals.
That tally includes two separate last-minute El Clasico winners in both league games with Barcelona.
He was named La Liga’s player of the season and won the 2024 Laureus World Sports Breakthrough of the Year for any sport.
Jadon Sancho’s season has been less sensational, but considering how the campaign started remarkable nonetheless.
The winger, who is not part of Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 plans, had not played for Manchester United since 26 August after being frozen out by Erik ten Hag after a dispute – until he rejoined Dortmund on loan in January.
Sancho seems reborn at the club he represented from 2017 until 2021.
He has excelled in several games, most notably the semi-final first leg against Paris St-Germain with 12 successful dribbles – the most by any player in a Champions League game this season.
Sancho is not the only English winger at Dortmund though, with England Under-21 international Jamie Bynoe-Gittens playing 33 times this season. He scored against AC Milan in the group stage.
Reus leads players seeking perfect farewell
Presuming Marco Reus gets on the pitch at Wembley, it will be his 429th and final appearance for his hometown club.
The Dortmund legend, who turned 35 on Friday, came through the academy and had spells at Rot Weiss Ahlen and Borussia Monchengladbach before returning home in 2012.
Two German Cups are all he has to show for his 12 years of service and 170 goals, which puts him second on their all-time scorer list.
He has already confirmed he will leave the club this summer.
He was part of the Dortmund team who lost their last Champions League final, also at Wembley, to Bayern Munich in 2013.
Only three players have made more appearances for Dortmund than Reus – and one of them is his team-mate in both Champions League finals, centre-back Mats Hummels.
Hummels, who has also had a spell at Bayern Munich, says he will not decide his future until after the game.
The 35-year-old has played 507 times for the club he first represented in January 2008.
Another German player set to play an emotional final game for his club is Real midfielder Kroos.
The 34-year-old will retire from playing football after Euro 2024 so this is his last club game.
Kroos has played 464 games for Real since a 2014 move from Bayern Munich and won four Champions Leagues, four La Liga titles and a Copa del Rey with the club.
Two more players with uncertain futures at the Bernabeu are out-of-contract pair Modric, 38, and Spanish defender Nacho, 34.
Croatian Modric, a Ballon d’Or winner in 2018, has played 533 games for Real after a 2012 move from Tottenham, while one-club man Nacho has made 363 appearances and largely been utilised as a squad player.

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