Los Blancos' Quest For 13th Title Continues

Event: UEFA Champions League
Match-up: Real Madrid vs Liverpool
Date: Saturday, May 26, 2018; 2:45pm ET
Betting Line: Real Madrid +125, Draw +280, Liverpool +200

Real Madrid are set to face Liverpool for the UEFA Champions League Final in Kiev May 26th which is set to be a classic match-up. Here, I'll be discussing Madrid's road to the final. Madrid was dealt a tough group that included APOEL, Dortmund, and Tottenham. Many pundits labeled it the toughest group in the champions league. Madrid was able to finish 2nd in the group behind Tottenham which they were unable to beat. After progressing through, they drew PSG which many people labeled the Neymar vs Ronaldo match-up (who I believe will be teammates for Madrid next year).

Madrid fell behind in the first leg but came roaring back with three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead heading into the 2nd leg. Ronaldo got the better on this day, scoring two goals to lead his team. What happened during the week, though, is what may have sealed PSG's fate. Neymar went down with a season-ending injury in French league action. The next leg was in Paris where Ronaldo just about ended any hopes for the Parisians. In case that wasn't enough, Verratti got sent off and the ended the tie. Madrid ended the game with a 2-1 win and ended with an impressive 5-2 aggregate.

Next on the waiting list of opponents that Madrid had to go past were the almighty Italian giants, Juventus. A match-up of last year's final which Madrid won 4-1. The first game was played on Italian soil where Madrid played their most impressive game of the tournament. Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 3rd minute with a flick into the corner of the net off of a cross from Isco.

The second was the goal heard around the world: a Ronaldo bicycle kick that even had the Juventus fans applauding. That alone is impressive considering they have booed their own players. Dybala made it even harder on Juventus when he was sent off with a red card. Marcelo finished the scoring to give Madrid a 3-0 away win and what many believed to finish the tie. One interesting note is Sergio Ramos had received a yellow card which by accumulations of yellow cards forced him to miss the second leg. The Italians came to the Bernabeu ready to play. Mario Mandzukic (a Real Madrid killer) scored two first half goals had made it a tie. Navas made a goal keeping blunder that allowed Matuidi to score and here we were.

Aggregate all tied up at three. After all that trash talk the Madrid fan base had given Barcelona fans the day before, was it about to happen to them too? Then came the drama. A questionable call if you're a Madrid hater and a clear penalty if you're a Madrid supporter. Buffon went crazy in the referee's face which bought him a straight red. On comes Szczesny, an Arsenal reject about to save the day. Ronaldo vs Szczesny. All this happening in the 93rd minute. Ronaldo rivals one in the upper 90 that not a single goalie would have saved and Madrid advances. Survive and advance.

In the semifinals, another heavyweight awaited Real Madrid: Bayern Munich. Kimmich opened the scoring in the first leg in Germany to give Bayern the lead. Eventually, Madrid took a 2-1 advantage for the second leg at home.

The second match had a bit more drama. Kimmich again opened up the scoring in the third minute. Benzema, who had not done much all year for Los Blancos, would be the hero on this night, scoring two unanswered goals to give Madrid a 2-1 lead before former Real player, James Rodriguez, scored the equalizer. Still, Bayern Munich fell short and Madrid punched their ticket to the Champions League Final where they hope to win their third UCL title in a row.