Los Blancos or Die Schwarzgelben? Our 2024 Champions League final predictions

Los Blancos or Die Schwarzgelben? Our 2024 Champions League final predictions
Image by Michelle Deng for The UCSD Guardian

This year’s edition of the best club football tournament in the world will be settled on Saturday, and The UCSD Guardian has you covered with our predictions. Read below to find out who we think will lift the Champions League trophy.

 

Kurt Johnston, Sports Editor

 

Dortmund probably didn’t expect to be here. In the Bundesliga, BVB finished in an underwhelming fifth place just 12 months after losing the title on the final day. They were placed in the Champions League’s “Group of Death,” with little hope of qualifying for the knockout rounds. They were underdogs against Atlético Madrid in the quarterfinals, against Paris Saint-Germain in the semifinals, and now against Real Madrid in the final. Miraculously, Dortmund has slain their giants and faces only one final hurdle on their road to a second European Cup. Many experts, including my colleagues below, expect Dortmund to fit the glass slipper — a tribute to their incredible run this year.

 

However, there is only one word to describe Real Madrid in the Champions League: inevitable. Los Blancos have hoisted Ol’ Big Ears a world-best 14 times, including five times in the last five years. Their recent record under the seemingly infallible Carlo Ancelotti has been nothing short of sublime; his tenure is exemplified by Madrid’s 4-3 aggregate semifinal win over Bayern Munich, sealed by goals in the 88th and 91st minutes by journeyman Joselu. Some claim Real Madrid is lucky, and others praise the team’s organized chaos. Expect to see more Madridista magic in the final; Jude Bellingham will score a winner late in extra time to clinch the 2023-24 Champions League.

 

Prediction: 2-1, Real Madrid win in extra time

 

Alan Zhang, Senior Staff Writer

 

Everything in me says that Real Madrid will win, but I sense something in this Dortmund squad. Led by a resurgent Jadon Sancho, the fifth-best group of “farmers” this season have somehow managed to plow through all European opposition they’ve faced thus far. BVB’s opponents in the final are Real Madrid, a club that has dominated the Champions League, “only” lifting the trophy a record 14 times. Midfielder Jude Bellingham has been in fantastic form all season for Los Blancos and is joined by an impressive squad featuring the likes of Toni Kroos and Vinicius Jr, with all three aforementioned players being favorites for this year’s Ballon d’Or. This will be the German side’s toughest test yet, and while Real Madrid are the favorites, expect Dortmund to keep things close. But I won’t predict a close Real Madrid win; instead, I will try to manifest a miracle for the Black and Yellow. Jadon Sancho will score a hat trick, and Real Madrid will have no answers in a Dortmund blowout. 

 

Prediction: 3-0, Dortmund win

 

Senji Torrey, Staff Writer

 

Dortmund have been on a uniquely successful Champions League run this season despite placing fifth in the German Bundesliga. Showing true team effort, with Jadon Sancho and Mats Hummels willing a resurgence, the German club has fought to get to this stage. They have been the underdog from the outset, and this delineation will persist on Saturday against Real Madrid, which already holds quite a dominion over European football with an outstanding La Liga showing and a tournament-long unbeaten run in the Champions League so far. The unmatched heritage of the Spanish side gives them some momentum heading into the matchup. All signs point to a 15th cup, and as much as it pains me to write, Dortmund is in a Marvel “Endgame” scenario against an inevitable Real Madrid, who will take a 2-1 win over the Black and Yellow.

 

Prediction: 2-1, Real Madrid win

 

Alexandra Kim, Staff Writer

Nobody expected Dortmund to be in this place. Standing in fifth place in the Bundesliga after a load of trouble to start the season, this German club takes on the underdog role with pride and confidence. With Julian Brandt masterminding the midfield, a spectacular loan spell for Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho, and strong linkups with Nicolas Füllkrug, BVB is poised for success. Paired with an extremely solid backline led by Mats Hummers and goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, Dortmund are a well-rounded team with all the stops to take down even the biggest of powerhouses in European Football.

On the other hand, many people expected Real Madrid to be in this place. In fact, most pundits are predicting a 15th UCL title for the Spanish club. Having already secured two domestic titles and having battled through a bracket that included German powerhouses Bayern Munich and incumbent champions Manchester City, Madrid have stunned the world with their dominant display. With striking young stars in Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo, and Jude Bellingham and a grounded midfield that balances youth with experienced veterans, Real Madrid have the tools to take over a match and do so quickly. 

However, their defense may be a weakness. Not only have multiple ACL injuries to the backline forced secondary players into a starting position unprovoked, but a goalkeeper dilemma has risen with the return of Thibaut Courtois, who was also debilitated by an ACL injury. Will this squad turn to the world class veteran and force a quick turnaround out of him? Or will they look to Andriy Lunin, the keeper who stepped up?

 

Prediction: 2-2 AET, Dortmund win on penalties

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About the Contributors
Kurt Johnston
Kurt Johnston, Sports Editor
Kurt is a third year international studies–political science major who probably cares too much about sports. Interests include writing, NYT Mini Puzzles, and watching Christian McCaffrey play football.
Senji Torrey, Contributing Writer
Senji is a third-year transfer student majoring in Communication. With three years of grueling high school newspaper experience under his belt, Senji is ready for his big break down in SD!
Michelle Deng, Artist
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