4. Atletico Madrid vs Manchester City
Not that this wouldn’t be a great match, but as far as intrigue goes, there isn’t much here. These two teams have literally no history together as they’ve never met in a competitive match as long as they’ve existed. So as far as storylines for this one, it would be marketed as a historic first meeting between the two as well as Manuel Pellegrini’s potential parting gift to Manchester.
For Atletico, it would be their third chance at Champions League glory, having fallen in the final twice before in 1974 and 2014. Diego Simeone would certainly be elevated to hero status by Atletico fans if he were to get to the final and win it. That being said, except for those City and Atletico fans, this match-up doesn’t have too much in it for the casual fan. At least not when compared to the other three options.
3. Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich
The first two match-ups must be pretty good if a meeting between two of Europe’s greatest clubs in a final for the first time is only the third most exciting. The last time these two teams met in a competitive fixture Bayern Munich were humiliated 5-0 on aggregate in the 2014 Champions League semifinal. Bayern will be hungry to avenge that result, and keeping Madrid from winning their 11th title would be ideal.
Zinedine Zidane vs. Pep Guardiola. pic.twitter.com/00FZiFcnMQ
— Fútbol (@Futbool_Fotos) March 5, 2016
It would also be the first time that famous legends of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola, would meet up as managers in Europe.
Bayern vs Real Madrid is a very historic rival. Over the years, they’ve split their records between each other close to 50/50 with Bayern holding the slight advantage in the 22 meetings. A bout in the Champions League final would surely be the two side’s biggest encounter to date.
2. Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid
With the 2014 Champions League final still fresh in everyone’s memory, these two sides meeting just two years later for a rematch would be captivating. It would be the third time the two Spanish sides have met this year, the previous two meetings came in the league, Atletico won one and drew the other.
The two sides have played each other over 200 times in their histories. Despite the frequency of their meetings, the Madrid Derby has not lost any passion, especially between the two sets of fans. It’s not quite the level of animosity that El Clasico brings out, but it’s close. These two teams playing in Milan would be one thrilling rematch.
1. Bayern Munich vs Manchester City
If you want to talk about storylines, here’s the king. The media build-up to this potential final would be like a runaway train, and it would almost entirely be about Pep Guardiola. Unless you’ve been in a cave since January, you know Guardiola will be taking over at City in July. The two-time Champions League winning coach has one last chance to win his third with Munich before writers label his time with the German giants a failure. Whether that’s fair or unfair largely depends on your personal opinion of the Catalan.
Pellegrini will obviously want to win, for no other reason for his own personal glory and to stick it to the club that so unceremoniously informed him he would no longer be needed next season.
This tie gets even bigger if Manchester City somehow falls out of the top-four in the Premier League. If that happens then Guardiola winning with Munich would mean he’s out of the Champions League with City next year. There are people somewhere with tin-foil hats worried about this scenario right now.
Couple all of this with the somewhat tired, but no less heated, Bundesliga vs EPL debate and you have the potential for one epic final. Hopefully, the action on the pitch can match the media hype that will surely precede it.