Liverpool will clash against Real Madrid in this year’s Champions League final where the Spanish side will attempt to win their third title in a row
The Champions League final is just a number of weeks away as Real Madrid and Liverpool get ready to collide for the right to be crowned European champions.
Liverpool have the might of Mohamed Salah to thank as they attempt to plot a way to secure their sixth European title, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals were crucial for Madrid.
Lucky fans will already have found out whether or not their ticket applications were successful, and even those who don’t get tickets will be heading to Ukraine to be a part of the occasion.
Both Real Madrid and Liverpool, are both multiple-time winners of the competition.
Thirteen-time winners Madrid are the reigning champions and chasing a third title in a row – a feat that has never been achieved in the Champions League era.
They overcame Bayern Munich with a 4-3 aggregate victory in the semi-final to book their trip to Ukraine. Marco Asensio was the hero in the first leg as Los Blancos won 2-1 in Bavaria and Karim Benzema scored twice in the second legas Bayern put up a strong resistance at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Liverpool could add a sixth Champions League title to their trophy cabinet if they beat Madrid and Jurgen Klopp’s attacking side have been a force in the competition this season, scoring the most goals.
The Reds played out a thrilling semi-final tie against Roma, which yielded a total of 13 goals over two legs. The Merseysiders won 5-2 in the first leg at Anfield thanks to the star quality of Mohamed Salah and they were under serious pressure in the second leg as Roma attempted to mount a comeback. The Italians went close to forcing extra time as they won the second leg 4-2.
This season’s Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyski Stadium in Kiev, which is home to the Ukraine national team, as well as Dynamo Kiev, who use the venue for UEFA fixtures. The stadium has a capacity of just over 70,000 and is situated in the centre of the city, not too far from the river Dnieper.
The NSC (National Sports Complex) was originally built in 1923 but has undergone a transformation in the years since and was most recently renovated in 2011 ahead of Euro 2012, which was hosted by Poland and Ukraine. The final of that competition, which featured Spain and Italy, was held in the stadium.
Prior to Euro 2012, the venue played a part in the 1980 Summer Olympics, along with Dynama Stadium in Minsk and Kirov Stadium in Saint-Petersburg, as one of three non-Moscow locations for football matches at the tournament.
There are plenty of places of interest near the stadium for those interested in sight-seeing, such as the Kiev National Opera Theatre, Independence Square and the Taras Shevchenko National Museum.
What is the stadium seating plan?
The NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium is a UEFA Category Four Stadium, which is the requisite standard for hosting games in the Champions League, Europa League and European Championship.
It is also a multi-purpose venue, meaning that it can house other sports as well as stage concerts and corporate events.
It is a two-tiered structure and the most recent renovations included the construction of a brand new roof, which impressively caps the venue.
How do I get tickets?
While the stadium has a capacity of 70,000, just 63,000 tickets were available and UEFA allocated 40,700 tickets to supporters via its official website back in March, before the finalists were known.
Out of the remaining tickets, Real Madrid and Liverpool were given an allocation of 16,626 tickets each and the clubs themselves are responsible for their distribution, which they do through a ballot.
The ballot process required registration and is geared towards loyal supporters, such as season ticket holders and those who have attended previous games in the competition.
Tickets themselves are expensive, ranging from €70 at the cheapest to €450 at the higher end. However, as is common for such events, it is entirely possible that individuals who haven’t been able to acquire tickets through official channels will end up paying even more for the privilege.
Liverpool revealed that 25,578 supporters had registered for their ballot process – which is now closed – and, with only 16,626 tickets available, that means there will be a lot of disappointed applicants.
How to get there
If you decide you want to drive while you’re in Kiev it is possible to rent a car, with Europcar and Hertz both providing services. There are a number of motorways linked to to the city, with the E40/M03 traversing east to west, while the E95/M05 going north to south. However, be aware that you will have to navigate matchday traffic and potentially have to contend with parking frustrations.
If you really want to go via road and don’t want to drive there is also the option of taking the bus, with the no. 69 service going to the stadium.
Once you get to Kiev, you can get to the stadium using the Obolonsko-Teremkivska Metro line, getting off at the Olimpiiska station, which is adjacent to the ground. Alternatively, if you find yourself on the other side of the Dnieper river, you can take the Syretsko-Pecherska Metro line, getting off at the Palats Sportu station.
There are two airports in Kiev: Zhulyany and Boryspil International. Zhulyany is situated 8km to the south-west of the stadium, while Boryspil is across the river, 35km to the east.
Where to eat and drink
Due to its location in the heart of Kiev, the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium is surrounded by a wide variety of bars, who will no doubt be keen to capitalise on the extra footfall associated with the final.
However, places are likely to be very busy, so you may be forced to consider alternatives for refreshments further away from the ground. Khreschatyk Street is the main thoroughfare of Kiev’s city centre and there are no shortage of options there.
The brewpub Solemenska Browarnia is rated the number one bar in Kiev on TripAdvisor and there are some popular sports bars dotted around the city, such as the Arena Sports Zone, located on Basseyna Street and the Olimpiyskiy Sport Restaurant and Grill is actually on the territory of the stadium itself.
TripAdvisor has a full list of the most popular restaurants in Kiev, but remember that reservations are almost certainly going to be necessary for anything remotely in the vicinity of the stadium, particularly on the day of the game.
Kiev, Ukraine: The basics
Kiev is the capital city of Ukraine and it has a population of just under three million, which means that it is one of the most populous cities in Europe.
It is situated in the centre of Ukraine and the Dnieper – the longest river in the country, as well as the fourth largest in Europe – flows through the heart of it en route to the Black Sea.
Ukraine itself is bordered by seven countries, with Russia to the east and north east and Belarus to the northwest. Poland, Hungary and Slovakia are situated to the west of the country, with Romania and Moldova to the southwest.
A vibrant capital, Kiev has long been the hub of the country’s industry, but it is also culturally and scientifically attuned. Among the chief industries in the country are the gas and water utility sectors.
The mayor of Kiev is former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitsckho and he is expected to be in attendance at the final.