Gunning for a historic first UEFA Champions League win, Manchester City, the reigning titans of the English Premier League, are set to battle it out against Italy’s Serie A stalwarts, Inter Milan.
The high-octane final is slated for Saturday at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, commencing at 19:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Under the strategic tutelage of Pep Guardiola, Manchester City has already seized the English Premier League and the FA Cup trophies this season. The club now strives for a phenomenal 2023 treble, aiming to add the coveted Champions League crown to their impressive domestic haul.
The Sky Blues find themselves in the Champions League final for the second time in a triennium, having suffered defeat at the hands of Chelsea in the 2020-2021 season.
Notably, only Manchester United has managed the feat of a treble among English clubs, triumphing in the English League, the FA Cup, and the Champions League during the 1998-1999 season.
Heading into Saturday’s final, City exhibits remarkable form, having tasted defeat only once in their past 26 outings across all contests. The team boasts an unblemished European record this campaign, claiming victories in seven of their 12 European matches.
Guardiola, the Spanish tactician, is on a quest for his first European glory since his 2011 Champions League conquest with Barcelona, where he had previously scripted a treble victory two years prior.
In terms of stats, the City squad appears to have an edge over Barcelona’s 2008-2009 team, which lost just once on their road to the final, netting 32 goals and conceding 13. With only the final left, City has already tallied 31 goals, while their defense has been breached a mere five times.
“It’s truly a dream,” Guardiola expressed. “To accomplish anything, the right blend of fixation and ambition is necessary. It’s a constructive reflection of the desire and determination to win. It’s indeed a dream for us.”
Though considered the underdog, Inter heads into the match having secured the Coppa Italia and Italian Super Cup this season.
“Manchester City is likely the best team in the world at the moment,” acknowledged Inter’s coach, Simone Inzaghi. “Their scarce defeats affirm this fact. However, we’re conscious of our journey in the Champions League. We take pride in our performance and will approach the final with utmost focus and commitment.”