The Fairy Tale Farewell

2 min read

Now that the dust has settled on Wembley Stadium following the action this weekend, it’s time to look back on the final that saw Real Madrid win a remarkable fifteenth Champions League title. There’s only one place to start and his name is Toni Kroos. The German international and central midfielder announced his retirement and in typical Kroos fashion, put on a display that justified the attention. 

The Fairy Tale Ending

Wembley Stadium prepared to witness a bittersweet farewell for two German giants. Marco Reus and the aforementioned Toni Kroos, both on the verge of club departures, aimed to rewrite their Champions League final stories at this iconic venue.

For Reus, it was a chance at redemption. The 2013 final at Wembley saw Borussia Dortmund lose to Bayern Munich, a match where Reus, the only remaining player from that starting eleven, tasted defeat in his first season with the club. Lifting the trophy this time would be a dream ending for his Borussia Dortmund journey.

However, destiny had other plans. The fairytale script belonged to Kroos instead. Fresh off his retirement announcement, a chance to win a final Champions League at the very stadium where he secured his first loomed large. Kroos, who stood on the Bayern side during Dortmund’s 2013 defeat, found himself back at Wembley, this time orchestrating a 2-0 victory for Real Madrid and claiming his sixth Champions League medal.

The Game

Real Madrid claimed the trophy after a hard-fought 2-0 victory, but the win wasn’t without its scares. A dominant Borussia Dortmund controlled the first half, squandering several chances. Dortmund’s expected goals (xG) of 1.88 reflected their attacking prowess. However, their profligacy came back to haunt them as the tide turned in the second half and Madrid took control of the game. 

With Madrid the more dominant side in the second half, there was almost a feeling that the inevitable was going to happen. And with less than twenty minutes left to play, it did. The defining moment came as Toni Kroos’ corner was met by the rising head of Dani Carvajal to put Real Madrid into the lead at Wembley. A header that will be etched into history, the one that made it six Champions League titles for Dani Carvajal, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Nacho Fernandez. This was followed by Vinícius Junior scoring late on to make it 2-0 and seal the game for Madrid. 

Heading to Victory

Carvajal’s towering header carved his name into Champions League history. He joins the ranks of legendary defenders such as fellow countryman Sergio Ramos, whose last-gasp header secured victory for Real Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final against Atletico Madrid. 

Carvajal’s towering header in the Champions League final is a fresh reminder of the impact these can have on the biggest matches. With Euro 2024 on the horizon, expect set pieces like corners and free kicks to play a major role in deciding the outcome of close games.

To help you rise to the occasion and dominate those crucial headers, Rezzil is gearing up to launch an exciting new headers challenge. This innovative experience will allow players to hone their timing, accuracy, and power as they meet the perfect cross.

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