International Soccer

Player ratings as Los Blancos win Champions League final

Real Madrid secured their 15th Champions League as they beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in this season’s final at Wembley on Saturday night.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men certainly didn’t have it all their own way under the arch, but they just about held off Dortmund’s stellar opening-hour performance to win the big one.

Dani Carvajal was the unlikely opening goalscorer before Vinicius Junior made the most of a Dortmund error in build-up to double Madrid’s lead and seal yet another Champions League trophy.

How the game unfolded

Projections of a one-sided final were woefully misguided as Borussia Dortmund started Saturday’s final with immense confidence. Edin Terzic’s side were initially happy to cede control to their superior hosts, with their stout 4-4-2 mid-block not allowing Madrid to settle.

The favoured Spaniards failed to gain any momentum against their aggressive opponents, who were doubtlessly the better side in the opening 45 minutes. Dortmund limited Madrid to mere potshots from distance, while BVB created several golden opportunities of their own.

They took advantage of Madrid’s flawed out-of-possession structure and were able to penetrate in behind their backline at will. Karim Adeyemi had particular joy, but he and Niclas Fullkrug were unable to make the most of their chances and the two sides entered the break at 0-0 with Madrid failing to lay a glove on the Germans.

There was no chance of Madrid matching their first half insipidity after the restart, and they certainly got a foothold in proceedings at the start of the second half. Gregor Kobel was finally worked, with Madrid’s right-hand side coming to life.

Carlo Ancelotti’s seasoned outfit were always in the game at 0-0, and there was a cruel inevitability over the final outcome as Dortmund failed to make the most of their early superiority. Madrid stalwart Carvajal opened the scoring with a fine header from a Kroos in-swinger, and the Spaniards were dominant thereafter.

Vinicius added a second in the closing stages, and despite Niclas Fullkrug having a goal ruled out, Madrid were able to see out Saturday’s final without much hassle.

Heritage.

Niclas Fullkrug, Marcel Sabitzer, Nico Schlotterbeck, Marco Reus

Borussia Dortmund failed to make the most of their first-half superiority / Alex Livesey – Danehouse/GettyImages

GK: Gregor Kobel – 7/10 – Kobel perhaps wasn’t as busy as many thought, but he did make a couple of excellent saves, particularly from Eduardo Camavinga. There was little he could do about either goal.

RB: Julian Ryerson – 6/10 – Started well against Vinicius, with his aggressive approach paying dividends. However, the Brazilian started to have his way with the Dortmund right-back later on in the game.

CB: Mats Hummels – 7/10 – Hummels on the big occasion again. Just brilliant. The stellar German defender covered Ryerson superbly, and rarely was he beaten in the air. Shame we won’t be seeing him at the Euros.

CB: Nico Schlotterbeck – 6/10 – Booked for dissent in the first half, Schlotterbeck never quite settled into the contest as easily as Hummels, especially in possession. Did come up with some flying tackles.

LB: Ian Maatsen – 6/10 – The Chelsea loanee shone for the most part at Wembley, although Rodrygo. Maatsen impressed in all phases, especially in possession – until the fatal sequence which led to Madrid’s second goal.

CM: Emre Can – 6/10 – The Dortmund skipper stuck to his task without the ball, and generally did a pretty good job at maintaining his side’s efficiency with the ball.

CM: Marcel Sabitzer – 6/10 – The Austrian was often dragged wide in the final, although he did cause a few issues with his positioning between the lines. Worked doggedly out of possession.

RM: Jadon Sancho – 5/10 – Sancho failed to have a notable impact in the Wembley final.

AM: Julian Brandt – 7/10 – Brandt was just majestic between the lines early on, and he was key to Dortmund’s early success.

LM: Karim Adeyemi – 7/10 – The spritely wide man was a thorn in Madrid’s backline for the first hour, and he had a couple of gilt-edge opportunities having penetrated in behind. Adeyemi, however, didn’t make the most of the chances that came his way.

ST: Niclas Fullkrug – 7/10 – The Dortmund workhorse certainly could’ve had his moment, but Fullkrug didn’t take it. Had a goal ruled out late on.

Substitutes

SUB: Marco Reus (72′ for Adeyemi) – 5/10

SUB: Donyell Malen (80′ for Can) – 5/10

SUB: Sebastien Haller (80′ for Brandt) – 5/10

SUB: Jamie Bynoe-Gittens (87′ for Sancho) – N/A

Subs not used: Alexander Meyer (GK), Salih Ozcan, Felix Nmecha, Marius Wolf, Youssoufo Moukoko, Niklas Sule, Marcel Lotka, Kjell-Arik Watjen,

Manager

Edin Terzic – 8/10 – Terzic coached this one superbly, and his Dortmund side should have been a couple ahead at half-time. This defeat certainly wasn’t on the coach.

Daniel Carvajal

Dani Carvajal opened the scoring at Wembley / David Ramos/GettyImages

GK: Thibaut Courtois – 8/10 – This was vintage Courtois. While he didn’t quite repeat his heroics from Paris two years ago, the Belgian did keep a clean sheet having made a couple of huge saves.

RB: Dani Carvajal – 8/10 – The unlikely opening goalscorer had a tough time initially, but he’ll only be remembered for his fine header which set Madrid on their way.

CB: Antonio Rudiger – 7/10 – Fullkrug was a tricky matchup for Rudiger, who wasn’t totally dominant against the German forward. Dortmund also had success penetrating in behind.

CB: Nacho Fernandez – 7/10 – Similar to Rudiger, it was a tough outing for Nacho, but he defended his box superbly towards the end of the bout.

LB: Ferland Mendy – 6/10 – The Frenchman wasn’t tested too much at Wembley, and the Madrid left-back largely stuck to his task without offering much in possession.

CM: Eduardo Camavinga – 8/10 – A mixed bag for Camavinga, who was fortunate to escape a first-half booking. Dortmund also had success penetrating Madrid’s midfield line in the opening period. Stellar in the second half.

CM: Federico Valverde – 7/10 – Madrid’s struggles without the ball certainly weren’t down to Valverde, who offered bite defensively. He also operated pretty well in an advanced position between the lines.

CM: Toni Kroos – 7/10 – Kroos tried his utmost to control this final on his final Madrid appearance. The sultry midfielder donned a majestic aesthetic, but his performance didn’t always match. Dortmund’s sound work out of possession meant it took a while for the midfielder to find his groove.

AM: Jude Bellingham – 6/10 – Were the lights too bright for Jude? This was as bad as Bellingham as performed in 2023/24. Still came up with an assist at the end.

ST: Rodrygo – 6/10 – Rodrygo’s quiet performance in the final rather summed up what’s been a frustrating few months for the Brazilian.

ST: Vinicius Junior – 8/10 – Burst into life towards the end of the contest, and he put the game beyond Dortmund with his left-footed finish.

Substitutes

SUB: Joselu (85′ for Bellingham) – 6/10

SUB: Luka Modric (85′ for Kroos) – 6/10

SUB: Eder Militao (90′ for Rodrygo) – N/A

SUB: Lucas Vazquez (90′ for Vinicius) – N/A

Subs not used: Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK), Andriy Lunin (GK), Eder Militao, David Alaba, Aurelien Tchouameni, Dani Ceballos, Fran Garcia, Brahim Diaz, Arda Guler

Manager

Carlo Ancelotti – 8/10 – I mean, this is what he does.

Player of the match: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid)

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