After coming in second to Chelsea in the 2009/10 Premier League season, Manchester United secured their place in this years’ UEFA Champions League campaign. There’s a long way, of course, between qualifying for the group stages of the competition and getting to the final itself – United played six matches to get out of the group in the first place and then a further three two-legged draws in the knockout rounds.
Along the way, they’ve dispatched some very good teams, including Chelsea in the quarter-finals, but it would be a stretch to say they’ve had a particularly strenuous route to Wembley. While opponents Barcelona have had to navigate both Arsenal and Real Madrid in the knockout rounds, United merely had to negotiate the threat of Marseille and Schalke 04, neither of which are teams really capable of causing Sir Alex Ferguson’s men a challenge. A group of Valencia, Glasgow Rangers, and Turkish outfit Bursaspoor isn’t the most challenging in the world either (they won four and drew two of those games to finish top of Group C).
Still, when United have had to step it up, they haven’t disappointed. They were sublime in their quarter-final encounter against Chelsea, winning the first leg at Stamford Bridge 1-0 before completing a 3-1 aggregate victory at Old Trafford a week later. You can only beat the teams in front of you, and while Barcelona might have had a more difficult path than Barcelona, that won’t make any difference at all in how the match will end up going.
For news, opinion, and feature articles leading up to the UEFA Champions League final, bookmark this StoryStream and check it often. We’ll have new posts right here throughout the week, during the game, and after the game. For more on the entire world of football, check out SB Nation Soccer. Manchester United fans should head over to The Busby Babe, while Barcelona fans should check out Barca Blaugranes.