Chelsea and Manchester City, two deep-pocketed titans of England’s Premier League, will play for the biggest prize in European soccer on Saturday when they meet in the Champions League final in Porto, Portugal.
Chelsea, a serial collector of titles and trophies since 2003, has won the competition once before, in 2012. Manchester City, a club that only in the last decade emerged from the long shadow of its more famous (and much more decorated) neighbor, Manchester United, is playing in the final for the first time.
That unfamiliarity may bring some nerves, and some intrigue. But new faces or old, everyone will head into the final with eyes wide open about the stakes.
“If you win, you’re a hero,” Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said this week. “If you lose, you’re almost a failure.”
What time is the game?
Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Eastern. Unlike some kickoff times, that one should be pretty accurate.
How can I watch?
The game will be broadcast in the United States by CBS Sports and on the Paramount+ streaming app. If you prefer commentary in Spanish, go to Univision or the TUDN app.
If you are anywhere else in the world, check this comprehensive list of broadcast partners on UEFA’s website, which includes everything from RMC Sport (France) to Qazsport (Kazakhstan) to the magnificently named Silk Sport (Georgia).
Will there be fans inside the stadium?
Yes. Each club received an allotment of 6,000 tickets to the game, and organizers said the crowd would be limited to 16,500 — well short of the 50,000-seat capacity of Porto’s Estádio do Dragão.
Chelsea returned 800 of its tickets, with its fans angrily claiming that onerous UEFA rules had “intentionally prevented” eager supporters from traveling.
Manchester City, on the other hand, announced this week that its owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi royal and the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, had graciously picked up the travel tab for everyone.
What was the mood been like this week?
Tariq Panja of The Times sent along this dispatch from Porto on Friday:
Fans from England started arriving in small numbers throughout the week, and by Friday afternoon parts of the city were thronged by supporters of the two teams.
A large group of Manchester City supporters became an attraction of sorts for locals as they drank beer and sang songs in the sunshine in the bars that lined one bank of the Douro river, one of the city’s main tourist spots.
The fans were being closely watched by the Portuguese police, which the night before had to intervene when some visitors became frustrated by local coronavirus restrictions that forced bars and restaurants to close by 10:30 p.m.
For many of the English visitors, the trip to Porto was the first time away from their country since its recent reopening after one of Europe’s longest lockdowns.
Tell me something I can say to sound smart today.
“Buying Rúben Dias changed everything for Manchester City, giving Pep Guardiola the quality he needed on defense to support that offense while it purrs along.”
“Sure, Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic can become the first American to play in the Champions League final today. But he won’t be the first American to win it: That honor belongs to Jovan Kirovski, with Dortmund in 1997.”