When the Champions League group stage began, a total of 32 teams started their journey on "The Road to Cardiff." Now, we're down to two teams: Real Madrid and Juventus. How did Real Madrid get to another final in the Champions League?
Here's a look back at their journey to the final.
The group stage proved to be a mixed bag for Real Madrid, where the Spanish giants finished second in Group F behind Borussia Dortmund. Real Madrid didn't lose a match in the stage, but they did split points in three of their six contests. A draw in the away leg against Legia Warsaw cost them in the end, as Dortmund handled business on the final day to earn a draw and win the group. Being unable to get the necessary points at home might have left some slight uncertainly about Real Madrid's chances, but those concerns were soon erased. Karim Benzema started the stage with a scoring drought, coming up empty in Real Madrid's first three matches. He scored in all of their remaining group stage contests, including hitting a double on the final day against BVB.
Round of 16
After finishing second in the group, Real Madrid were faced with the prospect of taking on a group-winner in the round of 16. Napoli aren't pushovers, but the Madristas were fortunate to miss the likes of Barcelona or Juventus right off the bat. As it turned out, Real made light work of Napoli. Benzema remained hot in the tournament with Real Madrid's opening goal in the first leg as the Spanish side rattled off a pair of 3-1 wins in the tie. The goal of the tie belonged to Casemiro, without a doubt. The midfielder better known for his defensive prowess uncorked an absolute gem in the first leg.
Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich was billed as the tie of the quarterfinals following the draw, and the high-profile matchup didn't disappoint. The tie was fraught with controversy, but ultimately Real Madrid saw off the Bavarian giants. The first leg alone featured enough drama for an entire tie, with Ronaldo bagging a brace, Javi Martinez seeing a red card and Arturo Vidal heading home the tie's opening goal but missing from the penalty spot.
It got even crazier in the return leg at the Santiago Bernabeu. Bayern forced extra time after holding a 2-1 lead after 90 minutes, though Vidal was sent off just before the end of regulation. Real turned the screws in the extra period as Ronaldo capped his hat trick, albeit with a heavy dose of controversy. He was offside for what would be the eventual match-winner, but the referee and his assistants didn't catch it. There were a number of dicey calls from Viktor Kassai that Bayern had a legitimate beef with, but what's done is done. Real Madrid moved on.
A pair of Madrid derbies loomed in the semifinals, which Real Madrid would have to navigate while still fighting to win the La Liga title. No matter, though. Ronaldo picked up where he left off in the first leg, tallying another hat trick in front of the hometown faithful. That offensive explosion was enough for Real Madrid, who played a clinical return leg. Benzema, who had a fairly anonymous first leg, pieced together a brilliant bit of skill to set up Isco's goal and put the tie away for good. Real Madrid keeper Keylor Navas also put in a workmanlike shift, keeping Atletico at bay as best he could. Even so, Ronaldo's first-leg efforts were all Real Madrid really needed, as they won the tie 4-2 on aggregate. They booked passage to the final, where Juventus await.
So the final is set! Real Madrid scrapped their way to Cardiff and are set to take on Juventus — who faced a difficult road of their own. Real Madrid will seek to become the first team ever to win back-to-back Champions League titles, while Juventus are hoping to avoid adding to their tally of the most ever second-place finishes (six). The Italian club can claim their third European crown with a victory, in a tie that's sure to have plenty of fireworks. The action kicks off Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on FOX.