Just as anticipated in the hours leading up to kickoff, both Juventus manager Max Allegri and his counterpart on the Barcelona sideline, Luis Enrique, have gone with the starting lineups everybody thought they would.
Neither manager had reason to go against the grain and shake things up. The only major shake-up came days ago when Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini had to leave training early with a calf injury that is keeping him out of tonight's final. Other than that, Allegri's starting lineup and 4-3-1-2 formation is as expected as it could be.
Gigi Buffon will start in goal and captain the four-time defending Italian champions. Leonardo Bonucci will partner with Andrea Barzagli instead of Chiellini. Patrice Evra will be the left fullback, Stephan Lichtsteiner is on the right. Juventus' four midfielders will be the four we all thought would start — Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba with Arturo Vidal starting behind strikers Álvaro Morata and Carlos Tévez.
Like I said, predictable. But that's because everybody not named Chiellini who was expected to be here is.
The only thing left to find out is what Allegri's actual game tactics will look like because the lineup was a piece of cake.
Luis Enrique will be lead by the record-setting trident of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar up front. Between them, 120 goals — yeah, that's no exaggeration — have been scored as Barcelona storms through opponent after opponent. The 4-3-3 is no surprise, neither are the players in both the midfield and defense. Young German Marc-André ter Stegen gets the start he does as is customary in the Champions League for Barcelona, which also sets up an interesting old-school new-school matchup in the two goals between him and Buffon. (Sorry, kid, but I'll take Superman.)
Obviously Allegri and Juventus don't want to be the next stop for the Barcelona Express and its South American conductors. The challenge is a big one, with more than just MSN to try and slow down.
The starting lineups for both teams are as follows:
Juventus XI (4-3-1-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Patrice Evra; Claudo Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba; Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tévez, Álvaro Morata
Juventus bench: Marco Storari, Angelo Ogbonna, Simone Padoin, Stefano Sturaro, Roberto Pereyra, Kingsley Coman, Fernando Llorente
Barcelona XI (4-3-3): Marc-André ter Stegen; Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar
Barcelona bench: Claudio Bravo, Marc Bartra, Jérémy Mathieu, Adriano Correia, Xavi Hernández, Rafinha Alcântara, Pedro Rodríguez