Last week, it seemed a certainty that Barcelona would face Ajax in the Champions League final. After Liverpool overturned a three goal deficit on Tuesday, it seemed a certainty that Liverpool would face Ajax in it. Then Tottenham went and turned around their tie, too.
After Ajax went up by two in the first half, in the final minute of stoppage time, Lucas Moura completed a second-half hat-trick. Spurs won the game, on the road, 3-2. The tie ends 3-3 but with Spurs’ three away goals giving them the edge. They face Liverpool in the final.
Liverpool have won the Champions League five times. Tottenham have never been in a final. On June 1st at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano, either the Reds will stand alone with six titles, behind only Real Madrid and AC Milan. Or Spurs will have earned a piece of history.
Spurs previous European honours are the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1963 and the UEFA Cup in 1972 and 1984. Their last major trophies in any competition were the 1999 and 2008 League Cup and the 1991 FA Cup. For them, a win in Madrid would set out a marker.
It would say that, after years of competing to establish themselves in England’s top four, they have truly arrived as a domestic and European power—it would be a victory that does what the club’s fans crave, proving Spurs matter amongst England and Europe’s elite.
After years of reaching to claim nebulous achievements, like finishing ahead of Liverpool and Arsenal in the league this, that, or some other year, it would be an achievement of the sort fans of clubs like Liverpool and Arsenal regularly mock Tottenham for not having.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are resurgent. Back in the final for the second year in a row, they enter the match as clear favourites after getting past the French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish champions to more than earn their place in the final for a ninth time.
It’s a clash of familiar opponents. An all-English affair. And while many Liverpool fans will likely have preferred the idea of facing a non-English opponent, now that they know who they are facing the focus is clear: win their sixth and keep Tottenham at zero.