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Hardly surprisingly, the final sees Europe’s two strongest sides compete for main event this weekend.
Leinster and Saracens meet in the final on the back of very similar seasons indeed. Both have lost just five games domestically in their respective leagues and both have qualified for the play-off stage of the season.
In Europe, Saracens won their six pool games, all with 4 try-bonus points wins. They then beat Glasgow and Munster comfortably to reach the final. Sarries have scored 273 points in the competition, averaging 34.1 points a game. They’ve scored 32 tries, with an average of 4 per game.
As for Leinster, they won five of their six pool games. Their only defeat was to Toulouse, whom they went on to beat in the semi-final to reach this final. Their quarter-final win over Ulster was heralded as one of the games of the tournament so far, as they narrowly won 21-18. They themselves have scored 255 points in the Champions Cup up to this point, which averages out at over 30 points a game. They have matched Saracens 32 tries.
With the records so similar and both sides possessing such quality, this really is a very close game to call. I, for one, would not want to try and predict the winner.
The Algorithm has given it a go however. It is giving Saracens a 59.3% chance of winning the game and by a predicted margin of just three points in a low-scoring match by 16-13. The Algorithm has a success rate this season in this competition of 69.7% and makes Saracens favourites. However, the bookmakers really aren’t sure, with Sarries at 10/11 and Leinster at 11/10.
Both are incredibly organised and as the odds suggest, difficult to split. You would think it comes down to nerve and who makes the least number of mistakes but Saracens have never beaten Leinster in this competition, with the Irish side winning all three meetings.
Saracens have won two of the last three Champions Cup finals in recent years, but Leinster are the reigning champions and looking to successfully retain their title.
I would be looking at the winning margin of victory here and I would be backing either team to win by between 1-5 points. Leinster are 9/1 to win by that margin and Sarries 5/1, so I would be looking to cover myself and back both as it really is that tight.
I don’t think a draw would be out of the question either at 18/1, which is short for a rugby game. I am not sure whether it will be a try fest but you can be sure that it will be an incredible battle between two of Europe’s strongest forces.
Could we see the final go to extra-time and maybe even a ‘penalty shootout’? I would be tempted by that.