As Liverpool and Tottenham fans make their way to Madrid for the greatest show in club football, many do so in hope.
Not just hope that it will be their side lifting the Champions League trophy on Saturday night, but also that they can be inside the stadium to see it.
Tickets for the final at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano are hard to come by, and, if available, will require willing spectators to part with considerable amounts of cash.
According to reports, tickets are being sold for as high as $31,000, while one fan in the Spanish capital told CNN Sport that he had been offered tickets for $12,585.
“We’ve got people flying in from Tel Aviv tomorrow (Saturday) and how many tickets we’ve got, we don’t know,” Tottenham fan Paul, 55, tells CNN having flown from London to Madrid via a stopover in Milan.
The tickets he’s been promised cost £500 [$629], but Paul says he’d be prepared to pay up to £1,000 ($1,259): “If we’ve only got one we’ll give it to our son,” he adds. “We’ll see what we can do.”
While 4,000 tickets were available to all football fans worldwide via UEFA’s website, Liverpool and Tottenham were each allocated 17,000 tickets. The remainder were allocated to the local organizing committee, footballing associations, commercial partners and broadcasters.
Meanwhile, 9,000 flights are expected in the UK airspace on Friday, topping the previous record of 8,854 set in May last year.
NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air navigation services, says that an additional 800 flights have been put on between Friday and Sunday in order to cater for the Champions League final.
Both sides came through dramatic semifinals — Liverpool overturning a 3-0 deficit to defeat Barcelona, and Tottenham scoring three second-half goals to beat Ajax — while Jurgen Klopp’s side is hoping to avenge last year’s 4-1 defeat to Real Madrid.
“We’re a different team. People say a different animal [compared to last season],” Klopp tells CNN Sport.
“We had a sensational Champions League campaign last year, which ended with a really strange football game, which we lost to Real Madrid. On the way back, if someone will have told us, ‘You get another chance next year’ we would have signed that contract immediately.
“Here we go again. That feels just amazing to get this chance again.”
Klopp and his Liverpool players will be hoping luck will be on their side this year having lost star forward Mo Salah at the start of last year’s final.
Few would have anticipated Tottenham — whose last piece of silverware came in 2008 — reaching Saturday’s final.
Spurs have navigated two high-octane knockout matches against Manchester City and Ajax in order to reach Saturday’s final, which kicks off at 20:00 BST.