Liverpool fans are descending on Kiev for this weekend’s Champions League final against defending champions Real Madrid.
Having won the competition in Rome (twice), London, Paris and Istanbul, Reds supporters will hope the Ukrainian capital will also have a special place in their history.
Here, we take a look at the city that will host Saturday’s showpiece.
The NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, located close to the city centre, was renovated ahead of Euro 2012 and hosted the final of that tournament when Spain beat Italy 4-0, so it already holds happy memories for Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos. The 63,000-capacity ground is the home of both the Ukraine national team and Dynamo Kiev, with Manchester City the last English club to visit in 2016, when they secured a 3-1 victory.
Two days before the men’s final, the Women’s Champions League final between Lyon and Wolfsburg takes place at Valeriy Lobanovskyi Dynamo Stadium. Lucy Bronze, who used to play for Liverpool Ladies, is likely to feature for the French team. From the Thursday until the Sunday of that week, UEFA will also run its annual ‘Champions Festival’ that is free to attend in the city centre. Ex-players will be involved a tournament while there will also be DJs and bands playing.
Independence Square and Khreshchatyk Street are two of Kiev’s busiest areas and both are likely to be a sea of red and white come late May. The Ukrainian capital is also home to a host of impressive religious buildings including Saint Sophia Cathedral, St Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery and St Andrew’s Church.
The hard part for Liverpool fans will be getting to Kiev, which is one of the continent’s eastern-most cities. Many flights out of Liverpool go via Rome, from where Reds fans returned jubilant earlier this month, and direct routes are in short supply. The good news once they are there is that Kiev has a metro system and there is a stop right outside the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium.
Twelve months ago there was a Portuguese celebrating a major European victory in Kiev. Not Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, but Salvador Sobral, who won the Eurovision Song Contest when it was held at Kiev’s International Exhibition Centre. The city also hosted the competition in 2005 – the year of Liverpool’s last Champions League victory – when Greece’s Helena Paparizou was the winner with ‘My Number One’. That is not thought to be written about current Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius.