As football giants Liverpool and Real Madrid warm up for what promises to be an epic Champions League final in Paris tonight, the official fan clubs of both sides will turn out in full force at different locations across Bahrain to cheer their respective teams on.
“We’re hoping for a big win for Liverpool,” Official Liverpool Supporters Club (OLSC), Bahrain, chairman, Dr Dheya Tawfeeqi told the GDN by phone from Paris where he has gone to watch the game in person. “And, as we do every time Liverpool is in a final, we have booked a very large hall at a five-star hotel in Manama for our members and other Liverpool supporters to watch the game in.”
More than 200 people had already registered for the event, Tawfeeqi added, where a large screen, measuring 4x3 metres would make viewing the game easy from anywhere in the hall.
Meanwhile, the Official Real Madrid Fan Authority (ORMFA), Bahrain – the Spanish team’s official supporters club in the kingdom – has made similar arrangements in a café in Saar, the club’s co-founder said.
“We’ve reserved almost the full café, including indoor and outdoor spaces,” Hassan Marhoon, an executive in a hospitality management company, told the GDN. “Registrations for the event have already crossed 100 and we expect the number to increase considerably before the game starts.”
It didn’t matter to him and other Real Madrid supporters that their team were considered the underdogs going into the big game tonight, Marhoon said.
“I personally love it when Real Madrid are not considered favourites,” he explained. “It makes the players raise their game. We saw it happen earlier during the season when we went up against Manchester City – we weren’t the favourites, yet we won. It was the same against PSG.”
But Marhoon acknowledged that Liverpool, who have already won two titles this season – the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup and narrowly missed out on winning the EPL last week after City snatched the trophy away in the last few minutes of that league’s season finale – and are seeking to avenge their 2018 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid tonight in their quest for a trophy treble, would be a different proposition.
“Liverpool will be tough opponents,” Marhoon stressed. “We have immense respect for them. But, as Zizou (former French great, Zinedine Zidane) once said: ‘You don’t win finals with backdates. You win them with your heart!’ That’s what Real Madrid have: they have heart!”
Tawfeeqi, meanwhile, was confident that Liverpool would continue with their winning ways tonight.
“As I said earlier, we’re hoping for a comprehensive win for our team,” he said. “And, as I look out the window here in Paris, I can see lots of Liverpool fans on the roads. They seem to be from all over the world and there’s an air of expectancy in the air. And there are other things going on as well: there are musical events, tied in to the final, taking place and we’ll see fans flocking to the stadium at least two or three hours before the start of the game.”
If Real Madrid win tonight, it would be their 14th Championship League title. A win for Liverpool would give them their seventh CL trophy.
The game will kick off at 10pm, Bahrain time.