On 24 and 26 May, Kyiv will host two of the most important games in European, even world, football – the EUFA Champions League finals! Didn’t manage to land yourself a ticket? No problem. Let us help.
First off, some will be wondering why the plural on “finals” – the Champions League final is a one-off winner-takes-all affair, right? Actually, yes, but there are two finals, one for Europe’s best ladies’ teams, and one for the top men’s teams. The first final will take place in the iconic Lobonovsky Stadium: the ladies of Germany’s Vfl Wolfsburg will go toe to toe with France’s Lyon. Then, European footballing powerhouses Real Madrid and Liverpool go head to head in the Olympisky Stadium two days later, on 26 May.
In the men’s, a quick look at the record of results when these two teams have faced each other in European competition shows that Real are the better bet. But, as Liverpool proved one incredible night in Istanbul, in this match, nothing can be taken for granted. In the 2005 final, Liverpool trailed Italian giants A.C. Milan by three goals to nothing at half time; seemingly an insurmountable lead against such formidable opponents in a match of this magnitude. By the time the ref blew his whistle at the end of 90 minutes, Liverpool had pulled the score line back to 3-3 and the Scousers went on to win the match in a penalty shootout after extra time. Maybe only Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League win was more dramatic, where Teddy Sherinigham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored a goal each in injury time to break the hearts of Germany’s Bayern Munich and secure the treble for United.
Madrid, of home to footballing legend Christiano Ronaldo of course, have won this trophy 12 times in their history, which is more than any other club, and the recent form of Los Blancos cannot be ignored, as they have won this tournament for the last two seasons running. This is one game and definitely worth watching. So, where can you do that if you don’t have one of those golden tickets? Read on.
Where to enjoy the Champions League atmosphere
UEFA Champions Festival on Khreschatyk
Like Euro 2012 and Eurovision 2017 fan zones, Kyiv’s central Khreshatyk Street will be home to the official UEFA Champions Festival area. From the TSUM retail store to Maidan Nezholesnosti (Independence Square), Kyiv’s city centre will be transformed into a fantastic festival for football fans. You’ll be able to get your picture with the Champions League trophy, win great prizes at sponsor booths, mingle with fans from around the world, and even catch a legends football game on 26 May featuring Ukrainian national team manager and football legend Andriy Shevchenko and Kyiv mayor and former boxing world heavyweight champion Vitaliy Klitshcko. Entrance is free but note – the game will NOT be shown at this location.
Hours of operation:
24-25 May: 11:00 – 23:00
26 May: 11:00 – 20:00
27 May: 11:00 – 21:00
Kontraktova Ploshcha Fan Zone
This one-day fan zone will be THE place to catch the game. Located in Podil, this square will likely play host to tens of thousands of fans eager to watch history in the making. Operated by the Kyiv City Council, this square will attract fans from across the spectrum – Ukrainians and guests to the city, die-hard footy fans and those just interested in the spectacle. Probably even ticket-less fans from Real Madrid and Liverpool will converge here. If you want to be in the biggest place to watch the game, better get there early for a good viewing spot.
Shevchenko Park & the National Palace of Arts Team Fan Zones
If you are a fan of one of the teams, then you can stop by these locations to mingle with other fans who have made the trek to Kyiv. Liverpool fans will congregate in Shevchenko Park, while fans of Real Madrid will be accommodated close to the National Palace of Arts. These spots are each a 15-minute walk from the stadium. This is where traveling club fans will get ready for the game and be the departure point from which they’ll set off to the game together. Food kiosks and information desks will be available at both sites. If you support one of the finalists, or just if you want to sample the pre-game buzz, be sure to stop by.
Bars, Pubs, and Restaurants
If you – like many others – weren’t fortunate enough to get your hands on tickets to the big match, here is your definitive guide to where to catch all the action outside the stadium.
There are many other places that will have the game on, but with over 100,000 football fans from around the world expected to converge on the Ukrainian capital, you’re well advised to book a table at your favourite location well in advance. For such a major occasion, most places will require you pay a deposit when making a reservation, against which your food and drink tab will be offset. A few places are particularly popular amongst foreigners, including:
O’Briens Irish Pub
+380 44 279 1584
Golden Gate Pub & Restaurant
+380 44 235 5188
Shato Robert Doms
+380 44 279 3704
Just Relax American Bar & Grill
+ 380 73 267 5717
+ 380 44 254 2024
Lee Reaney & Paul Niland
Champions League Finals in Kyiv
24 May at the Lobanovskyi Stadium (Hrushevskoho 3)
26 May at Olympic Stadium (Velyka Vasilkyvska 55)