BERLIN — The Latest from the Champions League final:
As the sun sinks into a fiery ball on the Berlin horizon, the pitch for the Champions League final has been turned into a riot of color by 400 performers in the opening ceremony.
Soprano Nina Maria Fisher and tenor Manual Gomez Ruiz are singing the Champions League anthem, Handel's "Zadok the Priest," accompanied by 50 voices of the Junges Ensemble Berlin Choir.
The teams have filed out.
Kickoff is moments away.
Environmental activists are piggybacking on the Champions League final spotlight, unfurling a giant banner from a towering stone pillar that overlooks the Olympic Stadium, venue of tonight's showpiece match.
The banner urges Russian energy giant Gazprom, a tournament sponsor, not to drill for oil in the Artic.
Our Associated Press reporter Rob Harris tweeted this photo of the "No Artic Oil" banner flapping in the breeze: https://twitter.com/RobHarris/status/607251598159552512
Not sure that many fans saw it: Eyes are riveted on the pre-tournament show.
There's a resounding battle of noise between the tens of thousands of opposing fans in the Olympic Stadium. Shrill whistling from the Juventus half was as loud as a jumbo jet on take-off when the stadium announcer read out the Barcelona players' names. Barca fans returned the favor when the Juventus lineup was announced.
The referee for the Champions League final, Cuneyt Cakir, is not shy about pulling out red cards in big games.
At the 2012 Club World Cup final, the 38-year-old from Turkey sent off Chelsea's Gary Cahill and Corinthians won 1-0.
In 2013, he sent off Manchester United's Nani in a Champions League last-16 match.
Cakir's assistants at the Olympic Stadium are his countrymen Bahattin Duran and Tarik Ongun. The fourth official is Jonas Eriksson from Sweden.
Two additional assistant referees, Huseyin Gocek and Baris Simsek, are also from Turkey. A reserve assistant referee, Mustafa Emre Eyisoy, completes the officiating team.
No surprises from either Massimiliano Allegri or Luis Enrique. The Juventus and Barcelona coaches are sticking with the winning formulas that got their teams to the Champions League final.
Barcelona is unchanged from the side that lost 3-2 loss at Bayern Munich in the semifinal, second leg, but which still advanced 5-3 on aggregate to the final. 2010 World Cup winning goal scorer Andres Iniesta starts in the Barcelona midfield, seemingly recovered from a right knee problem.
For Juventus, Andrea Barzagli replaces injured defender Giorgio Chiellini. That is the only change in the team that tied 1-1 with Real Madrid in the semifinal, second leg, to advance 3-2 on aggregate.
How the finalists line up:
Barcelona: Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Daniel Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Andres Iniesta; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar.
Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Patrice Evra; Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal; Alvaro Morata, Carlos Tevez.
Some thrive, others wilt under the intense pressure of club football's biggest game, the Champions League final. Paul Pogba looks like he can't wait.
The Juventus midfielder, chewing what looks like a plastic coffee-stirrer, sported an ear-to-ear grin as he wandered onto the Olympic Stadium pitch. He whipped out his mobile phone to record the scene for posterity and went over to greet a section of Juventus fans.
Neymar — a prong in the Barcelona attacking trio, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, that has scored 120 goals so far this season — is looking cool as a cucumber, too. Headphones on, the Brazilian sang to himself as he came off the Barcelona bus. Samba, perhaps.
Down in the locker rooms, the players' jerseys await. Video here: https://twitter.com/FCBarcelona/status/607235500638912512
The venue for the Champions League final, Berlin's Olympic Stadium, is steeped in history, some of it very dark.
The Nazis built it as their showpiece arena to milk the propaganda value of the 1936 Olympic Games. Adolf Hitler himself selected the design by brothers Werner and Walter March.
But sharecroppers' son Jesse Owens stole the Olympic show. Winning four gold medals, the black American made a mockery of Nazi claims of Aryan supremacy. Hitler refused to enter the stadium when Owens competed.
Barcelona and Juventus fans are flocking to the stadium on a road named in his honor. Owens is also remembered — along with other gold medalists from 1936 — on a stone plaque carved with their names. Here's a photo: https://twitter.com/johnleicester/status/607202230261972992
After the Allied victory in 1945, British troops took over the arena. In 2002, during renovation work, a 250-kilogram (550-pound) British bomb was plucked from beneath the lower ring of seats.
Downtown, at the Brandenburg Gate that was on the dividing line between East and West Berlin during the Cold War, it is party time, with a capital 'P.'
Fans of Juventus and Barcelona, the Champions League finalists, are filling the air with chants, bouncing up and down in unison, waving flags and quenching their thirst with beer on the German capital's hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures into the high 20s Celsius (above 80 Fahrenheit.)
Many Barca fans have been letting their hair down at Breitscheidplatz in the west of Berlin, while Juve fans massed at Alexanderplatz in the east. One of them set off a flare, sending others scampering for safety. Police officers are patrolling in numbers around the city.
Sick of FIFA corruption? Itching for Sepp Blatter to make good on his promise to leave soccer's governing body? In which case, let the football — not its sordid politics — take your mind off the unpleasantness for a few hours.
The Champions League final is two hours away. Thousands of sun-roasted but expectant fans are thronging at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin for the ultimate showcase of club football and are painting the town Juventus white and black and Barcelona red and blue.
One quarter of the stadium looks like a copy of the Camp Nou, Barcelona's stadium, with seats in the club's colors and writing out its slogan: "Mes Que Un Club" — "More than a club."