A star-studded Toulon side out-muscled French rivals ASM Clermont Auvergne in last year's Aviva Stadium showcase when a breakaway try from Delon Armitage and three Jonny Wilkinson penalties saw the men from the south of France triumph 16-15. They have since added the likes of southern hemisphere heroes Drew Mitchell and Bryan Habana to their ranks, with the latter hoping to follow Brad Thorn, Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw in tasting World Cup, Tri Nations, Super Rugby and Heineken Cup glory.
Saracens will be hoping to complete their own evolution by clinching a European title for the very first time after reaching the Heineken Cup quarter finals in 2012 and the semis in 2008 and 2013. Their last Heineken Cup adventure was ended by Toulon at Twickenham as Wilkinson stole the show once more in a 24-12 scoreline in South West London.
Toulon have only been defeated once in this year's competition, and it could be a good omen for Saracens, as it came in Cardiff. However, apart from the 19-15 defeat to the Blues at the Amlin Challenge Cup Final venue of the Arms Park, Toulon have painted a picture of consistency, having beaten Irish heavyweights Leinster and Munster and teams from four separate countries on their way to the final.
Saracens snuck into the quarter finals after finishing runners up in Pool 2, after they were narrowly beaten home and away by quarter-finalists and four-times tournament winners Toulouse. But they fought back to overcome Ulster at Ravenhill in a pulsating last-eight clash and went on to smash last year's finalists Clermont 46-6 in their Twickenham semi-final.
That semi-final success saw Sarries break a whole host of records as they picked up the biggest winning margin, most points scored and most tries scored in a final-four encounter, while wing Chris Ashton raced past Sebastien Carrat's 17-year record for the most tries in a single Heineken Cup campaign when his latest brace to him to 11 so far this term.
Holders Toulon have won their last seven games and are in red-hot form as they bid to emulate Leicester Tigers and Leinster in winning back-to-back Heineken Cups but Sarries are also in good form with eight wins in their last 10 matches.
Both sides will be competing for domestic silverware the week after their continental clash after Toulon beat Racing Metro 16-6 in their last outing to book their place in the Top 14 final and Saracens came from behind to see off Harlequins 31-17 in the Aviva Premiership semi-final last Saturday.
The 19th Heineken Cup Final could provide a fitting European send off for both captains, with Wilkinson and Steve Borthwick set to retire at the end of the current campaign. Wilkinson is already among five names in contention for the ERC European Player of the Year award - a title he currently holds from last season - but Borthwick faces a late battle to overcome a pectoral injury to take his place in the Saracens' starting line-up.
- Toulon have averaged more successful penalty kicks (4.3) per game than any other club in the competition. ?
- Jonny Wilkinson is the top points scorer in the Heineken Cup this season (100) while Chris Ashton is the top try scorer (11) - a record number for an individual in a Heineken Cup campaign.
- During this season and 2012/13, Wilkinson has missed just one of 26 attempts at goal in five knockout stage games for Toulon. ?
- 14 of Saracens' tries this season have come in the final 20 minutes of their matches (more than any other side); Toulon have scored just five in this period. ?
- Steffon Armitage has won more turnovers than any other player in the Heineken Cup this season (17); he has also completed 64 of the 67 tackles he has attempted. ?
- Of the 15 players to take 40+ lineout throws this season, Schalk Brits has the best success rate, finding a teammate with 91% (69/76) of his throws. The South African has also made more carries, metres and tackles than any hooker in the tournament this season. ?
- France, England and Ireland have each produced the Heineken Cup winners on six occasions.
- Toulon would be the third club to win back-to-back Heineken Cup titles if they triumph on Saturday. Leicester Tigers achieved the feat in 2001 and 2002, as did Leinster Rugby 2011 and 2012. ?
- Saracens will become the 11th club to win the Heineken Cup if they succeed at the Millennium Stadium; they are the 17th different club to play in a tournament final. ?
- Saracens have averaged more points (35) and tries (4.8) per game than any other side in the Heineken Cup this season, and have also made more clean breaks (9.9) per game.