Bayern take on Real Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal tie at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday, in a repeat of last season’s quarterfinal clash.
Jupp Heynckes’s Bayern booked their place in the semis with relative comfort having overcome Sevilla 2-1 in the quarters, while Los Blancos’ progress was a little less straightforward.
Zinedine Zidane’s side appeared to be strolling through when they thrashed Juventus 3-0 in the first leg in Turin. However, a remarkable capitulation in the return leg saw I Bianconeri claw back three goals.
The tie looked to be heading into extra time until Real were awarded a controversial last minute penalty which Cristiano Ronaldo emphatically converted to secure a 4-3 aggregate victory.
The two European juggernauts have met in 24 Champions League matches. The head-to-head record is even at 11-11-2, with Real just edging Bayern in total goals in that time, 37-36.
Thanks to last season’s controversial quarterfinal clash, you don’t have to look too far back to find a classic encounter.
The holders traveled to Munich for the first leg of the highly anticipated tie. It was the hosts, however, who got off to the perfect start when Arturo Vidal headed in the opening goal of the game in the 25th minute.
Vidal should have scored his and Bayern’s second goal of the game when Dani Carvajal was controversially penalized for handball in the box, but the Chilean blasted the resultant spot kick over the bar.
It was a poor first half from Los Blancos but they equalized only minutes after the break when Cristiano Ronaldo ended an astonishing 11-hour wait for a goal with a sweeping finish past Manuel Neuer. Javi Martínez then received his second yellow of the game on the hour mark before Ronaldo completed the turn around in the 77th minute. If it weren’t for the heroics of Neuer, the tie could easily have been wrapped up in the first leg.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and Bayern traveled to Spain’s capital in need of at least two goals. Robert Lewandowski, who missed the first leg due to injury, rifled home their first from the penalty spot minutes into the second half. Ronaldo headed Real level in the 76th minute but just 36 seconds later Bayern were back in front when Sergio Ramos inadvertently diverted the ball past Keylor Navas.
The game took a controversial turn from thereon in. Vidal received a harsh second yellow card for what looked like a good challenge on Marco Asensio. The visitors held out for extra time but their resistance was broken when Ronaldo – who was clearly standing in an offside position – smashed an effort past Neuer to put his side ahead 4-3 on aggregate.
Any hopes of a Bayern comeback were dashed when Ronaldo tapped in his 100th Champions League goal – again, he looked to be in an offside position. Youngster Asensio scored Real’s fourth of the night minutes later to secure a 6-3 aggregate victory for the eventual European champions.
Bayern Munich Home Form: WDWWDW
Die Roten have scored five or more goals in four of their last six games at home – five against Besiktas and Borussia Mönchengladbach, six against Borussia Dortmund and Hamburger SV. In the two games they have failed to score, they’ve made sure not to concede.
Over the course of the season, Bayern boast the best home record in the Bundesliga having won 13 and drawn two of their 15 games in Bavaria thus far. The newly crowned champions are also the top home scorers with an astounding total of 51 goals (3.4 per game), while at the other end they have conceded on just ten occasions (0.2 per game).
Real Madrid Away Form: WWWWWL
Zidane’s side will be looking to secure their sixth consecutive away victory in Munich on Wednesday. Their last loss outside of Madrid was a disappointing one against relegation-threatened Espanyol (no longer the case) back in March. Since then, they have claimed a number of impressive victories, most notably in the Champions League against PSG and Juventus.
Overall, Real have the second best away record in La Liga behind table-toppers Barcelona. They have won ten and lost two of their 16 games away from the Santiago Bernabeu. Los Blancos are also behind rivals Barca for the most away goals scored with a total of 34 (2.1 per game) and have conceded 17 times at the opposite end (1.1 per game).
For Bayern, Arturo Vidal remains sidelined having sustained a knee injury at the start of April. Manuel Neuer and youngster Kingsley Coman will also both miss the game as they continue recovery from injury.
Neuer took part in training for the first time since September at the weekend, but the German international won’t be ready to feature against Real on Wednesday.
The only expected absentee for the visitors is versatile young center back Nacho.
Potential Bayern Starting Lineup: Ulreich, Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Rafinha, Martinez, Thiago, Robben, James, Muller, Lewandowski.
Potential Real Madrid Starting Lineup: Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo.
It will be an intriguing game between arguably the best two teams left in the Champions League.
Real Madrid have had two impressive performances and results in their last two away games in the competition against Juventus and PSG. Nevertheless, a look at their domestic record this season – and even their earlier form in Europe – shows that they haven’t been at their imperious best.
Bayern, on the other hand, have already secured their sixth consecutive Bundesliga title and are yet to lose a game at the Allianz Arena this season. If, unlike in the previous two encounters, Bayern can keep all 11 men on the field, they should triumph.
Bayern vs Real Madrid 3-1