Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 10°C Tuesday 18 May 2021

5 talking points ahead of Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

After pulling off a 1-0 win in the first leg, Real travel to Bavaria aiming to knock out the reigning champions.

Cristiano Ronaldo shields the ball from Rafinha.
Cristiano Ronaldo shields the ball from Rafinha.
Image: Ivan Abanades Medina/CORDON/Press Association Images

1.  Different styles clash

LAST WEEK’S FIRST leg witnessed the counter-attacking style of Real Madrid win out against Bayern Munich’s possession-based game with Karim Benzema scoring after 19 minutes to hand the Spaniards a narrow advantage.

The current champions may have begun brightly and enjoyed 72 percent possession on the night but, despite that dominance, they were left frustrated at being unable to create clear-cut chances at the Bernabeu.

Benzema’s goal saw the home side break with pace down the left as Fabio Coentrao latched onto Cristiano Ronaldo’s pass and put the ball on a plate for the Frenchman to score from close range.


2. Contrasting form

Currently third in La Liga, Real have won their last four games (including the the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona) while scoring 11 goals and conceding just one along the way.

Bayern, on the other hand, have been beaten three times in April as Augbsburg and Borussia Dortmund claimed victories in the league with the title already wrapped up.

That said, they did defeat Werder Bremen 5-2 over the weekend thanks to goal from Claudio Pizarro (2), Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben.

3. Real boosted by return of Bale

The world’s most expensive player was restricted to a substitute appearance in the first leg and sat out Saturday’s 4-0 win over Osasuna with the flu.

However, Gareth Bale  has been training on his own in a bid to get himself right and is line to start tonight, which will be a boost to Carlo Ancelotti given he recently showed his worth on the big stage by scoring the winner in the Copa del Rey final.

Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t fully fit a week ago but still had three shots on target and came up with a telling pass for the game’s only goal, which earned him praise from his manager. He also scored with two brilliant strikes on Saturday.

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

4. Bayern need Ribery to step up

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Semi Final - First Leg - Real Madrid v Bayern Munich - Santiago Bernabeu Source: EMPICS Sport

“Franck Ribery is very important for us. He has been at Bayern longer than me and I am happy, of course, if he plays with energy and motivation.

“He sometimes needs an angriness and I am sure he will play very well tomorrow.

He has this fighting spirit. He always wants to fight for the team, that’s why the people love him. He is one of the most fantastic players in the history of Bayern.”

Those were the words of Pep Guardiola in yesterday’s pre-match press conference. He has called upon Ribery to show why why only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi finished ahead of him in this year’s Ballon d’Or.

5. Previous meetings

When the teams faced off at this stage of the competition in 2012, Bayern claimed a 2-1 first leg win before a double from Ronaldo sent the tie to extra-time and penalties.

However, he missed from the spot along with Sergio Ramos and Kaka and the Bavarians progressed to the final.

Bayern may be looking to become the first team to retain the Champions League but in seven meetings with them, Carlo Ancelotti remains unbeaten.

After 287 goals and 5 Premier League promotions, 40-year-old Kevin Phillips is retiring

Here’s our SSE Airtricity League Premier Division Team of the Week

About the author:

Ben Blake

Read next: