Result: Bayern Munich 1-2 Real Madrid
Scorers: Bayern Munich (1-0) Joshua Kimmich 27th Minute
Real Madrid (1-1) Marcelo 43rd Minute
Real Madrid (1-2) Marcos Asensio 56th Minute
Despite the fact of how dominant Bayern Munich are in Germany they are still somewhat European Underdogs, despite winning the Competition in 2013. It was an unlucky day for the Bavarian-based side losing 2-1 to Zidane’s Real Madrid setting the fixture up perfectly from a neutral point of view for the clash at the Bernabeu on the 5th of May.
First half Bayern stood firm and posed a threat to the 12-time Champions League Winners. In particular Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich who would later go onto score and former Madrid Man James Rodriquez shining in the first half.
Bayern’s goal came from sloppy play from Real Madrid with full-back Marcelo one of the main culprits in the goal. The Brazilian tried to keep the ball in play in the Bayern Half, then the Germans pounced with Kimmich sprinting the length of the pitch and then being played in by James Rodriquez. The youngster and makeshift right-back kept a cool head proceeding to blasted the ball past Keylor Navas at his near post putting Bayern ahead.
In truth that was not the end of Navas’s faults with the Costa Rican native turning into Superman on one too many occasions leaping to punch the ball out of danger, rather than simply catch it. With eyebrows raised at his every decision, it is no wonder Real Madrid are looking to bring in a new man between the sticks this summer.
Yet previously mentioned Marcelo struck back at the other end of the pitch blasting the ball past Bayern Keeper Ulreich who is deputising for the injured Manuel Neuer at the stroke of Half-time, while defensively the Brazilian looks out of sorts at times the Brazilian is definitely World Class going forward.
But after Half-time Real Madrid came out of the blocks sprinting, yet Bayern looked equally as capable as before. Real Madrid’s second-half resurgence is definitely, in part thanks to Marcos Asensio who came on at half-time for fellow Spaniard Isco.
While Real’s Brazilian full-back shined, Bayern’s Brazilian full-back Rafinha seemed to shrink. In the team due to injured David Alaba Bayern fans will be praying for the full-backs swift return after Rafinha’s 55th-minute error. The 32-year-old made a rookie error passing the ball to Lucas Vazquez deep in the Bayern Half, a simple pass to the unmarked Asensio who, in acres of space expertly caressed the ball pass the stand in Bayern Keeper once again gave Madrid two away goals to take back to Spain.
It wouldn’t be a Real Madrid game without talking about Mr.Madrid himself Cristiano Ronaldo. By his standards, the Portuguese international was quiet not having a serious hand in both of the goals, yet his leadership, tracking back and physical presence definitely went some way for Real Madrid’s “smash and grab” at the Allianz Arena. The former Manchester United man did put the ball in the back of the net, yet it was ruled out for handball due to the suspected use of his arm to control the ball.
Quite possibly the sheer volume of injuries may steal the headlines themselves with Boateng, Javi Martinez, Carvahal and Varane all left needing treatment. What is more remarkable is that 3 of the mentioned 4 had to be substituted with Bayern centre-back, Boateng looking like the worst of the bunch with a serious knee injury now making it unlikely he will play at the upcoming World Cup.
What is clear however is that both sides never really hit top gear. Bayern never really fully utilised their talisman Robert Lewandowski who, like Ronaldo was quiet in attack. For Real despite the likes of Varane being dubbed “the next big thing in Madrid” and the Frenchman keeping Lewandowski off the scoresheet Los Blancos still looked sloppy in defence. At times it looked more like a Championship clash than a European fixture with wayward passes, poor challenges and occasional moments of madness. But of course, exciting all the same.
Both need to improve, but my question is who will be heading to the final? Do Real Madrid have one foot in the final? Let us know your predictions on this game in the comments below and who do you think will be in the final this year?
featured image credit Premium Times