Competition: UEFA Champions League (Semi-Finals; Second-Leg)
Time: 9:45 PM (KSA)
For the fourth time in as many years, Real Madrid find themselves in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. For the third time in four years, Real Madrid find themselves in the semi-finals against a German opposition. For the second time in four years, Real Madrid find themselves in the semi-finals against Bayern Munich. And, hopefully, for the first time in four years, Real Madrid can find themselves in the final of the UEFA Champions League…
Bayern Munich come into this game wanting to show the world exactly what they are capable of. During the first-leg, they had all the possession they needed but simply weren’t able to get past Real Madrid in a very tight game. They kept on trying from the first second until the last but nothing fully worked out for them. A counter-attack from Real Madrid was enough to give the Spanish giants a one-goal advantage coming into this game.
Josep Guardiola’s men will want to show everyone that they really are a team to be considered the best in the world and making it through against Real Madrid will be a major step. As they go on their way to attempt an unprecedented UEFA Champions League double, Los Blancos will be there to make sure it doesn’t happen this year.
It goes without saying that this will be a difficult game but Bayern Munich are more than capable of overcoming the 1-0 deficit, especially in front of their own fans. They will make it very difficult and uncomfortable for the visiting team and will want everything to work in their favor as they will be coming out in full throttle from the first whistle.
Prepare to see some more ‘tiki-taka’ but with more efficiency. The Bavarians are a team who learn from their mistakes and will know what to expect this time from Real Madrid. Therefore, expect them to have the same philosophy that they always do but with more attack and faster movement on the pitch to catch Real Madrid off-guard whenever it is possible. One thing you can pretty much guarantee as we wait for tomorrow’s game is that Bayern Munich will score and it will be Real Madrid’s job to make sure that they are able to get a goal at least in order to have a wider margin and make it through.
Arjen Robben – The Dutch midfielder did everything that he could during the first-leg but was always stopped by Fabio Coentrão on the wings. This time, he will want it to be different and be able to be a star in the game. He is fast and can get past opponents and will make sure he doesn’t commit the same mistakes against Coentrão again.
Mario Mandžukić – The Croatian forward wasn’t really much of a threat when the two teams met in Spain and therefore will want that to change in Germany. He is a great attacker and knows how important it’s going to be for Bayern Munich to get a goal. Expect him to be roaming around and being able to be there incase Los Merengues make a mistake (which, to be honest, is quite expected) as he will make sure the ball ends up in the back of the net.
Manuel Neuer – Expect to see a world class performance from one of the greatest goalkeepers in the world. Conceding a goal could mean that it is all over for the Bavarians and therefore it will be Neuer’s job to stop any threat as the team will be doing what they can to come back into this game.
My Predicted Bayern Munich Lineup:
Manuel Neuer, Dante, Rafinha, Jerome Boateng, Phillipp Lahm, David Alaba, Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Mario Mandžukić
Real Madrid CF:
After Karim Benzema’s goal in the first-leg, Real Madrid come into this game with a one goal advantage. With that said, the tie is not even close to being over. During the quarter-finals, Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in Spain only to go to Germany and almost be knocked out as they lost 2-0.
Carlo Ancelotti knows that Real Madrid cannot afford to sit back and defend and therefore he has already admitted that they will be going to Germany in search for at least a goal. With Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema all fit to play, they will be there to fight for all the attacks and will show their speed and determination with any counter-attacking opportunities they may get.
Los Merengues know how difficult it is to visit Germany and will do everything in their power not to let history repeat itself. They don’t have a great record when playing against German teams and will want that to change as they continue their search for La Décima. They have been searching for their tenth UEFA Champions League title after winning their last European title in 2002 and they are now 180 minutes away from making this dream finally come true.
One major problem with Real Madrid this season is their missed chances and we have all seen that in the first-leg of the tie. The game could have easily ended 3-0 to Los Merengues but both, Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria, missed one-on-one opportunities as the game ended 1-0 with the only goal coming from Karim Benzema after a great assist from Fabio Coentrão.
Real Madrid will want to take advantage of the mistakes that the Bayern Munich defense will make and that will be their best chance of winning. Missed opportunities can potentially come back and haunt them especially with a team that have one of the best attacking lineups in Europe. It will be difficult but it isn’t impossible.
Cristiano Ronaldo – The Portuguese will want to show everyone that he is more than prepared to come back onto the big stage after returning from injury. He didn’t have the greatest game against Bayern Munich in the first-leg but was able to show his full power after two amazing goals against Osasuna earlier this week. He is more than ready to fight as hard as he can in Germany.
Fabio Coentrão – The Portuguese left back had a massive game in the first leg and was rested this weekend as he looks forward to continue this great run of form tomorrow night. He is prepared to show his versatility as we all saw what he was really capable of last week. With a great assist to Benzema and stopping Robben during every opportunity, we are all expecting to see the same from his this time.
Xabi Alonso – The Spanish midfielder was also rested during Osasuna as he came on late in the second half to replace Luka Modric. Alonso has gone through many ups and downs this season but had one of his best games in a White shirt last week against the Bavarians. As expected, he will want to do the same this time and control the midfield with all that he has got. He will be prepared.
Iker Casillas – The Spanish goalkeeper has been massive in his appearances this season and was also a major reason as to why Real Madrid had a clean sheet in the first leg. He will want to continue this form as he leads the team to the tenth title. He is used to the pressure and will want to make sure he does everything he can to stop any opportunities coming his way.
My Predicted Real Madrid Lineup:
Iker Casillas, Daniel Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Fabio Coentrão, Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Ángel Di María, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema
Bayern Munich search for their second consecutive UEFA Champions League title while Real Madrid search for their tenth Champions League title in history. This will be a massive game for both teams as they will both be fighting with all they have got. A massive game worthy of being a final as both teams prepare to meet at the Allianz Arena tomorrow night.