UEFA Champions League Preview : Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo has easily been the best player this season

Cristiano Ronaldo will be holding the aces against Bayern

As the skies darken up over Munich, Real Madrid will be looking to make the most of their extraordinary performance in the first leg.

Finally, after nearly two years, a team has looked potent enough to stop the mighty Bavarians. A large part of this potency comes from the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo who had an important part to play in the first leg victory over Munich.

The first leg clearly showed us that Guardiola wanted to dominate proceedings and to complement that, Ancelotti had set up his team to attack on the break.

The only weak link in the Bayern Munich side, Rafinha was clearly exposed as Real Madrid scored a goal which was a result of Rafinha’s lapse in concentration.

Pep Guardiola was looking to break into the defense from the center in the first leg but a disciplined performance from Real Madrid’s defense made sure that didn’t happen.

Going in to the second leg, Real Madrid clearly have an advantage as they have prevented Bayern from securing any away goals and have an opportunity for them to score one.

And visibly so, Tito Vilanova’s passing has left Guardiola in tatters and he is having a hard time recouping. Madrid shouldn’t necessarily be happy over that fact but this could indirectly come as an advantage to them.

Team News

Real Madrid

Sami Khedira, has been absent for much of this season and although not visibly expressed, they are clearly missing him in midfield. His work-rate and strong tackling always gave the team an edge over the opposition but now, they do not have a player to replace him. In such a match where they would have to defend a low score, his presence would have been priceless but they have no choice but to cope with it.

Alvaro Arbeloa, too sits out due to an injury that has ruled him out of the World Cup but Dani Carvajal has been performing very well and should carry his performance from the first leg into tomorrow’s match.

Bayern Munich

The Bavarians miss just one player for the second leg. That is long-term absentee Xherdan Shaqiri. Bar him, Guardiola has a full squad at his disposal and his absence should not be of much concern.

 

Formation and Line Up

Real Madrid ( 4-2-3-1/4-3-3)

————Iker Casillas————

 

Carvajal – Ramos – Pepe – Marcelo

 

———-Modric – Alonso———

 

Di Maria — Bale – Cristiano Ronaldo

 

—————Benzema—————-

 

Bayern Munich ( 4-1-4-1 )

 

—————- Neuer—————

 

Lahm– Dante– Boateng – Alaba

 

—————Martinez—————

 

Schweinstiger – Kroos – Ribery – Robben

 

——————-Muller——————–

 Key Players

Thomas Muller

Thomas Mueller is a terrific goalpoacher

Thomas Mueller will be looking to sneak on an opportunity

He is the most potent player in the Bayern squad in front of the goal. Although Mandzukic makes up the numbers, he does not have the impact that Muller does.

Ever since the World Cup in 2010, Muller has been becoming better by the day. Capable of ghosting past through any defense, Muller is renowned for his ability to sneak past defenders and create space for himself. The goal against Manchester United in the second leg is a clear example of his ability. He popped out of nowhere to stretch out his leg and tap in the ball.

While Madrid’s defense will be having a tough time looking out for balls played in, they will have an even tougher time marking this guy. His mobile play and diagonal movement is a nightmare for defenders which makes it literally impossible to man mark him.

Should Bayern get the all-important first goal, I doubt he would not be the guy who does it.

Luka Modric

Luka Modric - the Croat magician!

Luka Modricm will pull the strings from Real’s midfield

As was evident in the first leg, Luka Modric is the orchestrator in Madrid’s midfield. Unlike his counterparts in various other teams, he has a tendency to track back and win the ball.

Although Alonso is the better passer, the fact that he will be defending deep gives him virtually no space. This leaves Modric as the man to control their attacks and I should say he did a brilliant job in the first leg.

Should Real Madrid want to score on the counter, they will be looking up to Modric to release their players up front. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale waiting to pounce, Modric’s passing will be vital and play a decisive role in Real’s road to a la decima.

Head to Head

Bayern Munich – Won 8

Real Madrid – Won 6

Drawn – 1

Pep Guardiola’s record against Real Madrid – Won 9- Lost 4- Drawn 2

Carlo Ancelloti’s record against Bayern Munich – 7 played, 5 won, 2 drawn

 Prediction

The current circumstances place Real Madrid in the position of winning and I would not differ from that. The failure of Bayern to secure an away goal might prove them costly.

Bayern clearly showed that there are loopholes in their defense and with a fully fit Ronaldo, it would only make it tough for Bayern should they not plug the loopholes.

Real Madrid 1 – 1 Bayern Munich

Real Madrid progress on aggregate.



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