The second leg between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid - Bayern Munich’s bid to successfully defend its Champions League title took a major blow after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in their semifinal first leg away from home. Can manager Pep Guardiola rally his troops for the season-defining second leg at the Allianz Arena?
Bayern Munich’s penchant for keeping the ball and doing little to nothing with it struck again in their 1-0 loss at the Bernabeu. Despite dominating 72% of the possession, the defending champions manufactured few clear-cut opportunities to test the Madrid goal.Bayern has been in a tailspin ever since winning the league title at the end of March. The German champions have gone just 3-2-3 in their last eight games, and 1-2-1 in their last four in the Champions League.
Bayern eventually did turn up the pressure on Real, but it was too little, too late. In the second leg, the fervent home support may just force Bayern to be more assertive from the start, especially since they will need to overcome a one-goal deficit.
As fellow Germans Borussia Dortmund proved in their quarterfinal, Real can be vulnerable at the back. But to fully get at Real’s defense, Bayern must play faster and utilize their wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben (seven Champions League goals combined), who were not as effective in the first leg.
Real Madrid are feeling good taking a one-goal lead to Germany for the second leg, but they could so easily have had an even bigger advantage had they taken their opportunities better.
The tournament’s leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo (14 goals), back after four games out due to injury, was one of the culprits, but he should be able to return to full match sharpness by the second leg.
Despite conceding the lion’s share of possession to Bayern at home, Real still looked much more dangerous in attack while their backline kept Bayern’s offense relatively silent. They will face a similar scenario in Germany and should employ a similar gameplan, but they must be prepared to be more clinical with their finishing.
Real are not at their best away from home; they’ve lost two of their last three games, including the quarterfinal away leg against Borussia Dortmund, which was without Ronaldo. Still, when Ronaldo plays, Real has scored in every Champions League game.
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