UEFA Champions League: Real Madrid, Bayern Munich open semifinal round

Ronaldo getty


By JOHN BOSCHINI

Despite the dominance Real Madrid have exhibited in this season's UEFA Champions League, speculation lingers that their route to the semifinals has something to do with poor opposition along the way.

Jose Mourinho's men have yet to play a team from England, Spain, Germany or Italy in their 10 UEFA Champions League matches, but all that will change when they travel to the Allianz Arena to take on German powerhouse Bayern Munich in the opening leg of their semifinal tie. Madrid are searching for their first Champions League title in 10 years, while Munich have the added incentive of playing for a chance to reach the final that is taking place in their home stadium. 

This is a matchup of two of the most prolific offenses in Europe. In UCL play, Real Madrid have scored 33 goals, while Munich have scored 25 despite being drawn into perilous Group A. For Bayern Munich, defending their home field has been a constant, as the club has won all five UCL games at home while only conceding three times. That stretch will be put to the test, as Real Madrid have been virtually as dominant on the road, making the first leg a dead heat. 

Here is a closer look at the Madrid-Munich semifinal clash:

BAYERN MUNICH VS. REAL MADRID

TV: Fox Soccer Channel, 2:45 p.m.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Both sides have been efficient while at times explosive in their path to the semifinals. Real Madrid have yet to face any real challenges but a +27 goal differential have shown how dominant Madrid can be. Their 8-2 aggregate victory over APOEL Niocsia in the quarterfinals was well over before the return leg at the Bernabeu.

Bayern Munich used a pair of 2-0 wins over Marseille to easily advance into the semifinals. Ivica Olic made a surprising return to the scoresheet with a brace in the return leg.

THE LOWDOWN: While both offenses have been clicking on all cylinders recently, a flurry of goals is unlikely. Madrid have shown a willingness to play defensively and use the speed of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil and Karim Benzema to strike on the counterattack. It was the same strategy Mourinho used to defeat Barcelona while coach of Inter Milan in 2010 before beating Bayern in the final.  

Munich is tough to break down at home, however, having won 12 of their last 13 European competitions at the Allianz Arena and have only dropped points twice at home in their last 22 games in all competitions.

Bastian Schweinsteiger will be available for selection, but his lack of match fitness could see him utilized as a substitute. Madrid will see the return of Xabi Alonso but will be without Ricardo Carvalho and Lassana Diarra.

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What do you think of today's game? Can Bayern Munich take the advantage or will Real Madrid effectively end the tie before the second leg?

Share your thoughts below.

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8 Responses to UEFA Champions League: Real Madrid, Bayern Munich open semifinal round

  1. SR says:

    I miss the espn3 live streaming of these matches. Stuck at work and won’t be able to concentrate on anything else.

  2. Polo says:

    “Jose Mourinho’s men have yet to play a team from England, Spain, Germany or Italy in their 10 UEFA Champions League matches…”

    That is a little too convenient to be a coincidence.

  3. SR says:

    Indeed. I guess a jump from Cyprus’ finest to Germany’s finest will show us if Real is for real…no pun intended.

  4. biff says:

    But Madrid had to play in Moscow in February. That was a dangerous road test. I bet Bayern was greatly relieved to be playing in Basel and Barcelona at Bayer Leverkusen (two of whose boys embarrassed team management by begging Messi at half-time for his jersey). Moscow is not a bad team and anything was possible playing in the Russian winter, but Madrid was able to leave with a 1-1 tie.

  5. biff says:

    That is true, but Bayern is “all shook up” right now after the devastating loss to Dortmund last week and the 0-0 tie against Mainz. Jupp Heynckes, who is a class guy, is a nervous wreck, you can see it in his pre-game interviews. And the Bayern players are talking bravely, but it is ringing kind of hollow and they seem uptight. That said, they are no doubt an excellent team and are going to fight like hell and have the potential to give Madrid hard time. But at the same time, I am not going to be surprised if Madrid is able to dominate and score two or three goals while holding Bayern scoreless as Dortmund and Mainz was able to do. Whatever happens, this is going to be epic battle. Can’t wait.

  6. Dimidri says:

    Why are both games on at the same time….this isn’t the third group stage game of the World Cup, there’s no reason for this.

  7. Dan says:

    Same time, different day. Tune in tomorrow for Barca/Chelsea.

  8. toni says:

    Any online streams of the game?