UCL Preview: Bayern attempt to turn tide vs. Real Madrid; Chelsea, Atletico look to break deadlock

Ronaldo Robben Lahm (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Pep Guardiola’s tactics have long been lauded, but he will need to come up with a very strong gameplan if he is to help Bayern Munich continue their UEFA Champions League title defense.

Bayern Munich and Real Madrid will lock horns in the second leg of their semifinals series at Allianz Arena on Tuesday (2:45pm ET, Fox Deportes/Fox Soccer 2Go), and the hosts will try and overturn a 1-0 deficit after losing to a Karim Benzema goal in the opening match in Spain last week. The German giants tend to play extremely well at home, but they will need to find the delicate balance between attacking and defending in order to reach the tournament final.

Madrid know that scoring a goal would put Bayern in a bigger hole, and the Spanish heavyweights’ attack might be bolstered by the return of Gareth Bale. Bale missed this past weekend’s La Liga match, but has said he is healthy and ready to go vs. Bayern.

One player who Madrid will certainly be able to count on is Cristiano Ronaldo, who will attempt to have a bigger impact on Tuesday after struggling in his return from injury in last week’s first leg.

Bayern will be near full strength for this one, missing only defender Daniel van Buyten. That leaves Guardiola with the majority of his top players available for this bout, which should be as entertaining for the tactics deployed on both sides as it is for the individual talents on display.

In the other semifinals match:

Chelsea and Atletico Madrid will face off at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday (2:45pm ET, Fox Deportes/Fox Soccer 2Go), and both sides will look to break the deadlock after a drab goal-less draw in Spain in the first leg.

What many observers will be looking at in this one is Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s strategy. Mourinho is no stranger to deploying defensive tactics, but Chelsea playing at home might be enough to convince him to opt for a more attack-minded approach.

On the other end, Atletico boss Diego Simeone will need his side to be a bit sharper when in the final third if it is to keep its impressive run in the Champions League going. Atletico are still the only undefeated team in the competition, but they will need to deliver a stout overall performance in England in the decisive leg in order to advance to the final in Lisbon on May 24.

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Who do you think moves onto the final from these series? What is the key to Bayern Munich overturning the deficit vs. Real Madrid? How should Mourinho have Chelsea come out vs. Atletico Madrid?

Share your thoughts below.

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7 Responses to UCL Preview: Bayern attempt to turn tide vs. Real Madrid; Chelsea, Atletico look to break deadlock

  1. biff says:

    This one has all the ingredients to be an epic battle for the ages. Here’s hoping that Angel di Maria has a better game today than he had last week against Bayern in Madrid. And will be interesting to see whether Pep returns Lahm to right back and sits Rafinha.

    • Increase says:

      They gotta go Heynckes mode from the beginning. If Lahm isn’t the RB then I think the game will just be a repeat of last week.

  2. William the Terror says:

    Hope Real gets an early away goal.

    • biff says:

      I don’t think there is anything more beautiful in soccer at the current time than Madrid’s lightening quick counter-attack with the ball successfully ending up in the back of the net and no doubt Madrid will be hoping to strike early because they know that the chances of keeping a clean sheet against Bayern are slim to none.

  3. MiamiAl says:

    If Bayern can’t win home, they don’t deserve to be in the finals. I think the edge goes to Bayern today.

  4. MikeG says:

    I expect Bayern to keep the intensity high and they lose the country club feel of the team for a day. The sleeves will be rolled up. Ronaldo and Bale against Ribery and Robben. Looks like a fun game to watch if you play, coach, or cheerlead.