This is what the Champions league is about! No more pretenders, no more fairytale sides, now we’re down to the real business – the end of the season. This is a tie steeped in tradition. The game brings together two of the most successful sides in the competition’s history. Four-time winners Bayern Munich take on nine-time winners Real Madrid. The first leg will be played at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Tuesday.
These two sides have met 18 times in the knock out stage with Bayern winning in 10 of those. There are also some other interesting sub-plots to this tie.
- Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes managed Madrid for one season in 1997-98, where he won the Champions League but was sacked after the club finished 4th in the league.
- Jose Mourinho defeated Bayern Munich in the 2009-10 final with Inter Milan
- Arjen Robben will be keen to score against his former employers Madrid. While the other star, Bayern man Ribery, has been linked heavily with a move to Madrid in the past.
- Real have never won a match in Munich where this year’s final will be held. They have also only ever won one match – of a possible 22 – on German soil.
Madrid will go into the game as favorites and find themselves in good form having won six of their last seven games and scored 25 goals in the process. Bayern, on the other hand, were held to a 0-0 draw on the weekend by 12th placed Mainz and recently lost 1-0 to rivals Borussia Dortmund, a result that sees them out of the title race. But they did manage to win 12 games in a row before those last two results so should go into the match quietly confident of equalling Jose Mourinho’s men.
Both sides have plenty of attacking talent and will try to keep their opponent’s defense busy. Both sides have their star attackers: Upfront for Bayern they have Mario Gomez who has 11 goals in this season Champions League, while Ronaldo has 8 goals for Real. But overall Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 53 goals in 48 games, a quite remarkable feat. Then there is also the attacking threat of Robben, Muller and Ribery for Bayern, while Madrid can boast Benzema, Higuian, Di Maria, Kaka and Ozil to help out in attack. With so much attacking talent on display for both sides it might come down to which keeper has the better match. Again in that regard both sides can call upon world class keepers in the form of Iker Casillas for Madrid and Manuel Neuer for Bayern.
In terms of injuries, Bayern Munich will be without their defenders Daniel Van Buyten and Breno but welcome back Bastian Schweinsteiger from a one match European ban. Real Madrid will be without defender Ricardo Carvalho and utility man Lassana Diarra.
Jose Mourinho will be going all out to win the tie as he attempts to become the first manager to win the Champions league with three different clubs. Bayern will want to establish themselves amongst the elite of Europe’s clubs, particularly as their stadium will be hosting this years final. This tie has all the ingredients for a goal fest extravaganza, but more often than not these matches turn into tactical battles and cagey affairs that are often settled by a single goal. So despite the plethora of attacking talent on display don’t expect many goals. Both sides are lead by managers who have won the title before and will know what is required to get to the final. The match itself could be decided by a moment of individual brilliance in a match that may ultimately prove to be an anti-climax. I just pray to the football God’s I’m wrong.