Champions League: Ruthless Real Madrid leave Bayern Munich with uphill battle

Bayern Munich face an uphill battle to qualify for their first Champions League final since 2013, after a 2-1 home loss to Real Madrid. Goals from Marcelo and Marco Asensio carried Real to the win in a low-quality game.

Real to the win in a low-quality game.

UEFA Champions League Halbfinale | FC Bayern München - Real Madrid | TOR Madrid (Reuters/K. Pfaffenbach)

Bayern Munich 1 – 2 Real Madrid
(Kimmich 28′ – Marcelo 44′, Asensio 57′)

Allianz Stadium, Munich

Bayern Munich aren’t used to losing. They’re certainly not used to losing six in a row. But that’s how things stand against Real Madrid after the holders got the better of a nervy, injury-interrupted game where neither of these European giants showed their best side.

Bayern will now need at least two goals in the Bernabeu next Tuesday to stand any chance of progression or giving Jupp Heynckes the treble-winning send off so many Bayern supporters crave.

Both sides looked shaky early on as a string of knocks – one of which forced Arjen Robben off the pitch after eight minutes – affected the tempo and quality of the early exchanges. Both sides were uncharacteristically loose in possession and lacked any sort of cohesion.

While Bayern had more of the ball, Real gradually grew in to the contest and were close to taking the lead in the 23rd minute, when Dani Carvajal stung the plams of Sven Ulreich from the edge of the box.

But it was from another Spanish attack that the German champions took the lead. After Cristiano Ronaldo just failed to reach a right-wing cross, Real left-back Marcelo was caught up by the Bayern goalline. Ulreich quickly received a second ball and started an attack that eventually saw James Rodriguez find Kimmich in the acres of space Marcelo had left behind.

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Kimmich galloped  forward and, lacking a crossing option, fired a fierce but hopeful shot towards Keylor Navas’ near post. The Costa Rican could only palm the ball in to the net and will regret leaving so much space for Kimmich to exploit.

Arjen Robben's night ended early (Reuters/K. Pfaffenbach)

Arjen Robben was one of three Bayern players to depart injured. Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng were the other two

Despite another injury, this time to Jerome Boateng, Bayern were starting to find their stride. Thomas Müller had a volley denied by a last-gasp block and Navas was able to punch a cross away from Lewandowski.

Then came the sucker punch. As a loose ball bounced around the box, Cristiano Ronaldo shaped to try an overhead kick before thinking better of it. But a cluster of Bayern defenders were drawn to the man who scored five against them in last season’s quarter final and ignored Marcelo. The ball fell to the Brazilian and he fired it low and past Ulreich on the bounce.

It was another full-back responsible for the third, though Rafinha will not look back on his part in Madrid’s second with any fondness. As a set piece was cleared, he had plenty of  time to pick a pass but found only recently-introduced substitute Marco Asensio. The Spaniard drove from his own half, exchanging passes with Lucas Vazquez and pausing briefly before clipping past Ulreich with his left foot.

Again Bayern responded. Ribery continued to trouble Carvajal, who completed an eventful evening for full backs with a second half injury, but couldn’t find a way past Navas. But Bayern’s best chance fell to both Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski. The pair went for the same backpost knockdown, blocking each other’s path as the goal gaped with the clock ticking down.

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Lewandowski was denied by Navas in the final embers of the game but it was the mis-communication between the frontmen that summed up a frustrating night for Bayern in a game that lacked the quality expected from these teams on this stage. The German champions will need much more than this if they intend to turn around this deficit in Madrid next Tuesday.

(Culled from dw.com)

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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