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Real Madrid Vs. Bayern Munich, UEFA Champions League 2012 Match Preview: The Road to the Final

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After Chelsea's victory over Barcelona in the Semifinals, Real Madrid remains the only Spanish team that has the possibility of advancing to the Champions League Final in Munich. Chelsea will play this decisive game without starters Meireles, Ramires, Terry and Ivanovic, so Madrid has a golden chance of getting la Décima if they manage to beat Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabéu today at 20:45 CET.

Mourinho's team will need to comeback from the 2-1 loss they suffered at the Allianz Arena. Madrid deserved to get the 1-1 draw, but Mario Gómez scored in the last minute to put his team ahead and finish the game. Granero is expected to start this game--he was in yesterday's press conference- but whether he will do so in a 4-3-3 formation or the classic 4-2-3-1 remains to be seen.

Some Real Madrid players need to be careful with tonight's game. If Xabi Alonso, Coentrao, Ramos or Higuaín see a yellow card, they will not be able to play in the Final. That's one possibility that would explain Granero's place at the starting lineup. He might be replacing Xabi Alonso so the midfielder ensures his presence in the Final against Chelsea if the team wins today.

Khedira has been playing well lately and he provides a bigger defensive presence than Granero. Bayern will surely try to score a goal given that the 1-0 result would be desirable for Mourinho and his men. It might be too risky to start Granero alongside Xabi Alonso in the classic 4-2-3-1 formation. But if Mourinho wants to have most of the possession, a 4-3-3 with Granero, Alonso and Khedira would allow Madrid to control the game a lot more and would keep Di María on the bench if the game isn't going well.

The patient way might be the best this game because Madrid needs to defend well. If Bayern scores one goal, only a 3-1 would put los blancos in the Final. But if the German team finds a way to score twice, Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates will need to score four goals. Real Madrid needs to prevent Bayern from counterattacking. Ribéry and Robben are very dangerous with a whole lot of pitch to run, so that's why the 4-3-3 trivote with Khedira, Alonso and Granero would be a good thing for Madrid.

Özil didn't play well in Munich, but he was the best player on the field in the past Clásico. If the German player starts once again, Kaka would wait for his chance on the bench, just like Higuaín. Benzema's moves can hurt Bayern Munich's defenders a lot more than Gonzalo Higuaín's vertical game.

Marcelo and Coentrao are also fighting for a starter spot. The Brazilian player is great whenever Real Madrid needs to attack, but Coentrao might be the safest option against Arjen Robben. Real Madrid's Portuguese left back played great against Barcelona and stopped Robben from hurting Madrid's defense in the first leg, so it's likely that Mourinho will keep Marcelo on the bench to introduce him with Di María and/or Kaka to burn the game down.

Real Madrid is capable of beating Bayern Munich. We already saw that a week ago, when Madrid played well but decided a 1-1 result was enough moments before Gómez scored the second goal. The Bernabéu should also be fired up to help the team. Plus, the last Clásico win should've brought us the necessary confidence to come back and advance to the Final against Chelsea.

This is probably one of the most important games of the season, both for Bayern and Real Madrid. We already know how this team deals with the pressure. Mourinho will surely want the Doctor Jekyll version from his players.

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