Here we are. After three consecutive attempts, we have finally reached the second leg of a Champions League semifinal in an advantageous situation. Real Madrid's 1-0 victory against Bayern last Wednesday was a huge one, but glory is still far from us. Guardiola's pupils will, for sure, do their best to cut our trip to Lisbon in the last stop.
The team's condition is the best we could expect. We will be missing Arbeloa, Khedira and Jesé, that's right, but as Carletto confirmed in today's press conference, Bale and Ronaldo are fully recovered from their problems and are totally ready to play. As a result, our coach will have a big number of options to configure a lineup to extinguish the fire already summoned by Rummenigge and that will sure be brought by Guardiola's men to the Allianz Arena.
Last Saturday, Bayern beat Werder Bremen by 5-2 at home, but their performance was not too convincing. As they have been doing lately, Bayern's defenders suffered a lot against quick transitions, and this made it easy for their rivals to take the lead twice. Luckily for them, Bayern's offensive players showed their punch in the second half and solved the game easily.
However, we should not hope such an opposition tomorrow. In fact, the odds are that Munich will be closer to hell than any other venue we have visited this season. If Bayern controlled the first minutes of the game in Bernabéu, we might expect they will try to do the same tomorrow, but their intention to score will be much clearer. The possession-based game will be their main tool to do that, but, if they fail, they will not hesitate to try a more direct approach.
But we are Real Madrid. We have a good advantage from the first leg and there's no reason why we should think we are unable to move on to the next round. In fact, Real Madrid have qualified four out of the six times they obtained a 1-0 home victory in the first leg of an European knock-out round, while they succeeded on that task forty-three out of the fifty-six times they won the first leg at home.
To do that, our coach will not try the same proposal that worked for us in Bernabéu. As he has said, we shall not be that shy in the first minutes. The mental conditions of our players will be crucial to triumph and, to do so, a more belligerent start will be required to make the hell freeze. With the BBC trio on the field, we will have good chances of scoring a goal, which would really improve our options to qualify, but a good defence will be also displayed. Bayern could not break it last Wednesday, so it would not crazy to think we can keep a clean sheet again.
Taking into account last Saturday's rotations in both squads and the coaches' words, my projected lineups are the following:
- Bayern's projected XI: Neuer; Lahm, Javi Martínez, Dante, Alaba; Kroos, Schweinsteiger; Robben, Ribéry, Müller; Mandzukic.
- Real Madrid's projected XI: Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Alonso, Modric, Di María; Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.